Garage vs. Basement for my Shop - Router Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Default Garage vs. Basement for my Shop

I'm putting together a shop at my house and I'm interested in any thoughts or opinions regarding the location. I can set up in my basement which is small and has an odd "L" type shape or I can take half of my garage which is overall about the same size but has a nice rectangular shape. Either way, it's going to be cramped. I'll have a hybrid table saw, a 14" band saw, a full size/full height router table, a bench-top drill press on a mobile stand, a 12" miter saw and stand, a bench and a large dust collection unit.

The basement appeals to me since it has heat and A/C (although I can install heat in the garage, no A/C). The garage on the other hand would be great in the spring and fall (since I could open the door) but it would also prove to be a big mess in the winter with a slushy car parked in it (next to to all my equipment). Summer would be hot and humid in the garage but nice a cool in the basement. Both locations will be easy to wire, light and set up for dust collection.

So I guess I'm interested in hearing anyone who may have been in a similar situation. My biggest concern about the garage is not the heat or A/C issue but the humidity in the summer and the potential water/salty mess in the winter. I'm afraid that environment could rust some of the cast iron tools.

My biggest concern with the basement is the dust. Even with a good collection system, there will likely be a layer of saw dust floating around and finding its way into the HVAC system which is located in the same space.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 06:31 PM
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From what you have posted, it looks like you and I have similar climate conditions. You've already covered pros and cons of both locations and I can tell you that my shop is in the garage and I had a shop in a basement of a previous house.
Given the choice between the two, I would choose the basement in a heartbeat. Unfortunately for me, I currently don't have that option.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 06:39 PM
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Your big issue will be dust. No matter how good your dust collection there will be some. If you can keep it in the basement, it will probably be the better location. Keep in mind that your heating/a c can help spread the dust.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 06:46 PM
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At one time I had my shop in the basement, I put plastic up to keep the dust in one spot so to speak, I got the hint from the commercial wood shops that do it all the time..I did it the same way by using hvy.plastic and cutting into strips..not great but it works..


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 07:56 PM
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I had a shop in a detached garage, then I moved to my current house and put the shop in the unfinished basement (doubled the size).

The downside of the basement shop:
Noise - I can't always run the power tools when I would like.
Odors - they seem to find their way upstairs. Finishing, sawing smells, etc.

The downside of the garage shop:
Never able to park a car in the garage.
Cold in the winter, hot in the summer.
Garage door always had to be open when I was using table saw. It was pretty much open most of the time anyway.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 08:22 PM
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if you are not single : go garage
sound & dust are your#1 enemi
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-19-2011, 11:09 AM
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I have a walk out basement, moved the shop there 1.5 years ago. The shop is totally isolated from the house systems and will remain so. I have a HF 1550 CFM DC with cyclone added, one 650 CFM Jet DC both in the down garage where I park my Jeep. In the shop itself I have two shop vacs and a Jet 1000B air filter. We just finished sheet rocking a down bath sealing off the rest of the house from the bath, blew all dust into shop with a window fan outfitted with a couple filters from the Jet air filter. The final result was no excessive dust in the upstairs or in the bedroom next to the bath. All that to say if you make it a priority and work at it you can have basement shop with minimum impact on the rest of the house. But you must make it a priority and invest in it. BTW I use an air house and blow the shop down several times a week, the Jet 1000 takes care of the airborn dust. I feel the Jet 1000 and other air filters do not get enough credit.

I forgot to mention my shop is not heated or air conditioned but it is insulated top to bottom and stays comfortable. The insulation also helps with the noise level in the rest of the house.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-19-2011, 05:45 PM
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I would choose the garage if you have steps to get to your basement. They can be a real hindrance for getting things in and out, especially large power tools. The other issue as mentioned is dust. If you close off all the vents you lose the advantage of heat and AC anyway. If your washer is in the basement it needs to be on a separate circuit from your power tools you you and your spouse are going to be blowing breakers and each other's tempers. I had my shop in the basement in my old house and now it's in the garage. The only downside is the cars have to live in the driveway.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 10:09 AM
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You could always move the TV (and, thus, the kids) into the basement, and convert the den into a shop space.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 11:58 AM
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I could use a limited space in my basement, but because of the way it is constructed, it would be very difficult to get large pieces of lumber or sheet material down there, and some pieces of furniture would have to be brought up in pieces and assembled outside or upstairs. I am going to buy a house with a garage next time, and the cars will be outside, where good little cars should be.


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