What would you have done or not done to your shop, what are you happy that you did do

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by agallant posted 02-04-2014 02:31 PM 2733 views 4 times favorited 61 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3896 days

02-04-2014 02:31 PM

We are about to sit down with the builder and get a house built. The plan we selected has a garage that is 24X20. Deal with the wife was if she got a new house then I would get all of the garage, no cars allowed.

My last shop I made a few mistakes that I can think of

1. Not enough outlets on the ceiling
2. Wish I put in more dedicated 20A outlets
3. Wish I put in more 240V outlets
4. Wish I had more windows for natural light

For those of you who have built a shop what do you wish you did better or are very happy that you did do?

61 replies so far

View Tedstor's profile


1691 posts in 3642 days

#1 posted 02-04-2014 02:47 PM

Adding to your list:
Electrical subpanel.
Utility sink would be choice.
Windows are also good ventilators.
Speaking of ventilation… exhaust fan would be great.
Climate control? Afterall, you won’t be parking in the garage.
An exterior entryway/side door.
Phone jack? I keep a cordless phone in the garage.
Will the garage have an attic? Look for ways to effectively use that space.

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3896 days

#2 posted 02-04-2014 02:49 PM

Good ideas

My electrition friend suggested that we put a subpannel in the garuage seeing as I am not going to have it drywalled, I was going to do the walls in OSB myself

The plan has a side door

I was thinking of getting some handing storage.

View JayT's profile


6419 posts in 3220 days

#3 posted 02-04-2014 02:49 PM

Sheet the interior walls (at least the top 1/2) with 3/4 plywood or similar. That allows you to mount stuff just about anywhere without worrying about locating studs. Paint it with gloss or semi-gloss white to reflect light and you won’t be sorry.

I didn’t do that and should have, but when I build a new shop (hopefully in the next couple of years) it will be done that way.

Also consider the ceiling height. Most garages are 8ft, but 9 or 10ft would be better for a shop.

Edit: For climate control, radiant floor heating might be a great option and doesn’t add much cost if done during construction.

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

View Redoak49's profile


5094 posts in 2998 days

#4 posted 02-04-2014 02:51 PM

There are a couple of things for a garage shop… – Make certain that you have plenty of lights or switched outlets in the ceiling for lights. – I put a celing fan in the garage for when I am working out there. – I am really torn about the windows issue as they give great light but it is easy for people to see in and break in. – Some type of security system for the garage and maybe a heat sensor for fire – I did an addition of one bay on the garage and put in a double back door and am very happy with it. – Do you need some type of heat depending on where you live. – Insulation on the ceiling and walls with 1/2” wood sheathing over it so you can mount tools on the walls.

- Is 24×20 big enough….bigger is always better.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5341 posts in 4970 days

#5 posted 02-04-2014 02:53 PM

Insulate the garage doors. Make sure that the floor doesn’t have excessive “fall”. What flooring have ya chosen?
Potty room? Pre plumb for air? How are ya gonna handle dust cololection?

-- [email protected]

View Mike Throckmorton's profile

Mike Throckmorton

124 posts in 2674 days

#6 posted 02-04-2014 03:09 PM

If you haven’t already, you might want to watch the Wood Whisperer’s dream shop build vids:

As he is located in Arizona, his environmental concerns may be different than yours.

But, hey, if you’re located in a climate like mine (Mar’s is beginning to look like a nice vacation spot) you may wish to have a shop inter-dimensional extrusion into Arizona so you could step in there when the local shop segment becomes too cold.

-- You are never complete, you just draw a line where done is and stop at that line.

View BArnold's profile


175 posts in 2842 days

#7 posted 02-04-2014 03:10 PM

I’m not sure I can add much to what has been said already, but I have a few thoughts:

- An electrical sub-panel with plenty of space for adding breakers. I have 100A service extended to my shop building, a total of 30 circuit breakers with a total capacity of 460A. Maximum load might approach 70A with several machines running.

- Electrical outlets: I have none in the ceiling, but plenty on each wall. All are at a height of 50” to the bottom of the box, 48” apart. Each wall is on a seperate 20A breaker. I have 220V circuits in locations where I need them, plus a couple provisioned to allow re-arrangements.

- Lighting: One room of my shop is 20×24, in which I have 12 T8 2-bulb fixtures mounted in 22.5”x48” boxes I built. I used a commercial fixture for durability. The other room is 16×25, in which I have 8 fixtures.

- Dust collection: as much as you can afford. I started with a 1.5hp unit, then graduated to a 3hp cyclone when I built my new shop.

- If you can go bigger, do it. I started in a two-car garage and could have been happy with that size. When we re-located, I had room to build a bigger shop which is 36×24 overall.

-- Bill, Thomasville, GA

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3896 days

#8 posted 02-04-2014 03:12 PM

Great Stuff guys so far I have chosen or like the following

Prewiring on the cealing for cealing fans
Concreet floor that I will do the rustoluim epoxy coating on
sub panel for just the shop
OSB or plywood walls painted gloss wite
Exterior door
slop sink
The plan includes two windows
As for heat I live in NC, I use a propane construction heater, I may consider getting heating/cooling added
Cable and cat5 jack
The garage will be wired in to the security system, we also want to get a DVR based system so a camera will go in there.
Insulated walls and ceiling

Keep the ideas coming guys, this is great input.

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 4751 days

#9 posted 02-04-2014 03:19 PM

Sure that lots of folks will say “bigger”

I wish mine was about a foot wider. I have 14X21 and 15X21 would make a big difference – as the tablesaw (with 52 inch fence and the Jointer are side by side, and I wish there was a little wider aisle between them…. course I could stand to be less Fat too ;-)

Biggest mistake – I set my outlets at 48 inches from the floor. But it is 48 inches to the top of the box not the bottom.
So the sheet goods of course PERFECTLY cover the outlets. 48 to the bottom of the box would have been ideal, but you don’t spot that til you are painted and moved in… then the first sheets get placed against the wall and you say “FUDGE!”

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 3035 days

#10 posted 02-04-2014 03:21 PM

some sort of extra sound barrier on the shared wall and the ceiling if there is living space above the garage. also plan on plenty of ventilation capabilty, one does not want to smell up the entire house with laquer.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3685 days

#11 posted 02-04-2014 03:28 PM

motion sensor flood lights front, side and back and inside.

separate heat system from house

carpet runners where you stand. I carpeted the whole floor in mine. but I’m in c-c-c-cold Chicago.

Personally, I would wire, insulate, drywall, paint and finish it like a regular house. That way, when you go to sell it, they won’t have a problem with it. think resale.

OSB is about the ugliest thing out there to look at, even if you paint it. spider web dust magnet too…. BAH!
It’s way overkill and more expensive per sheet. DW is more labor of course.

You have studs every 16” to nail to. You can install a 4×8 section of pegboard or slat board on 1xs where you want. You can hang cabinets, cleats…anything you want on it. It deadens sound and is a better sealed insulator too.

You could add a garage door slab with windows on the top which would let in a lot of light and maintain security without everyone seeing in like a low window. Doesn’t take up wall space like a window either.

Stick frame, vault and drywall the ceiling. Huge difference! check out my shop, that’s what I did. Trusses really suck for storage.

cable for TV…..can’t miss The Wood wright’s Shop!

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3980 days

#12 posted 02-04-2014 03:46 PM

Maybe not in your location, but some places will require drywall as a fire stop if a shop is attached to the house.
Would be a good idea to check your insurance also. They may have additional requirements.

View Armandhammer's profile


235 posts in 2635 days

#13 posted 02-04-2014 03:55 PM

I have a shop area that’s 7’x6’. Yeah…that’s right, 7’x6’. And one outlet…haha

View bigblockyeti's profile


7083 posts in 2730 days

#14 posted 02-04-2014 04:00 PM

Maybe frame in for skylights in the future? Much easier to do before the ceiling is covered, and if you never install them, no biggie, if you do, more free light and minimal work to do so. +1 to the 240V outlets.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3896 days

#15 posted 02-04-2014 04:00 PM

“Maybe not in your location, but some places will require drywall as a fire stop if a shop is attached to the house.”

Good point. Now that I think of it I have never seen one that does not have drywall. The contractor will know what I can and can’t get away with in terms of drywall or not. I am just trying to get the list togeather that I will present the contractor with.

showing 1 through 15 of 61 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