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I am currently starting to build a new garage 40'x24'. Finance committee will not allow any bigger at this time. I will mainly use this as a workshop and storage for mowers, 4wheeler, tractor, etc. I do a lot of woodworking, starting to get into some metal with larger BBQ smokers. Wife will probably force me to build her a carport, since I am not planning on letting her park in the garage due to space issues, :lol: I have saw quite a few of you guys here have some really nice shops and really good setups. I am looking for any advice from you guys, things you have done to your shop that you like, what you wish you would have done different or better. Pictures will follow once we get started, still waiting for my permits to come back. :banghead::banghead::banghead:
 

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I am currently starting to build a new garage 40'x24'. Finance committee will not allow any bigger at this time. I will mainly use this as a workshop and storage for mowers, 4wheeler, tractor, etc. I do a lot of woodworking, starting to get into some metal with larger BBQ smokers. Wife will probably force me to build her a carport, since I am not planning on letting her park in the garage due to space issues, :lol: I have saw quite a few of you guys here have some really nice shops and really good setups. I am looking for any advice from you guys, things you have done to your shop that you like, what you wish you would have done different or better. Pictures will follow once we get started, still waiting for my permits to come back. :banghead::banghead::banghead:
Don't skimp on the lights. Lights, lights and more lights.
 

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I started the building in the September of 2016 and it was erected the last of September into October of the same year. The building is 26' x 32' with 12' eaves and 18" overhang. A few 6' x 3' windows, a man door and a 12' x 10' overhead door. It is insulated under the metal and was framed for insulating the ceiling and walls. (I chose to not have a drop ceiling as first planned, liking the open/vaulted look inside.)

I documented the build and my finish work including insulation, OSB interior, wiring and lighting. It won't be all relevant to your build but you may pickup an idea or two. (Deeper, 26' isn't quite enough, and larger is what I'd do if I could do it over.)

http://www.greentractortalk.com/forums/home-workshop-projects/80674-new-shop-ag-building.html

I hope this helps, let me know if you have questions. :thumbup1gif:

Shop Deck-1.JPG

IMG_4837.jpg
 

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Suggestion

I found out the hard way that width is most important dimension 24 feet not wide enough it is 3 lanes 8 feet wide making it very difficult to move things from back to front without also moving stuff in the middle make a floor plan on 0.25 graph paper then make on graph paper models of what you want in the pole barn and see how they move about in the planned space would recommend minimum of 26 feet with 28 being even better
 

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Tell your wife that it'll cost double the amount to build another 40 x 24 a couple years from now. Build it bigger.

Go with as tall of an overhead door as possible and then add 2'.

Agree with the above about lighting.

Do you want it insulated?

Run your plumbing, electrical, gas chases up front.

Get a bigger concrete pad out front than you thought you'd need.

Slope a portion of your floor and install a drain.

Add lean-to's all around if possible.

Did I mention to go bigger? Gun safes, barns, trailers, and tractors. Always go bigger!
 

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Besides lights lights and more lights, outlets outlets and more outlets. Plan ahead and put in a number of 220V outlets for things like woodworking tools and welders. I've had to add 2 more outlets since finishing off the inside of mine and it's a pain to surface mount conduit. Think where you will want things like an air compressor if you're going to pipe air around in the building and locate a dedicated outlet either 110V or 220V where you plan to put the compressor. I also like to have some ceiling mounted outlets over my work tables with a drop cord instead of having extension cords laying on the floor to get to the work areas.


OH and add more lights. I find especially as I get older extra bright light makes detail work a lot easier.
 

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Besides lights lights and more lights, outlets outlets and more outlets. Plan ahead and put in a number of 220V outlets for things like woodworking tools and welders. I've had to add 2 more outlets since finishing off the inside of mine and it's a pain to surface mount conduit. Think where you will want things like an air compressor if you're going to pipe air around in the building and locate a dedicated outlet either 110V or 220V where you plan to put the compressor. I also like to have some ceiling mounted outlets over my work tables with a drop cord instead of having extension cords laying on the floor to get to the work areas.


OH and add more lights. I find especially as I get older extra bright light makes detail work a lot easier.

I'll second the more outlets and air plumbing. I actually built a small enclosure attached to my shop for my air compressor. Keeps the noise outside. If you go with a metal building, definitely insulate it. Not only for the cold but noise when it rains. A friend of mine built one with out insulation and you had to yell at each other whenever it rained. Did I mention lights? Hahaha! I have a 40'x30' 12' wall steel, insulated building. Put 8qty 4' 4 bulb T5 High Output High Bay's. You literally don't want to look up. I don't even think my welder cast's a shadow.:laugh: Like others have said when you think you have it big enough...go bigger. I wish I would have gone 50'x40'. But the shed roofs on the sides I built definitely helps with implement storage outside. Good luck and have fun with it!
 

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1. Lights, as stated earlier.
2. An electrical outlet just above workbench height, every 4 feet all around the perimeter.
3. Given an interior wall material choice, I like 1: thick [email protected] pine. More $ than drywall, but it's solid enough so you can hang things on it anywhere you want without worrying about finding studs.
4. If you have a concrete floor, epoxy coat it right from the start. If you wait you'll spent time and money cleaning it first.
5. Think about location of 220V outlets, if any of your planned power tools are 220V. Also a 50A 22V welder outlet.
6. A big volume compressor is nice, but think hard about whether you'll need it. Plan of using a lot of air tools?
7. Heating and cooling choices?
8. And, good luck on sticking your wife's car in an open carport ! :dunno:
 

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A couple of ideas:

1. Wire your outlets such that no outlet has an adjacent outlet on the same circuit. This way, if you want to run 2 big power consumers at the same time in close proximity to each other (such as a big saw and a vacuum cleaner to control the dust while you are sawing), you won't have to run the cord for one of them from the other side of your shop. You'll be able to use 2 outlets next to each other. When I built my garage, I asked my electrician to do this. He said nobody had ever asked for that, but he really liked the idea. I have benefited from it many, many times. Don't skimp on outlets. If you have a pad in front or to the side of your building, make sure there are outlets on the outside of the building that you can use when you work outside on the pad.

2. I installed a hand-operated winch over the door frame of one of my garage doors. It allows me to lift heavy stuff in and out of my truck bed. I can also do this with the tractor, but sometimes it's more convenient if the wrong implements are on the tractor. If I ever build another garage, I want some additional structure above so that it's easy to have some overhead lifting capability in the interior of the building.

3. It's usually cheaper to build a building with vertical columns for overhead support spaced throughout the building. Spend the extra money to avoid these. When you are trying to organize the stuff in your building, these columns will always be in the wrong place. They will reduce your usable storage space. And you'll regularly be banging things into them.

4. Make sure your garage doors are ROPS compatible. Consider the possibility that someday you'll want a bigger tractor.

Good luck. A new building will make your life easier.
 

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I agree with all of the suggestions for plenty of electrical outlets and lights, as well as build as big as you can. And for single garage doors go with at least 10 feet wide and as tall as possible.The 10 foot width makes it much easier for pickups and their external mirrors, don't have to be so careful. Also if you ever need to back a trailer in makes it much easier also.

When I built my garage many years ago I did something that not everyone would want but has worked out really well for me. And that was to put a garage door in the rear wall so I can drive all the way thru the garage. At the time I couldn't build as big as I wanted due to my property line, made the garage 30 feet deep but could only go 38 feet wide where I wanted 40. At this it put me so close to the edge of my property that there was not room to drive around the side to get into the back yard if I needed to, so putting in the back door allowed me to drive thru into the back yard.

Since then I've bought more adjoining property so it's not absolutely necessary now for that but I'm still glad I have the back door. It's handy for taking lawn and garden tools to either front or back yard, a good place to work on welding projects, and in summer opening both front and back doors creates a good draft that helps keep it cooler inside. I've liked it so well that when I built my metal shop building a few years ago I fixed it the same way. The downside is you give up some wall space but to me it's been worth it.
 

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Put insulation under the the slab and put in PEX for in floor heat. Even if you don't add the boiler stuff now it is cheaper to do now than later because that would involve ripping up the slab and pour a new one. I guess that is provided heat is something you want in the shop.
 

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The O.P. is getting lots of good suggestions and advice. Although I don't have an outbuilding/shop; I'm still going to throw my 2-cents in based on what I want and my time working the commercial and industrial engineering world.

To reiterate what others have said:

Build as big as you can with as tall a garage door as possible. The added height in a shop will be a blessing when moving 10' or longer sticks of material.

Lights and outlets...lots of each! Run a dedicated main panel for the shop instead of a sub-panel off the house. In addition to outdoor electrical outlets; put in some air outlets too.

Since you are into woodworking; find a way to isolate your dust collector and air compressor to cut down on the noise. Whether that's in a small room inside the shop or an outdoor closet.

Go with a clear-span design to eliminate support columns in the middle of your space as suggested before my post.

Separate the metal from the woodworking areas somehow. Sparks and sawdust are a bad combination.

As a previous poster suggested; put insulation and a vapor barrier under the slab. I have mixed feelings about embedding PEX up front since there are other ways to heat a shop. Concrete is probably going to be a significant part of the cost...don't cheap out here as it will be very expensive down the road to fix or replace. I'd go with 1/2" (#4) rebar 24" on-center each way in the middle of a 5-1/2" to 6" slab. This will give plenty of cover over the rebar. If you do the PEX piping, a thicker slab is going to be required anyway. A smooth finish inside and broom finish outside. Use saw-cut control joints. You'll appreciate them every time you roll something heavy over them as the casters won't hang up on them like they will with tooled control joints.

If possible, put in a bathroom with a shower so you can clean up without tracking stuff into your wife's house. A rough-in for a used or spare washer/dryer set is a nice luxury for cleaning up your work clothes. I have our old dishwasher in my basement shop that I use for stuff that I wouldn't run in the kitchen dishwasher.

Whatever you use for the interior sheathing, make sure its durable and fire resistant or can easily be made fire resistant. Make sure the walls and ceiling are white to maximize the lighting you install. Insulate the building as others have said.

Try and locate it on your property and design it for relatively easy expansion as you will fill it up faster than you expect as others have said.

If you are going to put electric garage door openers on; consider looking into jackshaft operated ones instead of the conventional trolley style so you can have less crap cluttering your overhead space.

Put in PVC conduit for future communications stuff like phones, networking and CATV, etc.

Have fun with your project.
 

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Not just lights 5K LED lights. Holy brightness! I say that because my 5 year old florescents are already noticeably dimmer.:banghead: Consider a few hose reels for air and electric. That makes for some nice easy storage of wire and hose.
 

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As a previous poster suggested; put insulation and a vapor barrier under the slab. I have mixed feelings about embedding PEX up front since there are other ways to heat a shop. Concrete is probably going to be a significant part of the cost...don't cheap out here as it will be very expensive down the road to fix or replace. I'd go with 1/2" (#4) rebar 24" on-center each way in the middle of a 5-1/2" to 6" slab. This will give plenty of cover over the rebar. If you do the PEX piping, a thicker slab is going to be required anyway. A smooth finish inside and broom finish outside. Use saw-cut control joints. You'll appreciate them every time you roll something heavy over them as the casters won't hang up on them like they will with tooled control joints.
Yes, there are other ways to heat a shop but in floor heat is one of the better ones. I have a wood stove and a forced air type hanging shop heater that runs on natural gas. It is way too expensive to keep the forced air heater going all the time. So I set the thermostat at 36F and bump it up when I am out there working. The problem is my slab gets really cold. Come spring this is an issue as the humidity rises because the slab is always wet. It also means the tools start rusting. It is a constant battle. The problem really comes down to if you don't put PEX down when building the shop, you are not going to go back and do it later. If you throw the PEX down there, it is always an option. For instance one of the problems with in floor heat is if you don't want to keep it at 60F all year. Lets say you leave it at 40 and at least have the ability to slowly warm the slab in the spring to prevent moisture issues. Well, if that was your only source of heat, when you go out there to work on a weekend, you can't warm the slab to bring it to 60F or so for working out there for a few hours. You are going to want some form of forced air heat. The biggest benefit to in floor heat though is as long as the slab is warm, you can open the garage door, the heat may escape but as soon as it is closed it will rapidly warm up again without a heater necessarily kicking in.

If heating wasn't going to be a real option and you thought you would go with a hanging heater, I would consider making a smaller tool room to keep stuff in that is well insulated and heated. It isn't ideal because it is going to eat into your limited space but better than dealing with rusty tools. IF things are in rolling tool boxes you can at least roll them out into larger work areas as needed.

We have been talking about adding a 3 car garage and if we do it will have in-floor heat. I have a 1500 sqft pole barn which is my shop today, but I will likely move most of my tools into the garage should we build one and heat the shop a lot less.

Not just lights 5K LED lights. Holy brightness! I say that because my 5 year old florescents are already noticeably dimmer.:banghead: Consider a few hose reels for air and electric. That makes for some nice easy storage of wire and hose.
I just replaced all my florescent lights with 5K LED lights. I agree they are bright. The light is a little more directional. While there is a diffuser, the LEDs are on strips under them that are pointing straight down. I fixed it by adding more lights. I haven't had them long but so far the main thing I like about them is they work the same if the shop is cold or if it is warm.
 

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I built a garage several years ago. http://www.greentractortalk.com/forums/home-workshop-projects/54554-new-garage-project.html Although, my garage is two floors, due to space limitations, so it really doesn't compare to yours. That said, there are certain things that do compare. Plan, plan, plan and plan prior to building the garage. After it is built, it is to late to plan.

Sit down a draw a scale drawing of your anticipated garage on graph paper. Then plan how you are going to lay it out. This is essential to avoid making mistake, especially for 220 v electrical outlet requirements. You will never have 220 V outlets everywhere you will need them if you do not plan where you will put these high powered tools.

Concerning electrical needs. You may be able to get away with running a sub panel from your house panel, depending on how large of a panel you have in your house and how much of its capacity you are using!!!!!!
Considering what you plan to do in your garage, you want at least a 100 amp panel in the garage. You may be able to sub that off your house if you have a 200 amp panel in your house and you do not have electric heat in your house.

I changed my service entrance to a 400 amp when i built my garage. I have a two outlet meter base, 200 amp to the house and 200 amp to the garage. Keep in mind, with a 400 amp residential service, the design amperage is only 320 amps.

Considering how you plan to heat the garage. You first should decide if you are going to keep it heated all the time. Considering what you are planning on having in there, I would assume you are going to keep it at about 50 degrees all the time.

Then you should consider how much work you want to do to keep the garage heated. E.g. wood stoves, wood pellet stoves, coal stoves all require work to keep them going. They all also require a chimney and floor space and space requirements around them.
If you do not want to "work" to keep your garage heated, you are down to natural gas (if you have this available), fuel oil, propane and electric.

In considering which of these to use, decide if you want a heating boiler or hot air furnace sitting on the floor. A boiler is going to set on the floor, most likely. A hot air furnace is going to set on the floor, most likely. You also should consider installation cost.

Considering which type of heat is cheapest, it really comes down to cost per BTU of heat and cost of initial installation, nothing else. A BTU of heat is a BTU of heat. It doesn't matter how you make the BTU, it will take the same number of BTU's to heat your garage. The cost per BTU is what needs to be looked at when determining the most economical why to make the BTU of heat.

Current cost per BTU by fuel type (assumes 86% efficiency for fuel burning furnaces. Electricity is 100% efficient):
Fuel oil: $22.97
Electricity: $20.96
Natural gas: $11.98
Propane: $38.87

These are based on current fuel costs. As you can see, the most economical heat is natural gas by a large margin. So, if you have natural gas available at you location, this would be the heat of choice.
If you do not have natural gas, the next best choice is electric. By a large margin, propane is the most expensive.

I looked at this in depth when I was deciding what type of heat to use in my garage. After considering installation cost and cost per BTU, and the fact that I didn't want a furnace or wood/pellet stove sitting on the floor and I don't have natural gas available, I choose, two electric 30,000 BTU ceiling units connected to one wall mounted thermostat. The installation cost was 1/5 of the cost of ceiling mounted propane units.
 

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Not just lights 5K LED lights. Holy brightness! I say that because my 5 year old florescents are already noticeably dimmer.:banghead: Consider a few hose reels for air and electric. That makes for some nice easy storage of wire and hose.

Depends on what fluorescent you get. I priced and lumen shopped the difference between the LED and T5 High Bay's. Florescent High Bay's were roughly 125$ per fixture and to get an LED that produced the same lumens I would have spent 300$ per fixture and would have had to have 12 LED fixtures instead of 8 Florescent. T5's are the 5/8 diameter bulb. About the size of your pinky finger but produce allot of lumens. Florescent bulbs are measured in 1/8" increments. T12 are 1 1/2" dia. T8 are 1" Diameter. Both T8 and T12 are obsolete because of their efficiency. Duke energy came out and did the lighting plan. The LED do use less energy but my ROI (Return On Investment) would have been 25yrs. Not worth it as costs of Quality LEDs would be less and the potential for newer lights that might come to market would likely be less than 10yrs. Remember...when the fixture says 5000k or 4200k or 3000k, it is referring to the color the light produced, not amount of lumens (usable light).
 

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Depends on what fluorescent you get. I priced and lumen shopped the difference between the LED and T5 High Bay's. Florescent High Bay's were roughly 125$ per fixture and to get an LED that produced the same lumens I would have spent 300$ per fixture and would have had to have 12 LED fixtures instead of 8 Florescent. T5's are the 5/8 diameter bulb. About the size of your pinky finger but produce allot of lumens. Florescent bulbs are measured in 1/8" increments. T12 are 1 1/2" dia. T8 are 1" Diameter. Both T8 and T12 are obsolete because of their efficiency. Duke energy came out and did the lighting plan. The LED do use less energy but my ROI (Return On Investment) would have been 25yrs. Not worth it as costs of Quality LEDs would be less and the potential for newer lights that might come to market would likely be less than 10yrs. Remember...when the fixture says 5000k or 4200k or 3000k, it is referring to the color the light produced, not amount of lumens (usable light).
The biggest reason I ripped out all of my 8' florescent is I got tired of changing the bulbs and they don't work very well in colder conditions. The flickering drove me crazy. When I was taking them out I did notice I had a few ballasts that were leaking so I was probably due for those. As you mentioned, LED isn't cheap and we will see how long they last.

One of the hard things is some of this has more regional impact. A garage in Florida may not have some of the challenges that one in Minnesota has. Sure it can get chilly in FL but not an extended amount of time where I might consider heat or worry about the flickering lights. One thing that is popular up here in the north is that if you go with florescent, also add incandescent lights or something not so temperature sensitive. Maybe use the florescent for main shop lighting when it is warm but if you run out for 10 minutes to do something without heating you can at least have lights without driving you crazy with the flickering. Sure there are florescent lighting that is cold weather rated and they work down to lower temps that what they used to but I would still keep in mind that they are not perfect.
 

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I built a garage several years ago. http://www.greentractortalk.com/forums/home-workshop-projects/54554-new-garage-project.html Although, my garage is two floors, due to space limitations, so it really doesn't compare to yours. That said, there are certain things that do compare. Plan, plan, plan and plan prior to building the garage. After it is built, it is to late to plan.

Sit down a draw a scale drawing of your anticipated garage on graph paper. Then plan how you are going to lay it out. This is essential to avoid making mistake, especially for 220 v electrical outlet requirements. You will never have 220 V outlets everywhere you will need them if you do not plan where you will put these high powered tools.

Concerning electrical needs. You may be able to get away with running a sub panel from your house panel, depending on how large of a panel you have in your house and how much of its capacity you are using!!!!!!
Considering what you plan to do in your garage, you want at least a 100 amp panel in the garage. You may be able to sub that off your house if you have a 200 amp panel in your house and you do not have electric heat in your house.

I changed my service entrance to a 400 amp when i built my garage. I have a two outlet meter base, 200 amp to the house and 200 amp to the garage. Keep in mind, with a 400 amp residential service, the design amperage is only 320 amps.

Considering how you plan to heat the garage. You first should decide if you are going to keep it heated all the time. Considering what you are planning on having in there, I would assume you are going to keep it at about 50 degrees all the time.

Then you should consider how much work you want to do to keep the garage heated. E.g. wood stoves, wood pellet stoves, coal stoves all require work to keep them going. They all also require a chimney and floor space and space requirements around them.
If you do not want to "work" to keep your garage heated, you are down to natural gas (if you have this available), fuel oil, propane and electric.

In considering which of these to use, decide if you want a heating boiler or hot air furnace sitting on the floor. A boiler is going to set on the floor, most likely. A hot air furnace is going to set on the floor, most likely. You also should consider installation cost.

Considering which type of heat is cheapest, it really comes down to cost per BTU of heat and cost of initial installation, nothing else. A BTU of heat is a BTU of heat. It doesn't matter how you make the BTU, it will take the same number of BTU's to heat your garage. The cost per BTU is what needs to be looked at when determining the most economical why to make the BTU of heat.

Current cost per BTU by fuel type (assumes 86% efficiency for fuel burning furnaces. Electricity is 100% efficient):
Fuel oil: $22.97
Electricity: $20.96
Natural gas: $11.98
Propane: $38.87

These are based on current fuel costs. As you can see, the most economical heat is natural gas by a large margin. So, if you have natural gas available at you location, this would be the heat of choice.
If you do not have natural gas, the next best choice is electric. By a large margin, propane is the most expensive.

I looked at this in depth when I was deciding what type of heat to use in my garage. After considering installation cost and cost per BTU, and the fact that I didn't want a furnace or wood/pellet stove sitting on the floor and I don't have natural gas available, I choose, two electric 30,000 BTU ceiling units connected to one wall mounted thermostat. The installation cost was 1/5 of the cost of ceiling mounted propane units.
It is true that a BTU is a BTU but how you apply that BTU comes into play as well. If you heat the air it is more costly than heating the objects. This is because as soon as you open the door, all the heat is gone and you start over. This is where in floor heat is the best. Infrared is a close second but there is some trade off that makes it hard to calculate. Lets say you want to maintain 60F 24x7 and it is a garage you normally park in. Then it is easy, in floor heat is the way to go on new construction. If you are retrofitting an older building that is at least insulated then IR heat tubes are the best route. When I was in the Army we had IR heat tubes in the hangar and we would open the entire wall to wheel out some Blackhawks or Hueys and there goes all the heat. Shut the door and in 2-3 minutes that hanger was as warm as it was before the door was opened. However if you are more like me where I work full time, I don't make it out to the shop every night. It might be once every couple weekends. Well then you have to start asking if it makes sense to heat to 60F 24x7. It might make more sense to let it sit around 36F and bump the temps when you are actually out there. We have natural gas, when we first moved here the furnace in the shop would only go down to 60F. That first year I had sticker shock when I had utility bills in the $1200/ mo for gas and electric in the winter. We improved the insulation on the house, replaced the thermostat in the shop so it goes down to 36F. Now we have utility bills in the $400/mo range in the winter.

The other thing to factor in is if he does woodworking, how much scrap is there and does it justify wood heat to supplement. I do this in my shop. I don't do much woodworking but I have lots of trees so I have had a supply of firewood. Not enough to heat 24x7 but to help augment the heat for those times I am out there working on something for a few hours.

Another note on the power side of the house. This may not be built as a primary parking spot but if it might be, I would also plan for 220V for vehicle chargers. Electric cars are becoming more and more popular. Even if you don't plan on getting one today, at least consider this in planning. Sure they can be charged on 110V but it takes a lot longer. I don't have plans on getting anything now but if we build a new 3 car garage, it will be planned for. Maybe that just means placing an outlet in an area that might make sense for a charger later down the road. Even if the outlet is 110V, maybe it is a single outlet on a breaker with wire in conduit that is big enough to support 10 gauge wire. The box can be changed later and the wire upgraded if needed. Just a thought.
 

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You Can Never Build em' Big Enough

I am currently starting to build a new garage 40'x24'. Finance committee will not allow any bigger at this time. I will mainly use this as a workshop and storage for mowers, 4wheeler, tractor, etc. I do a lot of woodworking, starting to get into some metal with larger BBQ smokers. Wife will probably force me to build her a carport, since I am not planning on letting her park in the garage due to space issues, :lol: I have saw quite a few of you guys here have some really nice shops and really good setups. I am looking for any advice from you guys, things you have done to your shop that you like, what you wish you would have done different or better. Pictures will follow once we get started, still waiting for my permits to come back. :banghead::banghead::banghead:
Five years ago I built a 30 X 40 pole building with scissors trusses. It is full, almost beyond capacity, and that doesn't include the truck & car. I have to keep my Ranger crew on the Triton trailer. I had Menard's draw up plans for a 24 X 24 addition. I second the lights/outlet suggestion (BRITE, doesn't fully describe it). I had a 200 amp service panel installed. GFI outlets every 8' on the support posts. Menards drew up a lighting plan with four LED's in each receptical. Another suggestion, put in a floor right away. It's much easier to pour when its empty. I put wire down and had the batch plant add fibre. Costs sure add up quickly for all the extra's, but well worth it in the end. Good luck on your project.
 

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The biggest reason I ripped out all of my 8' florescent is I got tired of changing the bulbs and they don't work very well in colder conditions. The flickering drove me crazy. When I was taking them out I did notice I had a few ballasts that were leaking so I was probably due for those. As you mentioned, LED isn't cheap and we will see how long they last.

One of the hard things is some of this has more regional impact. A garage in Florida may not have some of the challenges that one in Minnesota has. Sure it can get chilly in FL but not an extended amount of time where I might consider heat or worry about the flickering lights. One thing that is popular up here in the north is that if you go with florescent, also add incandescent lights or something not so temperature sensitive. Maybe use the florescent for main shop lighting when it is warm but if you run out for 10 minutes to do something without heating you can at least have lights without driving you crazy with the flickering. Sure there are florescent lighting that is cold weather rated and they work down to lower temps that what they used to but I would still keep in mind that they are not perfect.
Technologies in flourescent lights constantly changes just like led. You said one of your ballasts was leaking which leads me to believe it was a magnetic ballast. Worst kind and old tech. They do flicker allot and like you said, don't like the cold weather. Believe it or not it gets below freezing in SC(granted for short periods) and the T5 flourescent lights I have never skipped a beat. Rapid start electronic ballasts helps. They do take a min to get to peak lumens at that 32 deg ambient temperature but warm up quickly. Also the ones I bought are not the cheap flimsy one's you get at home Depot or Lowe's. I went to a lighting distributor and purchased industrial HO High Bay's. Much different than your average fllourescent. 3600$ for 12 LED fixtures is high as Cadillac payments. You of course can get cheaper LEDs but that's exactly what they are cheap LEDs. All temps considered, if I lived in Minnesota with long duration cold temps I would likely go with LED because they do get to max lumens quickly if not instantaneously. Just would have to shop around a bit more.
 
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