New Shop?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by moke posted 05-31-2019 05:59 PM 783 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View moke's profile


1402 posts in 3223 days

05-31-2019 05:59 PM

I have been working out of my garage my entire life. ( just hobby woodworking/turning) It is a 3.5 stall garage…I have a lot of tools….it is full. Everything is on wheels, and it works fine. But you have to clean up after every session, and put stuff away, to put the cars away…well actually trucks…we have two expeditions that take a lot of room!

30 some years ago when we bought our house the State was putting a 4 lane highway behind us. The people in the neighborhood sued the state before construction and got a 35’ berm and made them sink the highway down 20 some feet. Its awesome, in that it created a lot between the back of our lot and the berm that is 300 feet deep and we can not hear or see the highway….only the berm and fence on top. We bought that property as neighborhood and everyone just took care of what was behind your house. But you could only build shed and they had to be on skids. Fast forward 30 years and we finally platted the ground and took individual possession of the ground. I was happy but had no plans to do anything more or less with it…..there is an easement 15’ wide for utilities between it and the original lot.

Last weekend my wife of 31 years ( who is awesome) says… are going to retire in a couple years and I have 10 more years to go…..lets build you a shop back there…..I want that third stall to buy a two door jeep with a removable top. We paid off our house, lets do something fun for once. Now keep in mind we had had a cookout for just us two and we had had several Margaritas… I brought it back up a few days later and much to my surprise she is still thinking it is a good idea. Then she says, you’ll probably need a small workshop still in this garage for the lawn and house tools… you have enough tools to have them in both places. Now knowing that I have enough for three or four workshops, I said, I might need some stuff. (Hey I’m not dumb!)

So my questions are many fold but I’ll start with the major ones,
1. Stick built or Pole building…...I hate the look of a Pole Barn, but even at that if I insulate it heavily…would the costs balance out?

2. I’ll be 150 feet from my house….is the cost of running water that far for a bathroom going to be prohibitive?

3. My Neighbor is a installer for furnaces…but new construction….he could get me a cheap furnace and install it…is it still worth buying a min split, instaed of a basically free furnace and a purchased window air unit(s)?

4. I can’t really get a driveway back there, so do I get an old lawn tractor and cart to get plywood back there? I’m sure I could modify something to fit a full sheet…any ideas? And maybe put in a sidewalk?

5. Should I put in concrete with gaps ( I don’t know what to call them…they are gaps with diamond plate covers) for DC?

6. Aren’t two door Jeeps soft top pieces of crap? Money pits?

Thanks for all your help….I am not going to do it this year…just put things in place…and see if it’s practical, mostly.

-- Mike

22 replies so far

View pottz's profile


5749 posts in 1431 days

#1 posted 05-31-2019 06:07 PM

sounds exciting mike getting the dream shop we all like you working out of a 3 car garage so im not gonna attempt any of your questions just wanted to wish you some good times ahead and enjoy the process my friend.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View ibewjon's profile


785 posts in 3240 days

#2 posted 05-31-2019 09:24 PM

I see you are in Iowa. The very best would be a boiler with heated floor if you have nat.gas, and mini split for AC. That way you get AC and don’t have a shop fylull of HVAC ducts. Window AC is very inefficient. The floor trenches with plate cover is great, but would be pricey if you can not do it yourself. At least run some 5” ducts under the floor,( coated in roof coating for rust ) to some central spots in mid floor. Have some 1” conduits run under the floor to each wall, this will save alot of work and expense later. Even a couple 3/4” to each wall. PVC conduit is cheap and an easy install. Just need to add ground wire. Do not use Romex, it can not be upgraded if your plans or needs change. The water is easy, just bury 3’ deep. I ran a 2” PVC conduit and pulled in a plastic water line. If it ever leaks, easy to replace without a shovel. The sewer would cost more because it has to be run with the correct pitch. I even put a crawl space under my concrete floor for a tornado shelter. And do not forget a few floor receptacles in the center, just need to use the proper floor boxes. These come in pcv, making it affordable. Run a 2” conduit to shop for power, and a couple 1” spares for whatever the future holds. TV, internet, land line phone. You are lucky to be able to plan ahead and do this shop. I did all the above in mine, but I only have a 16×22 add on to my garage.

View JCamp's profile


996 posts in 998 days

#3 posted 06-01-2019 12:35 AM

Hate to say it but she may be cheating on you. Lol

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View MrRon's profile


5616 posts in 3690 days

#4 posted 06-01-2019 01:42 PM

My first concern would be to make sure the land drains well and any structure you erect won’t channel rain water toward the house.

View moke's profile


1402 posts in 3223 days

#5 posted 06-01-2019 04:49 PM

Thanks Guys!
Pottz—I am excited….lots to figure out, get estimates, take trees out…etc…so the next year or two is going to be busy!!

IBEWjon—-Lots of great advice there! I need to read it it over carefully and make some notes….thanks! One question though…I will have to pull 150 feet of water line though that 2” pvc…is that doable?

jcamp….lol….not likely though..

Mr Ron…The Shop would be up hill from my house…the whole property is…and it will be at least 150 feet from my house, with a tiled waterway in between.

-- Mike

View JayT's profile


6236 posts in 2658 days

#6 posted 06-01-2019 05:03 PM

I’m jealous. Both of the potential shop and wife pushing you to do it instead of the other way around.

Shop uphill from the house makes sewer easier. That was my first concern when I read the OP, but ibewjon already addressed it. Running water and sewer that far isn’t going to be cheap, but if I was building a new shop that far from the house, it would be an expense worth doing. I’d hate to walk that far to use the john.

In a dream shop, I’d do radiant heat in the floor, too. Nice even heat without air blowing sawdust everywhere and clogging up filters. If extremely confident in machine placement, then I would do a concrete floor where machines would sit and less used areas and ~two to three foot wide wood covered troughs where I would spend most of my time standing—like in front of a workbench. Make lift off wood panels to access the troughs that would sit level with the concrete when down. Easier on the feet and knees and you can run dust collection and electrical through the troughs, as well.

Best of luck.

And yes, any soft top is kind of a PITA—convertible, Jeep or whatever. They have to be replaced on a periodic basis—how long depends on use, weather, etc. The fun factor can be worth it, though, as would the happy wife.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View moke's profile


1402 posts in 3223 days

#7 posted 06-03-2019 03:08 PM

I have been kicking around several ideas….I could do without a John, but as you say it would be nice and running water in the shop is very nice. I currently own and operate a Photographic Studio, and we shut our darkrooms down 13-14 years ago for computer labs, and I have a couple 4’ long corian sinks just sitting in the basement, and one has my name on it for the shop.

Not sure about radiant heat though. I get that it is even and nice, but it is very slow to react…ie coming up to temp very fast. Sometimes I like to work a couple hours then shut it down for the night….I would like to keep it at 45 degress then run it up when it is time to work. From my experience with radiant heat it would take at least an hour to bring it up 20 degrees. Not sure if I want that…..but on the other hand mini splits suck in the dust… need more advice there. Still thinking forced air with limited to one duct duct.

One more question for everyone…..wifi….could I just amplify me current wifi, or would I need something more 150 away?

Thanks for everyone’s help

-- Mike

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6319 posts in 1159 days

#8 posted 06-03-2019 03:22 PM

all answers are IMHO







-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View JayT's profile


6236 posts in 2658 days

#9 posted 06-03-2019 03:34 PM

Radiant is most efficient when turned on and left alone. Ask a professional, but I think you’ll find that with radiant (and mini-splits) it costs less to just set it and forget it than to constantly try to adjust. A lot of us are used to forced air, which can produce some savings by varying temps with usage. Radiant just requires a different mindset.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View CWWoodworking's profile


528 posts in 626 days

#10 posted 06-03-2019 04:07 PM

1. Stick

2. Personally I would skip the bathroom and use that money for new tool.

3. I would take advantage of the free furnace. Most of the year, you don’t need it anyway.

4. I would figure out someway for a small driveway. For a short period of time I didn’t have a driveway to mine. Never again would I go without it. Even if it’s a small one lane.

5. Run DC over head. As much as I like the idea of wood floor,I would still do concrete. Just for the versatility.

6. Jeeps are kinda like a boat. The best days are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. I cant think of a more over priced, useless vehicle than a Jeep. The good news is they hold there value great.

View moke's profile


1402 posts in 3223 days

#11 posted 06-03-2019 04:26 PM

Great Advice guys….
Gr8hunter..All terrain dry wall cart!!I did’t know they made that….even if I put in a sidewalk that is still awesome.
so mini splits pull the air from outside? I don’t need to worry about dust? I have a air cleaner and a decent DC, so I really don’t have a lot of dust anyway, except when I turn….that seems to be a never ending source of dust….I have a big intake on a stand…it sure doesn’t seem like its very efficient though. I have a couple hundred feet of cat five! Thank you.

JT: Thanks for that. My in laws have radiant heat….set very high….I always say they could cook meat on the counter tops….I guess that is what I think of when I think of radiant heat…maybe I should rethink it. I do like what CWW said though, I won’t be using it but about 4 or 5 months a year….I might go with a free furnace and a huge DC unit.

CWW woodworking….great ideas…free furnace new tool! I am not sure how I would put in a drive as I have to transverse over a 12’ easement…..I agree with you on the Jeep, but if that is what I need to do to fulfill her end of the bargain…I guess, I’m in.

-- Mike

View ibewjon's profile


785 posts in 3240 days

#12 posted 06-03-2019 04:46 PM

First, you could possibly put in an ejector pit and sewage pump to discharge to the house in a smaller pipe. Second, pull an underground rated CAT 5 internet cable out to garage and plug in an additional router. That is what I have. Third, the savings from radiant in the floor comes from the constant temp, and the thermal mass of the floor. It will cost less to operate if you do not cut the temp too much at night and then play catch up the next day. With a good dust collection system, I have almost no dust in my mini split filter.

View ibewjon's profile


785 posts in 3240 days

#13 posted 06-03-2019 05:32 PM

Mini does not need return air because the air never leaves the room, like in a regular ducted system to a furnace. Plus, with no open flame in a high efficiency boiler, there is no hazard of finishing fumes reaching an ignition source. Mini does NOT draw in outside air. And it can also be set for different air distribution patterns, left, right, up and down. And the older we get, the more the close bathroom is nice. You want a sink and water anyway, so you will need a drain.

View MikeDilday's profile


258 posts in 906 days

#14 posted 06-04-2019 01:48 PM

Two door Jeeps are great and one of the most economical vehicles on the road IMO. Run your DC in the ceiling, not under the floor. That would give you total flexibility to make changes later. Concrete with gaps would be a sawdust magnet. For the heating and A/C I have a 18×22 shop with a window unit which is a heat pump. It heats and cools it in the worst temperatures just fine. Easy to install and economical to operate with the heat pump.

-- Michael Dilday, Suffolk, Va.

View moke's profile


1402 posts in 3223 days

#15 posted 06-04-2019 02:16 PM

Thanks again guys..
Radiant heat sounds REALLY expensive…is that true?

-- Mike

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics