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  • Basement or garage workshop

    Presently I have my shop set up in the garage. It's ok but cold in the winter and is going to be hot and muggy in the summer. I also feel bad about kicking my wife's car outside!

    So the garage is 18x18, has no sub panel, has one 15a circuit and I did run 220v30a out there to run a construction heater and my dc. Now it's not completely dedicated to ww, tools and car stuff in there and bikes and stuff!!! Plus I always throw a fit when my daughter leaves the door open exposing all my lovely tools for all to see.

    Now I do like to work out there this time of year, not too hot or cold, lots of light, fresh air and the beer fridge is right there!

    Now in my basement I built a 12x14 home theatre room which I haven't used in at least ten months. My philosophy is if you don't use it you don't need it. Next to it is an unfinished bathroom 12x8 and then next to that is the furnace room which I could probably use about 12x10 so potentially I could have a shop 12x32. Plus the panel is there so easy access to wiring.

    So what I was wondering is which space would be better suited to this obsession? For the basement it would mean knocking a couple of stick walls down, running more wiring and lighting and insulation.

    I'm concerned about dust in the house too, right now I'm using a 2hp dc with a giant bag on top so probably would be better adding a canister on it and also noise, admittedly I don't do much work when then family is home so that may not be an issue.

    One nice thing is if I sell my home theatre gear probably have some nice cash for new toys oops meant tools...haha

    Anyway, would appreciate any input and opinions.

  • #2

    Re: Basement or garage workshop

    Re: Basement or garage workshop

    You're not gaining much space by moving indoors, and are gaining potential problems: dust, noise, headroom, moving heavy machinery and lumber in. The drawbacks of the garage are more easily solved: portable oil-filled heater, small a/c. Lock the door and remind your wife that storing a car in the garage encourages rust.
    Good luck with that one, Jim

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: Basement or garage workshop

      Re: Basement or garage workshop

      The 'BIGGEST' question I think you face is "What does the 'wife' say?"... For married folk, that's usually the determining factor... single folk...go for it!
      sigpic"Turn it, Don't burn it!"

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Basement or garage workshop

        Re: Basement or garage workshop

        I started out in garage but wasn't very practical: too cold most of the year (eventhough it is insulated and attached to house), wanted to park the cars inside, etc.
        So moved to the basement after a year. Now have a full shop with heavy equipments, cyclone, etc. However, in our next house if I can get a 4-bay garage will use
        2 of them for shop and will heat/insulate it. The advantage of a basement shop is that it's always warm and I can hop into it for short periods. The drawbacks are:

        - noise: I cannot do anything when my little 2 year old is sleeping and when she is now she hears the sound and wants to come and see what I'm doing.
        - Dust: even-though I have very good dust collection and an air filter running sometimes I'm doing an operation which I cannot contain the dust (the other day was routing a piece
        of MDF and could not contain all those nasty dust escaping).
        - Taking in heavy equipments: I have taken all the machines (some 700-800lb ones) down there but don't want to do it again and dread the idea of taking them out one day.
        - Headroom: it's too short and with some of the ducts running, light fixtures hanging, etc I have banged into something more than a few times.

        So, I think the best of both worlds is to have an attached garage, insulated and heated to a comfortable degree, that is also not taking the place of cars. I think it's too much to ask in most situations but if I had to choose between our current garage and basement I guess I'll keep the basement and try to live with my means.

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: Basement or garage workshop

          Re: Basement or garage workshop

          I have completly commandeered the 2-car garage for my shop, with the exception of accomodating 3 bikes, golf clubs, baseball gloves, basketballs, etc. etc. My garage is attached, insulated and heated by a gas furnace. I wouldn't want to be in a basement shop. Dust, noise, etc. If it's all you have then great, but the garage is a better option IMHO. Easier to have the lads over for a few as well. I have convinced my wife that cars are waterproof and are designed to be outdoors. I also convinced her of the need for me to have a computer out there. I'm running into resistance on the big screen TV though. Needs more work and a more cunning strategy.

          Getting what you want through coercion and subterfuge.

          Works for me.
          Cheers
          Randy

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Basement or garage workshop

            Re: Basement or garage workshop

            Originally posted by BLOWN454 View Post
            The 'BIGGEST' question I think you face is "What does the 'wife' say?"... For married folk, that's usually the determining factor... single folk...go for it!
            Brad speaks wisdom...

            I have a basement shop, and I am generally happy with it. Noise has never been that big an issue. It's always been there, as far as the kids remember, so they're used to it. They just turn up the TV when they're downstairs in the playroom.

            Dust... I don't know what to say there. Some people say it is a big problem for them, but I've never really had any issues there. I have a 2HP single-bag DC system, and an ambient air cleaner. I don't have over-arm DC on the Tablesaw, but wish I did. The shop is closed off from the rest of the basement, including the joist space, and there is NOT an air return in there. Whatever, I really don't notice dust as an issue.

            I do wish I had more windows or larger windows, as I would like better ventilation. I only have one small window (a slider) so when I need to move some air (ie: when finishing) I put a fan in the window and open a window elsewhere, leaving the shop door ajar.

            I don't spray that much, so that isn't usually a problem. The few times I have sprayed a big project, I move it into the garage.

            Headroom IS a big issue, but I knew that before I bought the house, so I refused to consider houses with insufficient headroom in the basement.

            Access is the other big issue. I wish I had an exposed basement, at least on one wall, or a set of private stairs up to the garage or some such. As I don't, I have to deal with internal stairs. It sucks, but it's not the end of the world. It could be worse, I had a friend who had a basement shop and stairs with a 180 degree turn halfway down.
            It's not about you.

            Comment


            • #7

              Re: Basement or garage workshop

              Re: Basement or garage workshop

              You sound to me like you are going to take the basement. Congratulations that is what I would do too.

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Basement or garage workshop

                Re: Basement or garage workshop

                Gowyn, I faced this decision when I moved 5 years ago : Setup shop in the garage, or the basement?

                Climate control and electrical setup are easier in the basement.

                Dust, noise, tool transportation, lumber transportation are easier in the garage.

                I felt that the limitations of the garage were easier to overcome, so I opted for the garage. If you opt for the garage as I did, build a big shed and get rid of everything not woodworking related. Get your electrical sorted out, so you don't have to unplug and plugin tools - it's a huge PITA. Climate control is trickier, but still solvable. My shop is insulated so well that a $15 heater heats it through the winter. Haven't solved the hot muggy summer days yet, but there are solutions.

                Ideally, I'd like a stand alone shop, and I think the garage is closer to that than the basement.

                C
                sigpicClint in London

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: Basement or garage workshop

                  Re: Basement or garage workshop

                  Originally posted by "C" View Post
                  Gowyn, I faced this decision when I moved 5 years ago : Setup shop in the garage, or the basement?

                  Climate control and electrical setup are easier in the basement.

                  Dust, noise, tool transportation, lumber transportation are easier in the garage.

                  I felt that the limitations of the garage were easier to overcome, so I opted for the garage. If you opt for the garage as I did, build a big shed and get rid of everything not woodworking related. Get your electrical sorted out, so you don't have to unplug and plugin tools - it's a huge PITA. Climate control is trickier, but still solvable. My shop is insulated so well that a $15 heater heats it through the winter. Haven't solved the hot muggy summer days yet, but there are solutions.

                  Ideally, I'd like a stand alone shop, and I think the garage is closer to that than the basement.

                  C
                  Everyone has raised good points but Clint nailed it. I have maneuvered a washing machine down a flight of basement stairs and never want to do the same with woodworking machines (or completed projects going upstairs). The best thing I did was build an out-building for the kids bikes, lawnmower etc... The garage is all mine...yeehaw! Last time I checked cars don't really need a cozy indoor home...unless you're driving something upscale or collectible. Get a car starter for your wife's car and take over the garage. My 2 cents.
                  Powder to the People

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Basement or garage workshop

                    Re: Basement or garage workshop

                    My setup is pretty nice because my garage is in my basement. It is below the main floor and has a door into the basement. I do all woodworking in the garage and store wood and tools in the unfinished basement. The garage is insulated including the garage door making it more comfortable year round.

                    Best part about keeping the equipment in the garage is after cleanup I can blow the fine dust outside through the open garage door.

                    Albert

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: Basement or garage workshop

                      Re: Basement or garage workshop

                      You all are missing the biggest motivator...beer fridge is in garage...haha

                      Excellent points and suggestions, thank you all one and all. I'm going to ride it out, poor me, in the garage for the summer. Yes I'm insulated but there's never too much insulation.

                      I really should get the electrical sorted too. Anyone know if I can add a 60a subpanel to the main panel which is 100a. Also have a hot tub on there too so not sure if it's getting maxed out. Probably best bet would be too upgrade main panel to 200a ( I'm assuming all new house have heavy enough gauge wire coming in to allow that) and then move the original 100a panel out to the garage

                      I was already thinking about another shed, for lumber but bikes would work too.

                      Clint, I'm in London too, would love to check yours out sometime if possible.

                      Have to go car shopping for the crazy old lady so the remote starter will definitely be added on.

                      Thanks again.

                      Comment


                      • #12

                        Re: Basement or garage workshop

                        Re: Basement or garage workshop

                        Spend the basement makeover money on the garage. A basement workshop may not be value added for the house.

                        If proper size wire is in place install a breaker box in the garage and wire the garage.

                        Whatever the plans SWMBO has the final say or your first basement project may be a Doghouse.
                        Egon
                        from
                        The South Shore, Nova Scotia

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Basement or garage workshop

                          Re: Basement or garage workshop

                          Originally posted by gowynw View Post
                          You all are missing the biggest motivator...beer fridge is in garage...haha

                          Excellent points and suggestions, thank you all one and all. I'm going to ride it out, poor me, in the garage for the summer. Yes I'm insulated but there's never too much insulation.

                          I really should get the electrical sorted too. Anyone know if I can add a 60a subpanel to the main panel which is 100a. Also have a hot tub on there too so not sure if it's getting maxed out. Probably best bet would be too upgrade main panel to 200a ( I'm assuming all new house have heavy enough gauge wire coming in to allow that) and then move the original 100a panel out to the garage

                          I was already thinking about another shed, for lumber but bikes would work too.

                          Clint, I'm in London too, would love to check yours out sometime if possible.

                          Have to go car shopping for the crazy old lady so the remote starter will definitely be added on.

                          Thanks again.
                          I cannot add much to the basement/garage debate but you should be aware that to upgrade the panel to 200A is not usually a question of adding a bigger tub. It means replacing the mast,meter base and feeds.I am not sure about underground supply as I have always had older property with overhead drops.But it may add significant cost to your plans

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: Basement or garage workshop

                            Re: Basement or garage workshop

                            Originally posted by Dave in Calgary View Post
                            Get a car starter for your wife's car and take over the garage. My 2 cents.

                            One thing I've always wondered about all you guys with shops in your garage...

                            How on earth did you bamboozle your wife into going along with that? My wife made it quite clear long ago that she was not going to be scraping snow and ice off the car if she didn't have to, let along unloading groceries in the rain...
                            It's not about you.

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Re: Basement or garage workshop

                              Re: Basement or garage workshop

                              Originally posted by ArtMulder View Post
                              One thing I've always wondered about all you guys with shops in your garage...

                              How on earth did you bamboozle your wife into going along with that? My wife made it quite clear long ago that she was not going to be scraping snow and ice off the car if she didn't have to, let along unloading groceries in the rain...
                              I'm with you. But not just my wife wife, I too hate the idea of clearing snow/ice from the car (had to do it for one year when living in Waterloo); plus with kids it's a lot easier to get in/out the car inside when it's cold/snowy outside. I use the car everyday so they have to stay inside.

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