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Old 02-14-2013, 01:33 PM   #16
Seth S OP
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was thinking of heating the garage through the winter to 40 deg. shut off in summer. It will be a while before I build anything so right now its all up in the air.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:42 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by SRG View Post
Radiant heat works very well in the right application. Where heat is the dominant requirement and the space is conditioned to a certain temperature and remains there throughout the heating season.

I don't know where you are, but in most of the lower 48, heating a garage this way doesn't make sense unless you are living in it. Garages are generally not heated/occupied full time or set to some low minimum temp. and then when occupied need to be able to quickly warm up to a comfortable temp.

One of the better solutions for a garage is to use a through wall heat pump similar to what you might see in a motel room. The unit can be turn off when the garage is unoccupied, you can leave it set to maintain a desired minimum temp and when you want a comfortable temp. to work in they can warm up the space quickly. You also get A/C out of the deal and they are reasonably efficient. Running a heated slab full time is not, nor will you be able to alter the temp. quickly and there's no A/C. Through wall units need only one dedicated 110v circuit and a hole in the framing to mount it.
Unless you go with a solar hot water system.... My neighbor is building a large barn / shop that has all PEX in the slab (about $1200 for materials) and has built a DIY set of solar panels for heating the water - (these are not hard to find online and are pretty simple) that will be run through a used high eff. boiler that he bought off craigslist. This will provide a nice median temperature for working (average of 60-65 deg. in the winter). To me, nothing beats radiant heat for comfort, especially on a slab. It all depends on how much the space is going to get used. The package unit heaters are OK for smaller spaces, but a large garage volume could get spendy to heat on a regular basis depending, again, on how much they'll need to run.

The OP didnt' say where he's from (unless I missed it), but not sure why you'd need to go 4' to the frost line. I've been designing in cold climates forever and rarely need to go below 2 per local codes'.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:50 PM   #18
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Unless you go with a solar hot water system.... My neighbor is building a large barn / shop that has all PEX in the slab (about $1200 for materials) and has built a DIY set of solar panels for heating the water - (these are not hard to find online and are pretty simple) that will be run through a used high eff. boiler that he bought off craigslist. This will provide a nice median temperature for working (average of 60-65 deg. in the winter). To me, nothing beats radiant heat for comfort, especially on a slab. It all depends on how much the space is going to get used. The package unit heaters are OK for smaller spaces, but a large garage volume could get spendy to heat on a regular basis depending, again, on how much they'll need to run.

The OP didnt' say where he's from (unless I missed it), but not sure why you'd need to go 4' to the frost line. I've been designing in cold climates forever and rarely need to go below 2 per local codes'.
Located in Vermont. 4' was a guess..though I thought I remember reading frost line was in that ball park. Temperatures here in the winter range from 20's and 30's above to 20 below zero
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:09 PM   #19
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a few changes

1. Pulled off the roof for the moment
2. Changed framing to 2x4's 8' tall.
3. Changed to 4" thick slab on top of 4' frost walls...which may have to be taller.. I have a friend that built a similar structure here in Vermont and did an Alaskan slab. Not sure if I want to go that route.




Sounds like you're designing before you determine what you want out of the structure. Think of this in words, not dimensions:

"I want a two story garage, big enough to place a car on a lift so I can change oil and replace disk brake pads. I want it to hold 2 cars. I want some space on the side for my tools and motorcycles. I want it to have an upstairs apartment for my 75 year old mother in law, who can't climb steps and requires an elevator...."

Once you have that, then you start drawing. But in pencil first. Then you talk to an architect to get his ideas. Then you make final design. Then you talk to the architect again.

Or you can just go talk to an architect from the beginning.



Sorry if I came across rude. Didn't mean to.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:16 PM   #20
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Sounds like you're designing before you determine what you want out of the structure. Think of this in words, not dimensions:

"I want a two story garage, big enough to place a car on a lift so I can change oil and replace disk brake pads. I want it to hold 2 cars. I want some space on the side for my tools and motorcycles. I want it to have an upstairs apartment for my 75 year old mother in law, who can't climb steps and requires an elevator...."

Once you have that, then you start drawing. But in pencil first. Then you talk to an architect to get his ideas. Then you make final design. Then you talk to the architect again.

Or you can just go talk to an architect from the beginning.



Sorry if I came across rude. Didn't mean to.
Oh I have a pretty solid idea of what I want the structure to do and what I want it to look like. Why use a pencil and paper when I think better with 3D models and sketchup is great. I much prefer to model it as if I were actually building it. As I do it this way I learn construction methods and how to solve other related issues. When I am done I have a good estimation for the amount of concrete I will need and the quantities and sizes of lumber. I can then use these to estimate my materials costs so I know whether I need to go smaller on the design etc. If I were in a rush and had to build tomorrow I would just hire an architect and go that route. I also have the advantage of a parents who run a construction/design company with many years of experience who are happy to answer questions and make suggestions.


I do appreciate everyone who inputs suggestions and comments etc. I changed the construction above based on some earlier posts and discussion.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:30 PM   #21
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It's cool that you can do that.

To me, the computer drawing was always hard work. So I penciled ideas on paper first.

Same with writing papers. Jot major ideas down on blank sheets, then an outline, then the word processor.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:33 PM   #22
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It's cool that you can do that.

To me, the computer drawing was always hard work. So I penciled ideas on paper first.

Same with writing papers. Jot major ideas down on blank sheets, then an outline, then the word processor.
I still like to draw and I keep a sketch pad near when I am watching a movie or reading a book. I have used so many 3D design programs in the last 1o years for work or school that I tend to think freer using them.
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:31 AM   #23
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My breif thoughts on what Ive read in this thread so far, and in comparison to my own "do it yourself" garage build that Im on year 5 of...

Go bigger than you think you need, you will always want more space.

Plenty of windows, but well though out becuase blank wall space is valuable too (try putting up storage shelves or stairs to that second floor on a wall full of windows).

If you think there is even a slight chance you will want radiant heat, just put the tubes and manifold in now when you pour the floor, you cant go back and do it later... I wish I had and only skipped it because I was too cheap to spend the ~$500 on materials at the time.

Plan where a car lift will go ahead of time and maybe dig a little deeper in that area for a thicker section of floor pad. (I did this). Mark it well on your plans so you dont forget exactly where it is 5 years later (I did this too ). Also route radiant tubes accordingly.

I poured an "Alaskan Slab" here in NH and have had good results. I used a less conventional type of framing (pretty much avariation of a pole barn/ timber framed design with 6x6 lumber) It is stong and was easy to build.

Not sure what you will use it for, but you mentioned heavy equipment. Go as big as possible with your overhead door. I have two 10x10 and at times wish they were bigger.

Think of door placement in terms of how you will use the shop space. Will one central door work if you have a lift and want to use the other bay seperately? How about moving your doors off of the gable end to the side? really depends on the layout of your property. This can work to your advantage with low ceiling/wall heights and roof trusses when looking to put a car lift in.
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:29 AM   #24
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If you are planning on any type of heat make sure to insulate under the slab. The idiots at our highway department thought they could save some money and didn't do it on their own heated slab. They ended up with a cold building and nicely heated outside perimeter before abandoning the system and having a forced air system installed.
On my pole barn style garage (24x40) I have two 2.5x18x40' microlams to span for two 8x18 doors. I made the garage look smaller by setting it back a bit and putting the service door on the side. From the road the you'd think I have two 7x14 foot doors on a smaller building. Before I finished I also added a 12x20 bumpout in the back to hide the size some more.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:12 AM   #25
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+1 on going bigger than you think you need ... and taller door(s) than you think you need ... and overhead storage / office / living space (or at least the option of building that in later)

... if this were my project, I'd add another garage door at the opposite end or on the side, to make 'drive-throughs' possible ... would make things easier with multiple projects/vehicles going on
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:44 AM   #26
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I built my shop a few years ago....for the lift that I wanted it needed 6" floor....check out the different lifts you are looking at so you know what you are going to need. And reguarding the lift, pay to have it installed, best money I spent. It took two guys a full day to get everything setup.

With the tall roof the heat goes straight up, a fan will help move the air around. I have a 220v electric heater and use a portable propane heater on the real cold days.....I end up in a t-shirt after about 45minutes.

I chose to not put any windows in my shop....I don't want everyone (not that anyone could see) to know what I have in there.....If I want light I open the ONE door. Double doors suck.

A friend of mine asked for photos of mine....it is a bit of a mess at the moment but here is a quick 360 of my shop...there are a few things I would do different....but not much. If my darn compressor will ever die I will build a little "shack" on the side to hold a better one....the one I have works just fine...just had it when I was doing stuff out of the real garage and had to keep moving stuff around....not that I have a place for a good compressor I can get one....but just can't justify it to myself as long as the one I do have keeps on going.







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Old 02-15-2013, 11:25 AM   #27
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I understand the desire for security in your shop . . . .and, in some locales, I'm sure that is a prime consideration . . . .

For me, as much natural light as possible is right up there with enough room . . . . .I feel SOOOO much better with sunlight available . . . . . .

If you live in an area that makes managing security important, skylights are a good option . . . . I've seen them fitting with bars (think jail) allowing light, but not bodies, to pass through.

Living where I do makes that possible. .. .

YMMV
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:02 PM   #28
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FPGT72's workshop/garage may work well for him and have been economical to build and own but that interior shows exactly why a design pro should be involved. It's a shame that your hostile surroundings require you to work in a military prison cell.

Meeting physical requirements and purely practical enclosures do not a great building make.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:06 PM   #29
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:11 PM   #30
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I understand the desire for security in your shop . . . .and, in some locales, I'm sure that is a prime consideration . . . .

For me, as much natural light as possible is right up there with enough room . . . . .I feel SOOOO much better with sunlight available . . . . . .

If you live in an area that makes managing security important, skylights are a good option . . . . I've seen them fitting with bars (think jail) allowing light, but not bodies, to pass through.

Living where I do makes that possible. .. .

YMMV
I used tube-type skylights in a small garage in a sketchy neighborhood. They provide more light than the floodlight I installed.
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