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Semi-OT: How big is too big for a garage/workshop?

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  • #16
    NO to the flat roof unless you live in the desert. Anything but....

    If you live in an area with enforced buidlings codes... check the walls and foundation before adding a larger roof and floor. If you don't want to pay for a Gambrel, just put on a 4/12 or more conventional truss roof. Savings may not be as much as you think though. I have a Gambrel on mine though - amazing what you can store up there
    Last edited by lakeside53; 10-06-2012, 11:56 AM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by lakeside53 View Post
      NO to the flat roof unless you live in the desert. Anything but....
      Frank Loyd Wright designed some beautiful buildings & homes, but everyone leaked due to the inclusion of flat roofs, partial or complete. Even Falling Waters had problems with a leaking roof.

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      • #18
        I second or third or fourth the sentiment- Hard to make a building big enough (assuming you don't have unlimited money to buy a defunct mall or something). My 36 x 50 with a 12 x 16 extension is now stuffed full. I could have sworn that it was way overkill when I built it, but I was wrong. The problem stems from the ABILITY to add "stuff" to a larger structure. No matter what size building I have ever had, I eventually filled it to it's capacity with either tools or toys. This structure is no different, and I am now out of room and looking to expand or build yet another structure to ease the crowding somehow. But I will probably just fill it up as well.

        And even though flat roofs are not optimal, if that's what is there now, I'd look into having it repaired verses trusses and sloped roof. Especially if it isn't likely to be your last or dream home. There are some outfits out there who spray some sort of foam over existing flat roofs, and I'm told it does a relatively good job. Though I don't know what they would charge in your area, it's really not too hard on the wallet around here.

        Good luck with whatever you do. I hope you need roller skates or golf cart when you're finished!

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        • #19
          The answer is you can't build it too big. I built a 40'x72' hanger 13' ceiling with a 12' wing around 2 sides(was 3 sides but took 1 off because of setback). It should have been 64'x84' with a full 40' bifold door I welded up. This works great & the 12' wings add very little cost. The roof all lines up. I used green steel on the roof & 1x8 board & batton hemlock I cut in the UP with a mobile dimension portable sawmill. I hired it framed & we finished it. The trusses were made for 48"OC with a total load of 68#sf I put them 32"OC & stacked 4 on the 40' door end. With the log cost I ended up with a total cost of $10k in the building & $7K for having the concrete poured. I have the 40x72 for the hanger(now full of tools) & the 12x52 for the shop, 12x24 for welding grinding,sandblasting,etc. Then a12x48 for storage or future shop. Later if needed I'll get a variance & add the 12x84 if needed. Best money I've spent. For the price of 1 decent car I have a nice shop.

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          • #20
            Flat roof

            You can screw osb to the roof you have & put EDPM (rubber) over it. It's not hard to do. I'd use .060 & not the .045 thickness & it should be good for 25-30 years & come with a 20 yr warrenty. Get a manual & do it as descibed. Make sure and get the rolls put on the roof hen they deliver & put the near or over alls below. Good Luck & let usknow how it goes.

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            • #21
              Why not just roof over the south 40 ?
              .

              Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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              • #22
                Had to leave room for the runways.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by John Stevenson View Post
                  Why not just roof over the south 40 ?
                  It still wouldn't be big enough.

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                  • #24
                    I will disagree with most here and suggest you stick with your current garage. Unlike many here who have likely never had a decent sized structure to work in, I grew up working in large open buildings with small heated areas, and IT FREAKIN SUCKS!!!! My father's non-wood "shop" was 40'x100' with 20' under the trusses, and he had another 20'x20'x2 story building for the woodshop. Unfortunately, only the woodshop was fully heated. In the main shop we froze our cracks off in the winter and sweated in the summer = mucho lost work. Even with a decent sized heated "toolroom," there are many projects that dont fit or simply cant come in. Even with that much space, or maybe bc of it, we were quite often working outside due to lack of non-storage, non-project filled room. Because of that space, tools had much more room to disappear in. Because the temperature cant be controlled 100% of the time in 100% of the building, condensation becomes a major issue. Because of that space, the property taxes go up and resale as a residential property is extremely limited.

                    Wanna not be able to work in your shop? Build a big shop.

                    If this does not apply to your situation, I apologize in advance. Only you can guesstimate your projected bills, future regarding resale, and definition of a "big" shop. I would suggest doubling your budget for bills and halving the possibility of resale to give yourself a realistic safety factor.

                    Ive still got some big tools, but my garage has definitely shrunk. However, my productivity is up 1000% bc I can simply walk through the kitchen to either the garage or basement in my fuzzy slippers (and do!) 24/7/365 and be comfortable. I dont have to stoke up the woodstove or touch a thermostat, look for tools or parts of projects. I have a bay for metal/auto/other big projects, a good chunk of basement for woodworking (admittedly terrible), and a bay for emergency work and/or auto storage in addition to tool and machine storage. Once I get the house paid down a bit more in another year or so, I am going to convert the slab "porch" on the garage backside to a 10'x25' toolroom but that is the largest I am willing to go, 35'x25' total on the garage, as being larger than that seriously hurts resale IMO. I also no longer need a "beer fridge" as the regular fridge is ~15 feet away and remains well stocked.
                    "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

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                    • #25
                      I'd convert the choice of roofs into an estimate of your annual costs, all things considered. Your wife probably won't much care if the better roof and larger space only ends up costing a few hundred more a year -- and will be delighted if it's cheaper. You should care if it starts costing thousands more a year.

                      The lower maintenance costs of a pitched roof have already been discussed. A better insulated ceiling (or just shutting the top space off) could save on heating. If you can roof it in a more attractive style, with all three buildings on the site looking like they belong, that should surely bring a better price if/when you sell. But, around here, it would also bring a higher tax bill.

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                      • #26
                        I used to know a guy out in SoCal that had a large pre-fab garage on his property. It was big enough to store 50 cars inside. His "living quarters" were a loft up in one corner of the building where he had a small kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Another guy I knew had purchased the house next door to his five bedroom house, and converted the whole house and attached garage into his own garage / workshop, by knocking out most of the walls and interior.. His wife didn't care...she lived in the house next door.
                        No good deed goes unpunished.

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                        • #27
                          1) Zonning and local building code enforcement.

                          2) Property Tax bill increase.

                          3) Then the cost of the actual building. Don't forget utility's and driveways.

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                          • #28
                            Having a large shop is a great thing. Just like having a lot of money. Both take discipline to manage well. If you don't have any discipline than a small shop or small amount of money is better.
                            Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                            How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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                            • #29
                              That is actually some sage advice that is seldom heard, BF. The bigger the space, the more junk accumulates. It does take discipline to keep an organized, clean, workable shop area. The bigger it is, the more work to keep it that way.
                              Kansas City area

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Dr Stan View Post
                                Frank Loyd Wright designed some beautiful buildings & homes, but everyone leaked due to the inclusion of flat roofs, partial or complete. Even Falling Waters had problems with a leaking roof.
                                The thing about flat roofs is they should not be actually dead level. If it has even a small slope, then water will not pool and you will have much less trouble with leaks. An existing flat roof can be built up slightly in the middle with plywood or strand board or insulation board or whatever to provide proper drainage when it is re-roofed. Just 2" over ten feet can be enough if done properly. Just enough to prevent puddles. I had a flat roof over a screen porch in Florida and it leaked. My roofer built it up and re-roofed it with standard tar and gravel and never another problem. No puddles = no leaks. Oh, I did have him use fiberglass roofing paper. It is more expensive, but it will last a LOT longer.

                                I don't know how this would work out in climates that have a lot of snow, but at least one place where I worked in Iowa had a flat roof and a modern job of re-roofing did fix it for at least 7 or 8 years. Before that it leaked like the fire sprinklers were on when the snow melted.
                                Paul A.
                                SE Texas

                                Make it fit.
                                You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

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