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"I want to remodel my garage"

It's a two-car, attached garage. I want to renovate it to be a hobbyist woodworking shop. It's currenlty insulated, but I'll need additional electrical circuits and much more storage.

wanted by: BillF (21) in Westport, CT 06888 +
updated on: Oct. 9, 2012, 11:08 p.m. (6 years, 11 months ago)
posted on: Jan. 23, 2011, 6:05 a.m. (8 years, 8 months ago)
tags: garage home improvement remodel workshop
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3 User Replies

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Congratulations on having the garage space to setup your own woodworking shop! I undertook a similar conversion this past Fall and am happy to pass along my learning to another eager soul!

My first suggestion is don't paint your concrete garage floor unless it is in really bad shape. Having yet another painted surface to worry about (chipping, marring, stains, peeling) is not worth it, in my opinion. A compromise would be to just paint the area which defines your core shop space.

In my experience, the two most important additions to my garage were:
  1. Ample shelving and storage, and

  2. Abundant power outlets

I went pretty low tech with my remodel: inexpensive wire brackets and shelving, homemade benches, and no floor treatment.

A buddy of mine went loco on his garage, getting fancy storage cabinets, a textured floor, paneled walls and even a built-in dust collection system. He used a professional garage remodel service, though, and clearly was willing to invest more in his shop than I was. Envy.

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Cost to renovate a garage: Under $700 (DIY)

When I moved into my current house, the garage was bare. The previous owner wasn't a "shop guy" I guess, since there was no shelving or power in the garage.

I went from bare space to ample storage and power for under $700, with most of that going for storage shelves. I did all of the work myself, so there were no labor costs, just material and one new tool, a hammer drill.

My cost breakdown:
  • $350 a lot of metal shelving and brackets

  • $150 for a hammer drill to mount to concrete walls

  • $75 for 2x4s and pegboard

  • $75 for electrical wire, boxes and conduit

  • $25 for masonry drill bits and masonry screws

I added four 8 foot wide shelves on two walls and added storage for spare wood, conduit, PVC piping and such. I also added about 20 feet of pegboard for tool storage and eight 4-outlet clusters all around the workspace.

It took me and my Dad about two days to finish it off. The first day was spent drilling into the concrete to mound the brackets for the shelving and 2x4 cleats to mount the pegboard. The second day we wired the new outlets and tied them into the existing garage circuit.

I was lucky in that I didn't need to run an electrical sub-panel into my garage. There was already one 20 amp electrical circuit present. Since I run only one big current draw at a time (e.g. table saw, shop vac, thickness planer) it's not an issue for me. When I add a dust collector in the future, however, I may need a second circuit. We'll see.
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More information about building a workshop in your garageTips on Adding Garage Cabinetry

professional garage cabinetryBefore: garage for cars
After: cave for man!

So despite your urgings, the wife won't let you convert the formal dining room into the world's greatest workshop. What to do, what to do?

Ah...the garage! The cars won't mind if you shuffle them out to the driveway once in a while to build that sweet Shaker armoire you saw on your kid's field trip last Spring.

Depending on what you are looking to do, a garage conversion can be as simple as buying some wire supports and shelving and building yourself a few nice workbenches or as expansive as installing custom cabinetry, finishing your walls, installing a robust dust collection system and multi-station task lighting.

Like most things in life, you have two choices:

  1. Do it yourself or
  2. Hire a local professional to do it for you
Certainly the benefit of option one is that it should cost you less. If you have the time and the aptitude, more power to you! The benefit of option 2 get to watch someone else smash their thumb driving that concrete anchor into the foundation wall.

Whichever approach you take, having your own space for creating is worth the sweat or money you'll have to invest in creating it. There's nothing quite like hanging up your sawdust-covered flannel shirt in your very own Shaker armoire at the end of a long day of building.

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