I finally have the means to build a shop. All I need to do is decide
where to put it.
I currently have a somewhat cramped two-car garage that is 19-feet on
a side. It's already hard to get around w/ two cars and all the junk
I have in there, so I was already planning on building a shed to hold
all of the lawn equipment and sporting stuff.
Of course, instead of using the shed for simple storage, I could use
that for my workshop instead. Here are the pros and cons I can come
up with. Additional advice will be greatly appreciated!
+ Can use up to 361 sq ft of space for projects.
+ Sub-panel in garage has room for 7 more circuits.
+ Easy access for bringing in tools & wood.
+ Easy access to house amenities (fridge, bathroom, etc.)
- Will only be able to fit one car once machines and
benches are lining the sides.
- Panel may not accomodate 240v circuits (need to check).
- Garage is part of house, so it will be noisy.
- No windows in the garage, so natural light only
available when door is open.
- All of my lawn equipment will be back in the woods,
away from the front lawn.
+ Dedicated space. Lots of good things about that.
+ With a gable roof, I can store lots of things overhead.
+ I can put in a bunch of windows for natural light.
+ Easier to insulate than the garage.
- Max 200 sq. ft. (as per local codes).
- I would need to pay an electrician to run new service.
- Less accessible. It would be ~150 feet from the road.
If I did go the standalone route, I have a couple more questions:
* Slab or wood floor? Skids or post-and-beam for a
* Any issues w/ the environment in a weather-proof,
but HVAC-less shed? Will I have issues with rust, etc?
Many thanks in advance for any experiences or advice you can share!
I have about the same 200 sq ft and it's not enough for all the equipment
and work space. Now granted, that space is probably greater than some
others have and I'm not complaining - but it's still not big enough by any
stretch of the imagination. When I added a drum sander, it had to go in the
garage, same with the lathe and my assembly area is also the garage (in the
So what I'm saying, is go for the out-building but plan on using part of
your garage also. Layout your tool locations on a scaled grid and you'll
see that you'll fill that area with a TS, jointer, planer, BS, DP, DC,
workbench, mortiser, SCMS and clamps. It leaves minimal room for assembly -
if it doesn't fit on my bench, it goes to the garage for assembly and
glueup. You'll also be somewhat restricted on the lengths of stock you can
work with so be sure you have sufficient clearance front and back of the TS
blade. Most items you'll build (as a hobbyist) will most likely be under 7'
in length and that's the minimum clearance you will need front and back of
Something I found out (too late) on building a shed was how you classify it
determines the max size. Since our codes will differ, I won't go into it
but check to see if you can't get a code variance to build larger (and
better) to enhance the property....
I'll leave how to build it to the experts.
If it were me, I would build a seperate building and include plumbing
for a water closet and sink in case the next owner might want to
convert it to an apartment. It is sorta like a swiming pool; the next
guy might or might not want a seperate building and I would want it as
useable as possible for whoever buys it after you.
Use whichever location gives you more room. Consider a window installed in
the garage. You can always pull a car out of the garage during a project.
Electrical is in place, a solid floor for equip is in place, access is good.
Less contruction cost = more/quality tools. How many hours per day in the
Ah, I know that area very well. Hook 'em! You certainly don't need to be
too concerned about heating the shop. I live in Houston and rust fighting
is a fact of life, if you don't have air conditioning. I manage to keep up
it at bay through regular use of Boeshield. That stuff must be more
effective after you've applied it several times (gets down in the pores of
the cast iron?). I notice that I have much less trouble than I used to.
The point is that you may have some rust challenges in Austin but they are
manageable. Austin does not stay as humid as Houston year round, but it can
sometimes compete on a hot summer day. Don't make your shop decision based
on rust, unless you are comparing air conditioned to non-air conditioned. I
know this concept is foreign to our Northern wood stove brethren. :-)
On 9 Feb 2004 15:06:51 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org (Joshua) wrote:
So you say this will be 150' from the road and it can only be 200
square feet? Since you're 150' from the road I assume your property
is pretty decently sized. Are you saying this is some max to get it
declared as a shed or something? It doesn't seem reasonable that you
can't build a larger outbuilding than 200' . Even here in Oregon,
land of planning out the wazoo, I don't think anybody would try to
tell you can't have an outbuilding if you have room for it. Except
perhaps in little Beirut (Portland).
I have a long and skinny lot (approx 52x210 feet). The 200-sq-ft max size
is sort of dictated by code. All the people I have asked around town
(Austin) said to try to legally avoid the permit process if possible.
Around here, that means staying within 200 square feet. It is a possibility
to get a permit and build larger, though that would also considerably
increase my building costs (e.g., a 400-sq-ft building + permit & inspection
fees could double my costs).
Anybody in the Austin area with some advice?
Thanks again for all the replies!
First off, if you have the possibility, go with a detached shop. No
dust on the cars, no lumber scratches on the cars, both cars in the
garage where they belong.
I'm in Austin. I have an 11x22 foot shed shop behind our garage. We're
in Circle C Ranch, where the HOC is very strict (maybe the most strict
The shed was there when we bought the house (BONUS!), and it looks
like it was built by one of those shed companies (Tuff Shed, etc.). I
don't know what kind of certifications were necesary, but it's a big
shed, and it's in Circle C, and I've seen others.
The power is coming from the garage, on one circuit, so I'm going to
need to upgrade that.
The doors have started to rot (I think the thing is 10+ years old, and
is trimmed with pine). If I leave a tool box open near the doors
during a hard rain, I'll get some rust. Elsewhere in the shop I have
no rust, and I'll be building new doors this month.
I have a window AC unit from Wal-Mart, that keeps part of the shop
cool in the summer. I've insulated the sunny side walls and ceiling.
It's not too bad in there.
It's small, but big enough for my needs.
Oh, and it's on skids. I guess I like that, but I worry about them
rotting now that the thing is getting old. Of course, I have a new
framing nailer, so I'm itching to build something big anyway...
Consider yourself lucky. I am restricted from having any sort of
outbuilding. I designed my deck with a storage area underneath to
give me some outside storage, but that's as far as it goes here.
I don't understand why doing it legally will double your costs. Is
that from avoiding hiring a licensed electrician. Other than plumbing
and electric, you can probably legally do the rest of the work
yourself, or hire out as side jobs.
email@example.com (Joshua) wrote in message
If it were me I would use the garage as my shop, but would permanently
ban all cars. They were designed to operate in the outside and do not
need to be housed. Being somewhat ignorant of Houston, I would think
that the lack of serious snow and cold just makes that even more
appropriate. I assume that we aren't housing the car for security
reasons? I would far rather walk out to "the woods" to get my lawn
mower once a week than walk to the woods every time I want to be in my
shop. I would also probably look into the time, effort and money
needed to add a window or two just to make the gar...uh shop more
hospitable for you. Now If I only had the available yard to build a
shed and get some of the crap out of my "shop".
If you banish the cars, then you live in a house with a parking lot
out front. Cars are not attractive landscaping (even nice ones).
UV-faded cars are even less attractive, and not keeping them in the
garage lowers resale value.
I understand how the priorities are different for different folks,
especially here in Texas where nobody digs basements when they build a
house. A garage is an attractive storage solution.
firstname.lastname@example.org (David Hall) wrote in message
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