I have a basement shop, I think its about 12x20. It's a little small,
but I can rip a sheet of plywood with no problem. The best thing about
it is heat in winter and cool in summer ,as I have ducts run through
entire basement. AC keeps air cool and dry. I have never had any
problems with rust. I live in Ohio and summers are usually very humid.
I love being able to spend time in shop year round, it's always very
Depending on the configuration of your basement stairs, it might be really
hard to get sheet goods in and projects out. My basement stairs has a
landing half way down so I can't carry 4x8 anything into the shop. I have
to remove the two sections from the egress window to get sheet goods in.
I am building a seperate shop building mostly because of the access issues
in the basement. The garage really isn't an option here in Minnesota.
Sounds like you have already overcome one possible hurdle - your wife seems
supportive. Nevertheless the two of you should plan this one together. As
some have pointed out, dust is a very big concern. You will have to pretty
much isolate your workshop from any air handling equipment that might be in
the basement. You will probably have to seal your workspace from adjoining
areas to keep dust at bay. You can do a lot of this with sheetrock and wall
frame sealing at floor and ceiling. Needless to say, dust collection will
be a must.
I have tried to bridge this with my spouse for consideration in planning our
next house. She keeps raising the drawbridge. She is not unreasonable
because she has had to endure two pretty major additions - a room addition
and a complete basement finish. No matter how much plastic we taped up, we
still got dust throughout the house. On the other hand I have seen a couple
of pretty successful basement shops that operate as sealed and
dust-controlled units. I will note that both of these still rely on the
garage for heavier duty finishing.
Gotta do your planning and include her.
I guess I'm a Normite and I didn't think about DC much or air quality at
The basement "seems" dry as a bone. New construction on a well drained lot
in Chi-town. I know the new concrete has water, but as long as no direct
contact, it should be OK.
I'd love an outbuilding that I could use for this, but it's not allowed in
my sub (not that I could afford it right now). Maybe when I retire in
another 28 years (if I don't die at my desk as I fear).
I've thought a lot about carrying the feed and product down and up the
stairwell. At least there is no kink in the strairs (landing). I could
easily get a 4 ft x 20 ft board down there, assuming I could carry it.
Getting the wife involved, or at least trying to, is a great idea. The good
news is that noise should not be a problem except for late at night.
Bedrooms are on the second floor, well away from the area under
consideration for the shop. I'll probably have to "dust" the house a time
or two whilst sanding to get permission for air quality control purchases.
Again, thank you all.
Having had a basement shop for a while in N.E. USA, a "dry basement" is not
about necessarily about seepage. It's about relatively moist warm summer air
getting into a cool (ground temperature) basement causing the interior
relative humidity to shoot up.
I had no seepage but plenty of rust issues.
Depending on your climate, a dehuminifier may be required.
I live in NE and moved about an hour north last year. Humidity was
definitely a problem in the old house but wasn't this summer in the
new one. Used to have all kinds of problems with condensation on the
copper pipes and water tank (Go down to find a pipe has been dripping
on the TS for weeks for example). Course there aren't any copper
pipes in the new house anyway.
If you do move to the basement, paint all the walls and floor white
before anything else.
We have hot air/ac and built a wall to separate the shop from both the
HVAC and the stairs going up. Even if you don't have forced air the
dust still needs to be kept away from the furnace, it'll clog up an
oil furnace to the point where it dies in the middle of a cold spell.
Not that I have any experience with that...
I'd go for an outside entrance if I were you. With a Bilco door preferably.
It's what I had done and it works for me. Have to say though at my age (73)
I try to get sheet goods ripped in two along the length less awkward and
lighter for this old boy. Think on it anyway.\
Closer to the bathroom
Closer to the refrigerator
More even climate
Warmer in winter if you are in a cold climate
Closer to the bathroom (especially important in the winter)
Glue cures year round
Finishes cure year round
No bugs flying into the open garage
Closer to the bathroom
Closer to the refrigerator
In summer, you won't be upset at sight of 300 pound neighbor lady sunbathing
in the nude
Finishes may stink up the house, but in summer, they can be moved outside
When it is 65 to 75 degrees and the sun is shining, I'd rather in in the
garage with the door wide open
Dust control more important
Closer to the grill and smoker.
Easier to vent stinky finishes
Depending on location, you may be able to ogle the cute neighbor lady
sunbathing while you pretend to be sanding a board.
I have a basement shop. It was heck to get all the equipment down there
with two guys and I know it'll be really hard to get back up. I don't
have my shop in the garage because SWMBO and I hate shoveling snow off
our cars in the morning or running through the rain to get to them. I
would rather have my shop in the garage if all other things were equal
to be honest... just much easier to get stuff in and out. I guess it
depends on whether you build stuff thats easily brought up from the
basement or stuff that'll take an engineer and 4 oxes to get up.
I haven't had much of a dust issue in the house yet, but I dont work
down there every day - it probably averages out to 4 or 5 hours a week.
I have the small Delta Dust Collector that I just connect to the tool
I'm using at the time and it does OK. For finishing I almost always
have to do it in the garage because the fumes move through the house and
I have two small children.
Another thing that sucks for me that sounds like you would have covered
is that since we didnt want to do much to the basement until we plan the
finished layout, we dont have a lot of electric runs down there. I only
have a few outlets that aren't necessarily close to the shop area. So I
have extension cords strung to my shop area from other areas in the
Long term (a year or two), we want to finish the basement. The way mine
is laid out is we basically have a big stud wall running the width of
the house, about 40 ft. It provides load bearing for the house above
and divides the basement into two secions, one is 13 feet deep and the
other is just over 17 feet. I would like to use it all, but I don't
want to get spoiled. I actually laid out the shop such that it would
fit in a 15'x20' space. That way, I can really just pick it up and move
it into that size of out-building when the time comes that for me to
build one. Then I can finish the basement with no qualms about the
space I was 'losing'.
I have built at least three "dust zones" barriers for basement shops. And
have inspired a few more. This is a small room that is sealed off from the
rest of the house. Inside is a small vacumm amd various brushes. Often with
a hook to change out of some overalls.
You have to control the dust/sawdust. If this particulate matter does not
invade your house, the wife will be much happier.
Also, strong, stinky finishes can be a problem. I ended up putting in some
industrial type fans to help with this. They made noise but were less
objectionable than the smell.
Having my shop in the basement for the past 35 years, I've encountered
all the usual problems; access to the outside, noise, dust etc. The
dust can be controlled for the most part with a dust collector and an
air filter. The noise and outside access you can work with. The main
benefit is absolutely no rust on ANY TOOLS and since it's heated and
air conditioned as the rest of the house it's ALWAYS very comfortable.
still a major problem.
I just had to pass up a $300 cabinet saw that I would have loved cause there
aint no way it is getting in my basement.
Still, I would rather have a basement than a garage for all the reasons
everyone else has said. Just understand the problems.
I would make sure you insulate very well for noise. The family may not be so
understanding when their favorite show is on.
Also look at filtering the ac to your shop so you dont send noise into the
rest of the houses electrical system.
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