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OK, so things I would have done differently:

  1. Radiant heat in the floor slab
  2. A "Mini-Split" AC unit (you don't need the heat side, given #1, but it's handy if you keep the shop at 55F all the time and want to bump it up when needed)
  3. A Bend-Pak 4-post lift.  If not that, then a 48" high scissors lift (I currently have the 3500 Quickjack for the Speedster but lust for something higher)
  4. Going to 26' square or even 24' X 30' would have been better for some larger machine tools, but I've found other tools in town to use, anyway.
  5. 220 volt 80 - 100 amp service (I opted for 110 only - bad forethought)
  6. Cat-5 Ethernet cable direct from the central house router
  7. Run high pressure air lines above the ceiling to the bench area and both bays

    That's about it.  Others will have more, I'm sure.

^ All of that.

26' sq is worlds better than 24' sq.

I love the heated floor, but I'll say it again-- A/C is something you'll never, ever go back on. The A/C costs less.

You need at least 100a/240v for the garage.

A real lift is all that. A 4-post is ideal for storing cars, a 2-post for working on them. Eventually having both is worth planning for.

Regarding the air lines-- I put mine on the surface, which is nicer than burying them. I ran my 110v circuits in the wall, and my 240v in conduit on the surface. It's better that way.

One thing Gordon didn't mention is lights. Put more lights in that you think you'll need. Then put more in. Then put under-cabinet lights in for the benches. Then put 4x as many outlets as you think you might need in. I've got a double-gang (4 outlet) box every 4 ft on my walls (all 4 ft up). I still find myself wanting more.

Last edited by Stan Galat

I have a feeling that hanging out with this crew will be bad on my bank account.  Attached is what I had sketched up.  It has a bump out in the front to match up with my house facade.  After I get some guidance on septic field distance from the county, I'll basically stretch out the dimensions accordingly.   The long side would be 24' and the short side 22', but based on what I'm reading here I should try to get that to 26' on the long side with the steps to the loft and 24' on the short side.    Our existing garage is 22' deep which works ok since it is 32' wide and my workbench is on the side, so I thought 22' would work. 

I'll have to see how much cost is involved in heated floors, but I do like the mini-split idea to keep it climate controlled in all seasons.  My electrician is coming out Tuesday to take a look, so I'll ask what kind of service I need to be able to run a mini-split.  The units themselves aren't that expensive and easy to setup.   I just don't want to have to run another main or anything over the top like that...  After all, this was just intended to hold a few more toys, and you guys already have me expanding to a separate home and small business space!

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Lighting:  Lots of discount places have 4-foot LED shop lights for under $15 bucks each.  

https://www.oceanstatejoblot.c...-watt/product/213080

Not as classy as recessed LED lighting, but they're CHEAP!  At that price, you can run 8 - 12 of them and have fantastic lighting with almost zero shadows anywhere in the shop and all of them, together, would be around 150 watts.  That's mice-nuts!  I currently have recessed LED pot lights right over the bench and 4' LED lights under the upper cabinets, then four 4' LED shop lights hanging from the ceiling.  I intend to add four more hangers this year.

I was just chuckling, though - When I was working I built a prototype lab for one of my groups and we installed an entire ceiling of LED light panels.  You could wave your hand over any bench in the room and never see a shadow.  THAT was cool!  (and wicked expensive, but we buried the cost across several other projects).  

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Stan that could of been awesome with 4 cars.  Well,  I did not do the half bath,  but I do have cat-5 and 220V and full insulation, but a second floor habitation is a no brainer but you can't get it all living in the city.  

As to drywall, I would do plywood it just is more practical  at least in certain areas of the work area.

Anyone with a garage loft will agree the correct label is the Great Abyss. The home shop in PA  was speedster build specific but my 30 plus totes of  mechanical VW parts and Speedster pieces on shelves across the entire back wall was the best.  Keep in mind an out of the way crud area for a bench grinder, polishing wheel and drill press.  Get bins for bolts and nuts and sturdy free standing metal shelving or build  16" wide x 9' plywood three tier shelving units. You'll also want a large bench mounted LED magnifying glass stand....also a small metal trash can for dirty rags and another for flammables. Air compressor?... might as well price one of those too~ If you are getting into this all in consider the builder  making a beam in the ceiling out of  two 2 x 8's with a 3/4" plywood glued and bolted in the center , then pass a sturdy screw eye through that and backed with a 3/8 square plate...so you are able to do heavy lifting. Agree LED lighting is cheap and bright ..in addition to 6 2 bulb  conventional fluorescent ceiling fixtures I have two 48" angles LED " shop lights" hanging at an angle over the car work area.... it' s super bright .  Heat : My PA home shop and house was total electric so $600 to $700 monthly electric bills were the standard. My natural gas  heating here in VW is cheap but a process...,  I have a single forced hot air duct into the 2.5 garage that keeps the chill down a bit but ten minutes before I want to work in there I fire up a 30,000 BTU free standing heater from Tractor Supply .. that thing is a monster and brings the garage from the low 40's to 85 degrees in minutes, the down fall is it consumes the oxygen in the air and I have to open the garage door every half hours to change out the air which sorta defeats the entire process. If you are serious about getting work done while you are out in the garage never ever have a place for the neighbors , family members or friends to sit as they do not know when to leave.  Beverage Reefer, yes but keep it well out of sight of guests.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

My Grandfather built my garage in 1950, then put all his tools and materials for the house in the garage as he built. When I got there, I had one 15 amp 110v circuit.

I insulated first, then did my garage ceiling in white melamine(masonite) panels. Put it up and forget it, it's white and shiny. Zero finish work, it's a garage after all. It reflects light very well.

The insulation of the ceiling, one wall and the garage door made a MAJOR difference. It holds my electric heat well in the winter and it's pretty cool in the summer with only an 8000 btu window unit. Concrete block wall, rough concrete floor, 19 x 19 feet inside.

I buried two conduits from the garage to the house. I have Cat5 to the garage and a wireless router out there. I ran 100 amp 220 out there too, the garage is 40' from the house.

The garage has an attic, and a fold-down ladder so no lost floor space. I have a Harbor Freight platform scissor lift and a 7 foot ceiling height, which works very well for a Speedster or a Spyder.

My next shop will be much bigger, but I can build a motor or tranny and still have the car in the garage.

I was out there all day today wiring my EFI. I keep it at 60 degrees when I'm working. Totally comfortable while you're working.

I ended up going 24x36 and now wish that i had gone bigger. I used mini splits for heat and A/C (both floors are insulated). I ran the stairs up the back - didn't want to give up the space inside. I do live west of Boston so this can be a bit of an issue with snow but still prefer this way. I've added a 2 post lift and it has been a fantastic addition to the space.

Last edited by Silvano Roadster D

Us Limeys tend to look jealously at all the extra space you guys tend to have.  My current garage is 50% larger than my last house but is still only 11’ x 21’, and 7’ high. With motorbikes, bicycles and the Speedster in, not to mention other large stuff like compressor, jet washer, lawnmower, gardening tools, paint tins, etc., I‘m glad I’m skinny enough to fit around the small space to work on the car. Anytime I do anything complicated, I have to spend time shuffling things around the garage like a sliding puzzle to get enough space to work. This garage has far more lights and power sockets than my last one and they both make a hell of a difference. Ditto a decent workbench and either racking, shelves or, in my case, a bunch of tambour sliding door office cabinets, purloined from our office closure last year.

But we always fill whatever space we have, don’t we?

The only real downside is that the garage door is on the 11’ end, so if I want to get a bike out, I have to get the car out first.

The one useful thing I have for our UK weather is a portable dehumidifier, because I’ve yet to properly insulate the garage and replace the draughty up-and-over single skin garage door.

I’m with those who said “it doesn’t matter how big you build it. It’s never big enough. And another who said my kids have stuff in it ... and my wife has stuff in it... and as Alan noted, all the tools, benches and parts stash take up so much of the space.  I just finished building what I say is my last house and shop not too long ago.  It’s full already.   Which has put me way behind on my Vintage Motorcars Coupe build.  The detached garage is 30’ x 60’ x 12’ ceilings.  2 Roll up doors on each end.  Highly recommend roll up doors to retain ceiling height.  The last pic was before the tools.. wife’s stuff...kids stuff all came out of storage. Love the  blue choice! I am considering for my coupe color. Hope to get to posting build pics soon!
Stephen

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I'm jealous, @AllnuttS! (and all you other guys with big space)  I live in a townhouse with a double (19x19') garage (which sounds large, and is for most people), and while my Speedster, work bench, tool box and the freezer are on 1 side, the other is taken up by Beth's car, shelves along the side holding stuff for 5 people, fridge and built in vacuum, so space is always at a premium.  Oh- I forgot the 5 bikes hanging from the ceiling, and I keep looking for a used milling machine- don't quite know yet where it would go- maybe dump the big lay down freezer? (somehow I don't see that going over too well, no matter what the reasoning is)  Work stuff gets piled around the Speedster so any time I want to do something there's always re-arranging to be done (and then putting it all back so the family-chariot will fit back in for the night).  I'm willing to move (and ready to try to convince my lovely wife) but have yet to find a townhouse with an outdoor pool, hot tub AND garage that takes up the whole basement...  Al

@ALB posted:

I'm jealous, @AllnuttS! (and all you other guys with big space)  I live in a townhouse with a double (19x19') garage (which sounds large, and is for most people), and while my Speedster, work bench, tool box and the freezer are on 1 side, the other is taken up by Beth's car, shelves along the side holding stuff for 5 people, fridge and built in vacuum, so space is always at a premium.  Oh- I forgot the 5 bikes hanging from the ceiling, and I keep looking for a used milling machine- don't quite know yet where it would go- maybe dump the big lay down freezer? (somehow I don't see that going over too well, no matter what the reasoning is)  Work stuff gets piled around the Speedster so any time I want to do something there's always re-arranging to be done (and then putting it all back so the family-chariot will fit back in for the night).  I'm willing to move (and ready to try to convince my lovely wife) but have yet to find a townhouse with an outdoor pool, hot tub AND garage that takes up the whole basement...  Al

YOU'RE jealous? Hell, that "garage" is 50% larger than my entire 1200 sq.ft. house. I do have an attached garage, though, but Woopee!...it's a 1-car that houses a washer, dryer, gun safe, standing freezer, 2 four-drawer metal cabinets, and my "driver" car (2015 VW Jetta)...not to mention the bicycle and hunting+scuba gear hanging from the rafters. This means Speedie lives in its own 10'x20' secure storage locker 20 miles away. It's a royal PITA, but a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do! And, before anyone brings it up, I'm not looking for any "sympathy". I already know exactly where I can find all I need: In the Webster's Dictionary between "sh#t" and "syphilis."

Last edited by Napa Paul
@DannyP posted:

@AllnuttS Why did you put a wall down the middle of that gorgeous space?

@DannyP  , check out the shop below.  There was a thread on this build on the Jalopy Journal, but the pictures are all gone now.  The bay on the right side was walled off from the rest. He used this as the dirty room for teardown and then as the clean room with air filtration for painting.  It kept the rest of the shop for clean work.  The guys work was really good.  The shop was way nicer than the house!



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Having grown up with a 120’ X 40’ garage and a well equipped shop, it’s hard to pare down to a 24’ X 24’ and scrunch my tools into that small a space.  My Dad’s snowmobile shed was bigger than my current garage!!  Still, you live with what you have and make the best of it.  I only know of one guy in town who thinks he has more space than he needs but he’s always been kind of a jerk, anyway. The only child of a wealthy couple, he did very little with his life other than waiting for his inheritance.   Just to spite him, his parents both lived to 101 before passing.......  

I am blessed with a bigger garage than I ever thought would be possible—1,200 square feet, nine-foot ceilings, about four bays—with a 4-post lift, a 60-gallon compressor and a lot of 120 outlets and overhead lights.

It's been a fantastic workspace for a decade now, birthing the reconfiguration of our deck, the refurbishment of our living room, a 60-ton garden terracing of our back yard, the Soobification and maintenance of my MGTD replica, Projeckt Spyder, and multiple tables, chairs, carts, bars, and various and sundry fabrications in wood, metal, stone and plastic. Plus a lot of potting and over-winter plant storage and the absorption of some 70 percent of the old Merklin Motors shop inventory.

I cannot put into words my gratefulness for this space.

Somehow it's still never quite enough. And of course it's due for a serious overhaul of the lighting, sheetrock, windows and trim.

I'd like to pretend that, once that's done, I'll become "neat."

Humor me, boys....

I'm still working with the county to confirm setback requirements so I can build my paltry 24' x 24'...  What is crazy is that my property is 1.8 acres, but the county requires a 10,000 sq/ft septic reserve area that currently overlaps part of my garage location. 

I talked to the surveyor who did all of the original work on the plat, septic, and well design and she said I should be able to get variance exceptions and told me how to position it with county well and septic guys.   They are just slowly drip-feeding me responses this week which is annoying, but I'm hopeful I will get it sorted out without having to re-survey the whole property and do new perc tests on the soil. 

If I can get the exceptions I want, I think I can get it up to 25' x 25' or maybe 25' x 26', which from the responses here would be well worth it. 

But alas, my fate is with the county government on this one. 

A family member inspects septic tanks and field bed systems and he says the newer beds are quite compact and do not need as much length in piping, tiles.

Also, I have found that the building permit clerk will answer questions one drop at a time so it could talke you 3 months to get enough info to get a preliminary sketch or drawing approved on the location of the garage vis a vis la maison/ your house to the  whole land.

My suggestion is to go with a sketch and keep asking questions daily if you have to and ask where in the building code can you find the rules clearly written.  Reading you might find a solution to your problem.  Another way is to drive around your neighbourhood and look as how others have built.  It can reveal a way that others utilized to get around or get a compromise from the agency.

1975 I did my parents septic system in a lake community. Back then the Health Department was the go to source for info and inspections. I drew up a simple diagram showing property lines, house and the proposed system. The H.I. said I'm impressed with the detailed drawings most waltz in here with a cocktail napkin drawing and expect that to fly. I told the H.I. I was renting a back hoe on the weekend and dragging friends into this project. The H.I. told me not to back fill it in as he needed to inspect and take photos on Monday. , I reminded him that I was renting the back hoe the H.I. says to me I'm sure you have Polaroid camera, just take a few photos and that will be fine, I would never get away with that these days . That project was the last thing I did with my dad, he passed 5 weeks later.

Last edited by Alan Merklin
@DannyP posted:

@AllnuttS Why did you put a wall down the middle of that gorgeous space?

@DannyP,  Appreciate the compliment.   It’s been a dream to be able to have a garage like this and I am fortunate that my wife and kids enjoy the car hobby.  To be honest, working on cars and projects in the garage has given me the most rewarding and bonding time with my kids.   My son has exceed my mechanical knowledge and abilities in a heartbeat.  It’s amazing what they can learn on YouTube these days.  We had to buy Chiltons manuals when I was growing up.    @LI-Rick was correct.  Just that front corner is walled in for a clean room.  The studded wall next to the 4 post lift is now covered solid on both sides and ceiling being added to that area. That narrow area, left of the lift in the pic, is now covered with the wife’s door wreaths for every holiday and occasion. She uses the 2’ deep shelves to the right for other clean storage. I had to give her some room in the 1800 sq ft. The 4 post is really used to stack and store the toys for easy access and occasional oil change. The area in front of the clean room, is open and set up for a future 2 post lift.  That will leave the rear area open (~16’ wide by 60’ long with 12’ wide doors on each end).  I can drive straight through with truck, trailer or boat if needed.  Right now it has the zero Turn mower and too many toys in the way to do that.  Looking forward to many more years and projects with kids in this new garage. Enjoyed seeing other’s garage postings .

@IaM-Ray posted:

I got it you just have to change that "gun safe" for a Dr Who booth and you can fit anything in it ... Ask Musbjim ) he can travel with all the things he needs in a speedster.

Just had to.

I don't/can't understand "change the 'gun safe'." Where would I put all the firearms that don't fit into my other two gun safes in the house? I learned decades ago that while you can have too many cars and "toys" , ....you can't have too many guns.

@DannyP posted:

@AllnuttS Why did you put a wall down the middle of that gorgeous space?

I put a wall down the middle of my garage as well.

The longsuffering Mrs. Galat requested, "no more metal shavings" on her side or in the house. It works well to segregate the unwashed masses from more genteel folk.

I went from 3 stalls and 32 x 40 (x 14 ft high, then an 8 ft "hay mound" loft) barn at the "big house" to a space that defies description, but which is much smaller and at the same time more posh at the new "in town" place. Space saving went so far as to hang an 80 gal 2 stage Quincy  compressor from the ceiling above the blast cabinet. I can fit 4 vehicles in "my side" if I make use of both lifts. It's tight.

I can tell you this with absolute certainty-- it is far, far easier and less expensive to just build a big building that to try to make a small space work like a big one.

Last edited by Stan Galat

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