I'm in the planning stages for my shop building. My initial plans called
for 9' walls with a vaulted ceiling so I would have plenty of overhead
Are 9' walls still enough clearance if I switch to a flat ceiling? Are
10' walls really worth all the extra lumber and heating/cooling expense?
In an ideal world, the walls would be 12 to 15 feet high, but I don't have
the budget for that.
They would be from this guy's POV. I work under 7' ceilings. <G>
Remember, you're probably going to have lights, DC tubes, etc...
hanging, so the extra space would be worth it for the net height.
I've found areas with higher ceilings easier to light, as the light can
spread out more before it reaches bench and tool tops. You may need
fewer lights with 10' vs. 9' ceilings.
You could always add some sort of ceiling fan(s) to help with heating
10' ceilings... drool...
Regarding DC plumbing, consider building a raised wood floor and run DC
piping under that. I've seen that on a couple of websites and it looks like
a very cool idea. What you lose by having a higher floor, you'd gain back by
more clearance above, and you can run pipes under the floor to machines in
the middle of the room without them being in the way as they would if
dropped from the ceiling.
DC and electrical could go under the floor. Plus, that wood floor is going
to have more give and be more comfortable over long shop sessions.
Of course, I speak from no experience with this (working in my 7' ceiling,
concrete floor basement), but if I was building a shop from scratch, I'd
probably want to work this idea in.
Good luck. And don't forget to leave bench space for cleaning skate
You could always simply build it over a basement, if basements work in
The heating & cooling mechanicals, DC & pipes, compressor, wiring,
etc... would be simple to install or change. All lesser-used stuff
could easily be stored below.
My original plan actually called for a full 10" wood floor over the
concrete. I needed to reduce the cost so I dropped back to plywood over
treated 2x4 sleepers.
I doubt I would regret not having the full floor in the long run.
9' ceiling is sometimes too low for flipping big countertops.
go for 10'. It will be a little easier to light, and if insulated
properly, some recirc fans will make sure the heating bill won't
A standard sheet of MDF measures 108 11/16" on the diagonal.
You can't manipulate, freely, one of those in a 9' height.
Building tables and chairs won't give you any grief...unless you want to
store those 12' cherry boards vertically..<G>
Make it 10 feet, Brian.....
It is going to depend on what the majority of your work is.
I make little music boxes so I could manage with a 7' ceiling.
If you are handling large cabinets, long countertops the extra height
will give you clearance on overhead lights, heating ductowrk etc.
In my area the choice would be 8' or 10' for wall stud construction
since those are the standard lengths available. Ceiling fans or a
recirculating duct and fan will help your heating costs.
I would do 10' with 2x6's as studs. The "extra" cost will not
even be noticed and that extra room in the wall can be super
insulated. Super strong and roomy. I have 12' ceiling and that
is excellent. I truly regret not using 2x6's when I had the
Brian Elfert wrote:
I'm already ahead of you on the 2x6 studs. Energy costs aren't going down
any time soon.
I am most likely going to go with 10' walls even though the expense is not
insignificant. 10% more interior/exterior sheathing, siding, and studs
are required which is at least $1000 additional. $1000 doesn't sound like
much, but my budget for this building is tight.
Brian.. I know that you don't need help rationalizing, but use the same method
that we use to justify tools... $1,000 over the life of the shop, minus the cost
of light fixtures and stuff that you won't be breaking.. *lol*
Please remove splinters before emailing
Someone suggested doing concrete block for the first 2 feet with an 8
foot wall on top and I'm going to look into that. It may be less
expensive than extending a stick built wall to 10'.
I guess it will be better to spend $1000 now than regret it for 20 or 30
I built my shop with 10' celings with 2x6 studs on recommendation of a
neighbor. I don't regret it for a moment. I can flip 4x8 sheet goods
end-for-end without hitting the lights (or DC system once I put one in)
which I could not do with 8' or 9' ceilings. It's as cheap to do 10' as 9'
and, with insulated 2x6 walls, you won't notice the difference in heating or
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.