Moving shop from garage to addition

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Forum topic by tkeenan posted 01-11-2017 09:30 PM 802 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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39 posts in 1790 days

01-11-2017 09:30 PM

I have a detached 24×24 garage that I currently use as my shop area. I don’t take up all the space, but probably more than half. I’m looking at building an addition off the back of it to move the shop into. Probably around 20×16. The garage is built on a slope, so the back of it has full foundation pour that sticks out of the ground. My thought is to make the addition 2 floors (one at ground level in the back, the other even with the garage floor). Im trying to decide which level I should dedicate to be shop area….

Ground floor would be good because of weight issues, although this can be overcome with proper engineered framing. But, getting material from the driveway (which is even with upper level) down would be a pain. Not to mention moving all the tools and equipment. Ceiling height could also be somewhat of an issue. I’d be limited to about 7 1/2’. I would use the upper floor as general storage and maybe put in a home office.

If I put the shop on the upper floor, my main concern would be the weight of all the tools and equipment. But, like I mentioned I could probably solve this with proper framing to support the loads. I like the idea of being able to easily get material in and out of the shop, I wouldn’t have to carry it down and around the garage. If I go with this setup, I could also use the bottom floor to keep all the lawn and garden stuff (lawn tractor, shovels, etc.). Ceiling height would be better also. The garage has 10’ ceiling.

What would be your opinion?

7 replies so far

View CharleyL's profile


223 posts in 4654 days

#1 posted 01-11-2017 10:03 PM

After reading your description, I would definitely put the shop at garage and driveway level and use the lower level for the lawn and garden equipment, but you could also think about using it for your air compressor and dust collector, gaining the space that would have been occupied by these in your shop. The noise created by these would also be much lower to your ears when working in the shop. My 80 gallon 5 hp compressor is in a 6 X6’ addition on the side of my shop, and the dust collector is in the attic of my shop to gain the shop space and also to get these long running noisy things as far away from my work shop area as I can.. Make some of the space in the garage into a wood storage area and it will be easy to bring wood in from the driveway, then move it into the shop as needed. Then even big projects could be moved out of the shop through the garage to the driveway without lifting problems. The low ceiling in the space below the shop won’t be much of a problem if just the air compressor, dust collector and the lawn and garden tools are stored down there either. When you build it, just frame the floor of the shop heavier than usual, just spacing the floor joists on 8 or 12” centers will make a huge difference in the floor strength. Try to figure out how much each tool weighs plus the weight of your benches and hand tools, then get an engineer to help you decide how to design the floor framing. Trusses are incredibly light, but strong. There is also the engineered I beam version of floor joists that use a 2 X 4 top and bottom with plywood or OSB for the vertical part. When these are assembled with glue they are incredibly strong and sag very little.


View splatman's profile


585 posts in 2688 days

#2 posted 01-11-2017 10:28 PM

Charley is on the money with having the shop on the garage-level floor. The lower level may also be used for storing lumber. 20X16 is not going to be used up by storing garden equipment.

Overbuild the floor is just what I would do. There are also a number of options, such as I-joists, as Charley mentioned, also, glue-lam, open-web, and LVL.

For the roof, I would use rafters, not trusses. With trusses, the attic space will be filled with truss webbing. Rafters leaves the attic space free. Do mind how much you expect to store, and probably add at least 20%, to make shure the attic floor will handle the loads.

View tkeenan's profile


39 posts in 1790 days

#3 posted 01-11-2017 10:52 PM

Thanks for the replies Charley and Splatman. I like the idea of the compressor and dust collector in the lower level. Didn’t even think about that! I figured 16×20 would be overkill for lawn and garden equipment, so I figured it could be used to store lumber, kids bikes and any other outdoor equipment/toys. I’d like to get hooked up with a local saw mill to get some rough sawn stuff, could store it below too. Engineering to carry the weight will be my next step. I’ve got a friend local that should be able to help me with that. As for the roof, if I can get away with it, I’d like to put a shed style roof with 3/12 pitch. The addition will be in the back, so I’m not concerned with roof lines matching.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4520 days

#4 posted 01-11-2017 11:03 PM

Just thinking about my equipment…it sounds like a lot of weight.

Shipping weights …
Grizzly table saw – 450lbs.
Grizzly Drum Sander – 250 lbs.
14 inch band saw – 200 lbs.

And then there is the 33 gal air compressor, 80 lb planer, Jet jointer, and the beat goes on. And that doesn’t include the big tool box. The weight can add up fast.

Good luck. Post some pics.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View tkeenan's profile


39 posts in 1790 days

#5 posted 01-11-2017 11:08 PM

Yeah, certainly going to be a lot of weight. The good thing about the lower level being for storage is I can put in as many support columns as necessary and not have to worry about them being in the way of trying to build something.

View clin's profile


1128 posts in 2285 days

#6 posted 01-12-2017 12:03 AM

I also agree with shop on top.

I think you’re giving too much concern to the weight. Yes, you want to make sure it’s okay. But people put king size waterbeds in homes all the time. These weigh in the range of 2000 lbs.

Have a house party with a few dozens guests packed in your living room. Likely weighs a lot more than your woodworking equipment. What’s a big refrigerator weigh? You get my point.

While I would pay attention to it, I doubt you’ll have to go through any usually building techniques to handle it. But I’d also err on over building rather than under.

-- Clin

View EngineerChic's profile


34 posts in 1793 days

#7 posted 01-12-2017 01:27 AM

You might want to reserve a corner of the lower level for finishing projects. If you partition it off to keep dust to a minimum, you could have a place to let projects cure without being disturbed.

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