Mine is in the basement - not really an option. We both like to park
cars in the garage, plus it's nice having a car at a normal temp in the
morning - no ice to scrape or 150F interiors. HOA will not allow an
outbuilding over 150 sq ft.
So into the basement I went. It has a walkout (couldn't have done
without this) - think it is really important to have the easy in/out.
It is about 12' wide and 25' long. Only has 7.5' ceilings over most, 9'
over about a third. Needless to say, the latter is where the bench is
and final assembly occurs.
I do have a dual laundry tub in there, there is also a bathroom in the
basement which is nice (the whole basement is finished, well almost,
with full amenities.
Regarding dust, noise & fumes. For dust, the shop is separated from
rest of basement with a wall and door! The door has weather-stripping
and an exterior threshold. The DC has one of those huge pleated
filters (from an industrial supply - much cheaper than a Jet-type - no
'flappers' inside though) with a ridiculously micron rating and huge
surface area. Except for what doesn't go in the DC, no dust. I have a
set of furnace filters connected to the DC as an 'air cleaner'. If the
DC runs for 15 mins or so drawing through those filters the air is
clear as can be seen - I can usually start applying finish. SWMBO no
longer complains about dust (she did before walls & DC rigged up).
Noise. Walls and ceiling sheathed in plywood, every cavity insulated
(including ceiling). Shop is directly under family room. The big
tools are a not-unpleasant "rumble" - planer munching wood (I have 15"
w/induction motor) is probably the loudest. Routers scream the most.
Almost no complaints. Even at night I don't get complaints - the only
sound she & the kids hear is what is travels through the ductwork - a
long way to all the bedrooms.
Fumes - biggest complaints - stinks up the clothes in the dryer if it's
running. Two fixes have quieted this down to no complaints on recent
job: 1. sealing the door, 2. big (rated at 300 cu.ft./min, but
probably less than a 1/3 that ) exhaust fan. If door is shut it draws
air through the ductwork. If I leave door just a crack open then it
the air comes through the door. I sometimes do the latter as it allows
me to crack a basement window nearby and reduce the draw on the house.
Basically, I maintain a slight negative pressure in the shop. For most
finishes (especially shellac) you only need 4 hours to get odors "below
threshold" and can stop sucking precious heated/cooled air out of the
house. If you like BLO finishes (straight, "maloof" mixes, etc) all
the solvent is gone but, damn, that BLO stinks for days and the laundry
problems arise (we have three small kids so it's a daily affair).
Moving finished products isn't an issue. If it's too big to get out of
the basement door - it's too big to move through the front door. I
don't build those kinds of things. If I didn't have a walkout I
wouldn't do it (or equivalent, like a bilco door) with my stair
The low ceilings are a pain, but you learn to work around it. It feels
smallish, especially with all the tools packed in there. The upside is
I can really only fit one project at a time in there so I am better at
getting things done than in the past.
I do tend to do quieter activities at night if I can - hand planing,
I do like being "in the house" - SWMBO can leave and I'm still
accessible to the kids.
Apologize for the length.