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Re: [Shop-talk] garage expansion gets green light

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Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] garage expansion gets green light
From: "Kent Sullivan" <>
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2009 19:21:03 -0700

I have a 30' x 60' shop and feel very blessed. Have been using it now for
about five years so can reflect on some of the choices we made.

1) 22' deep is quite short unless your car of choice is quite small. That's
going to mean that the usual stuff you would have along the back wall
(workbench, hard-to-move large tools) is going to have to live somewhere
else, which means, I think, that you are going to need as much open space
side-to-side as possible. Really think through the various jobs you hope to
do in the space. Literally make a scale drawing of the floor plan and cut
out shapes that are the right size for vehicles and major pieces of
equipment and see how they fit. Don't forget to include space around each
vehicle to work, with the doors open. This will tell you how much mobility
the big pieces of equipment are going to need in order to be where you need
them when you need them and out of the way otherwise.

2) What sort of lift are you planning on? Think hard about a two-post vs.
four-post lift. Two-post is better for suspension work but gives you zero
options for moving it around. Many of the four-post lifts (including mine)
have caster kits that allow them to be moved.

3) Reconsider the 3 10' doors. Murphy's Law says (and I have experienced)
that the break between 10' doors will regularly be in the wrong place for
all sorts of projects, causing you a lot of extra jockeying around to get
things where they need to be. Also, a 16' door makes it a LOT easier to get
a car sideways for a longer-term project. Of course, you can use four-wheel
dollies to rotate a car instead.

4) Are you going to have an compressed air system? If so, carefully consider
the routing of the air lines. There is a definite architecture to all of
this, which I won't go into here. The key is to plan it out early, otherwise
Murphy will speak up and you'll find that the air lines collide with
something else you have already mounted to the wall. Also, consider making a
continuous loop back to the compressor, to help balance the flow. Helps
prevent starvation at a tap when some other tap is being used "upstream" of

5) Design your lighting with someone who knows how to do this stuff. Overall
brightness at the floor is important and equally important is how the
fixtures are arranged to eliminate as many shadows as possible. And think
about switching. Map out your entries and exits and think about how you will
come and go. Think about whether you want a small number of lights on a
separate bank for those times when you just want to pop into the shop to
grab something then leave.

6) Think about clean vs. dirty areas. Four of the five stalls in my shop are
one big space (with 2 16' doors) while the last stall is completely walled
off with a 10'door for the "nice" car that needs to stay clean. This is also
the library, rest area, etc.

That's all I can think of for now, but I'm sure there's more...

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Eric J Russell
Sent: Friday, March 27, 2009 3:01 PM
To: shop-talk
Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] garage expansion gets green light

Thanks for all the replies. Lots of good ideas. It seems like a sectional
door that goes up to the 11' ceiling will work well. And garage door openers
that mount to the wall (instead of hanging from the ceiling) are another
good idea.

Here's a link to a webshots page where I've placed some of my sketches of
door & dormer ideas.
Hopefully before too long I'll be able to add some photos as the project
progresses. I have rented an 8' X 25' storage container which is now loaded
with my MGA & 99% of my tools. The garage is now empty and ready for

Eric Russell
Mebane, NC
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