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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Default Opinions?: Shop Heaven Power Question

I'll be closing next month on a home with a 4-car garage of which 3 stalls are for my shop full-time and the fourth I'll share with my wife's car. Nice of me to share, eh?

I need to run a number of additional circuits around the shop. The breaker panel in the garage is nearly empty, so this is't a problem.

The garage is already nicely insulated, finished and painted, so I'd prefer not to tear down the drywall to run the power but I don't think my bride will like conduit or armored cable so have been considering wire mold. I did some pricing on one type of fairly large (3/4"x3") wire molding and it'd cost me close to $2,000 in molding materials to do the garage.

Does anyone have any innovative ideas? It's a nice home so I'd planned on spending several hundred (not including wire, breakers, outlets) but this is a bit steep.

Any suggestions that'd make my bride happy without breaking the bank?


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 09:43 PM
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You could run it behind a crown, or soffit and run drops with the wiremold

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by kp91 View Post
You could run it behind a crown, or soffit and run drops with the wiremold
I agree with Doug. Put in a soffit or a crown molding type wire channel. If you will be installing cabinets, you could probably drop wire inside the cabinets to get outlets down to working level on the wall. In my garage all the outlets are about 4' off the floor.

Having said that, sheetrock repair is no big deal and you don't have to rip the entire wall out. Just about an 8" to 10" horizontal strip so you can get to the studs to drill holes to run the wire. Done carefully you can put the same sheetrock you cut out back in place for repair. Once repainted the patch will be invisible.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 11:58 PM
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I have to assume that with a shop that size you'll have some sort of whole shop dust collection. Long runs of rigid 4"-6" duct with blast gates for your equipment. You might be able to find a clever way of concealing the wire runs in the support structure.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 01:14 AM
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Basically a combination of most of the above. A valence will conceal the wiring at the ceiling line; a 1x 8 mounted on horizontal 2x2s will give you the wiring duct and drilling 2" holes through the drywall between the appropriate studs, down at least 4" from the ceiling line in order to miss the top plates, will give you the vertical drops to your plugs. Use EZ boxes where you want the plugs and other than very carefully cutting the holes no drywall repairs will be necessary. If you want two-gang boxes, use 1104's ganged together and carefully cut an exact hole alongside a stud...screw the box to the stud through the side mount holes. You can do the same thing with plastic boxes if you cut off the nailing bracket.
No drywall repairs, no painting and almost no mess!

One other thing though; check the breaker and subfeed cable size to the sub-panel. You really should have at least 30 amp/240V.
ps one other thing! Remember that there's a serious beam over the garage doors...you won't be drilling through that...
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 01:15 AM
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Almost forgot...no Wiremold!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 06:52 AM
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You can wire in the walls without tearing up the sheetrock.If you can get into the attic of the garage drill through the top plates and use what they call old construction boxes (they dont need to be nailed to the studs) they just clamp to the sheetrock.All you do is cut the hole for your box and use the box hole to snake the wire down, slide the wire in the box put the box in the hole and tighten the claping screws.Then you would not have anything on the outside of your sheetrock.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 09:49 AM
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Jim; two other 'issues...
1) there will undoubtedly be fibreglass insulation, or equivalent, in the walls and ceilings. The least difficult method of pulling cables through it is to fish them using the fibreglass fish tape that the security installers use. It's actually a round rod, very flexible. Way less trouble than the metal tape type for short runs through fibreglass insul.
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2) I don't know about where you are but up here our local building inspectors absolutely enforce slightly sloped garage floors...1/8" per ft. towards the garage door.
Great idea for hosing out the garage if necessary (spilled gas?) but a royal pain for a workshop! Basically, if you're doing B/I cabinets, you need to build a separate base/bases which bring everything back to level, then mount your cabinets on them.
Adjustable mobile bases work for the floor mounted power tools.
Cheers, eh!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 11:45 PM
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+1 with Dan...

Another on codes- Usually a garage ceiling with a living space above or garage wall with adjacent living space is double layer of sheet rock to act as a firewall.

Next EZ-Boxes are also called remodel boxes. It's an easy box to install. You cut the hole with a very tight fit. When you tighten the screws in it, it possitions 2 arms that swing out behind the sheet rock and sandwiches the sheetrock between the arms and the lip of the box. I'll say again- trim to a tight fit (or the lip won't hold).

I have an outlet every 4 feet, then one on each side of my garage door. ! have 4 240v outlets, but I have welding equipment, my shop compressor, one I use as input power from my Generator (when needed)... and a Wolfe Tanning Bed.

Usual expense is with the breakers, rather than the wire... Also check with a local hardware store on codes... Some local is garage with GFI. Mine was this way, I have the GFI outlets daisy chained to other outlets on some circuits. One I have a GFI breaker.

Things that are around 15 amp and cycle (start/stop/start...) Should be on their own circuit.

Last edited by MAFoElffen; 06-23-2012 at 11:57 PM.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-24-2012, 01:07 AM
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I have outfitted two separate shops in the last 10 years, both with sheet rock walls, and I did the first with a valance and fished the wire down. I vowed I'd never do that again as it was really very time consuming and the "old work" boxes didn't do well in those plugs which get a lot of use. The house inspector for the buyers when I sold the house said it was "skirting" the code by using a valance, although I'd trust the opinion of one of the forum electricians before that "inspector"!

I agree with Oliver's idea of cutting the sheet rock. I did exactly that in the second shop and it was far faster, looked better and was even less expensive. I was in a rush to move my equipment from the house just sold, so I even hired a pro (as a "side" job) to do the taping after I installed the electrical and replaced the sheet rock. He arrived early on a Saturday AM and using "hot" mud was finished by that evening. On Sunday I lightly sanded, painted and was ready for move-in by that evening. He charged $175 cash for the 12 hours and I bought him a nice lunch while the 2nd coat of mud dried!

One other thought on the electrical...spend the money on heavy duty "contractor" grade receptacles, they can take the constant use of heavy duty 3 prong plugs from your extension cords or tools without breaking or wearing out over the years.

Sounds like a great new shop...it would be nice to see some pictures after you get it all organized. Have fun!
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