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Thread: Converting Garage to Usable Space Questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
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    3,220

    Converting Garage to Usable Space Questions

    Hey all,

    I have a million questions about this. Here's the first one:

    I'm using the garage as a woodshop. It measures about 25' X 21'. It's just for me. We also have another garage/shop that measures about 25' X 30' (belongs to LOML). I am planning to convert it into more of a room and less like a garage. We are never parking cars in there. We don't care about home resale value. We have no plans to leave except in a box.

    So we've talked about taking one garage door down and walling it in. I think we should take out both garage doors and put in a double door or sliding door.

    Here's my thinking.
    1) if we leave one garage door, that door is difficult to insulate and seal well.
    2) I lose a lot of wall space, not just for the door, but all around the door because of the rails the door rides on.

    LOML says
    1) it will be more difficult for me to move big machines in and out of the shop to work outside.

    Do you think I should lose *both* doors or keep one?
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    4,003
    I say ditch them both and put a 6 foot french door in one where one of them came out.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Salt Spring Island, BC Canada
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    2,070
    It is a difficult question to answer there Cynthia as it all depends on what you are wanting to do. You could take both doors down and install a set of exterior insulated french doors on one side (or both) that will still give you the most opening space availible. I would stay away from sliding glass doors as they are a huge heat loss and limit the size down to one door width to move things in and out and you have to move over a track that is a pain to deal with.
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

  4. #4
    I would insulate the doors with Styrofoam and install new insulated rubber bottoms. Also run garage door insulators on the side of the doors. With the help of a space heater.....you can do the whole job for under $100. You will also have the benefit of opening up those doors in case a big machine, project, lumber etc, has to be moved

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Oliver Springs, TN
    Posts
    1,726
    I also work out of the garage, but my Wife still thinks it's for her car. She has given in to using it only in the winter. It's about give and take, I give and she takes.

    Seriously though, I'd love to get rid of the garage door. It's SO much wasted space. If it was me I'd loose the doors and put french doors to one side off center. I also put windows centered in the walls perpendicular to the garage door. I wish now I wouldn't have. I wish I would have found some long narrow windows and put them high on the wall. I've got a lot of wasted space with those two windows. Live and learn I guess.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Daugherty View Post
    I also work out of the garage, but my Wife still thinks it's for her car. She has given in to using it only in the winter. It's about give and take, I give and she takes.

    Seriously though, I'd love to get rid of the garage door. It's SO much wasted space. If it was me I'd loose the doors and put french doors to one side off center. I also put windows centered in the walls perpendicular to the garage door. I wish now I wouldn't have. I wish I would have found some long narrow windows and put them high on the wall. I've got a lot of wasted space with those two windows. Live and learn I guess.
    You mean it's like at my house? Glassman gives me a good listening to? What's mine is mine and what's his is mine?

    The point about the windows is a good one that I've thought of. I have one door to the side yard that has a window in it, and I have one window on the North wall. I figure if I have 2 french doors that open wide, that will already be a lot more light. No extra windows for me. I want every inch of space.

    One question I have is when it comes time to put in a real floor (instead of concrete with an epoxy paint on it) am I going to have to take down this massive lumber rack that I just put up? I'm going to go out in the street and get run over.

    The current floor is solid--no cracks--and in good shape but there is a slight slope from the house to the garage doors. Gonna have to level that? I'd like to put down linoleum or cork.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Oak Harbor Washington on Whidbey Island
    Posts
    3,134
    I have always been one for putting shop windows up high to let light in but not let others to see in.

    I would close up both doors & build one door 5' wide you should be able to get anything you want or need in or out through a 5' wide doorway. Make it so the door swings out for 2 reasons it's supposed to be harder to pry open & the door & items in the shop won't be competing for the same space.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Bellingham
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    2,449
    Cynthia, you should check out Fine Woodworking's latest issue which is their special Tools & Shop issue. There is an article about this very thing, converting a garage to a shop. Really turned out nice. He closed off the one of the garage doors making a man door (or women door) and some windows. The other garage door he removed and replaced with a larger swing doors for moving in lumber and equipment. He also installed wood floors over the concrete.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Oliver Springs, TN
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    I like Bart's idea about the out swing door. I'll have to file that one away.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    11,825
    My shop is in an extral deep one car garage with an overhead door at the end. The door is not insulated but I choose to keep it. In nice weather I open and enjoy the fresh air and sunlight. The rest of the shop is, essentially, underground with no windows. The large overhead door is handy for moving big stuff in and out. I acknowledge that in winter the shop is hard to heat. And I don't live in BC where you know what real cold is.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

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