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Old 06-22-2013, 04:08 PM   #1
huzar OP
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minimum size for a small shop

I have a house that has no garage. I have a two-car carport, but over the last five years there have been three burglaries in my carport, most recently two nights ago when they took a just-procured drill press (fortunately just a $50 craigslist buy). I really don't want there to be a fourth time.

I looked at enclosing the carport and turning it into a garage, but the prices I was quoted were prohibitive ($20K+), and I don't think I'll be in the house long enough for that size investment to be worthwhile (not sure I'll still be there 2-3 years out), so I'm thinking I can maybe put in a small prefab wooden shed in the back yard.

I have room for maybe 8x14 to 10x16 or thereabouts, depending on easements. I'm not looking to keep the bikes there full time, just space to wrench on them and to keep my tools there, maybe a large power tool or two, take an engine apart, that sort of thing, without worrying that someone is going to steal my tools or my parts overnight. Any special considerations I should take into account when planning for a small space?
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Old 06-22-2013, 04:38 PM   #2
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Go as big as you possibly can, it will still be too small.
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Old 06-22-2013, 04:40 PM   #3
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I'm surprised you can't enclose your carport affordably. Simple uninsulated 2x4 walls with siding to match your home, plus a garage door on one end.

Assuming you can't, I'd say you can do quite well in the 10x16'. Definitely try to get one at least 10' wide, the 8' wide size would be very tight to work in.

Obviously you will need to be smart about storage. Shelves will be very important. Put the work bench at the end, opposite the entrance. Narrow shelves are better than deep shelves. I wouldn't make the shelves deeper than 16", because they will eat up your floor space and also things tend to get lost in the back (like in your fridge!) I have some 24" deep shelves and I hate them...

Paint the interior bright white, so you can see well while working on things. It'll look too bright at first, after you get the shelves, bench, tools & crap inside it will be fine. If you have an air compressor make a little shed for it outside of your shop, on an outside wall, so you won't have to listen to it cycle. Btw, toss all your empty beer bottles & cans, or it'll just look like you go out there to catch a buzz.
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Old 06-22-2013, 04:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huzar View Post
I have a house that has no garage. I have a two-car carport, but over the last five years there have been three burglaries in my carport, most recently two nights ago when they took a just-procured drill press (fortunately just a $50 craigslist buy). I really don't want there to be a fourth time.

I looked at enclosing the carport and turning it into a garage, but the prices I was quoted were prohibitive ($20K+), and I don't think I'll be in the house long enough for that size investment to be worthwhile (not sure I'll still be there 2-3 years out), so I'm thinking I can maybe put in a small prefab wooden shed in the back yard.

I have room for maybe 8x14 to 10x16 or thereabouts, depending on easements. I'm not looking to keep the bikes there full time, just space to wrench on them and to keep my tools there, maybe a large power tool or two, take an engine apart, that sort of thing, without worrying that someone is going to steal my tools or my parts overnight. Any special considerations I should take into account when planning for a small space?
Bummer someone stole your stuff. Closing in the carport yourself is a piece of cake. PM me with a photo of the existing carport and I'll talk you thorough it.If you already have A roof and two walls the job can be done for under $1,000.00, plus a few tools and a door. Definitely your hotter set-up than a portable building.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:16 PM   #5
huzar OP
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Thanks for the offer to come up with suggestions on enclosing the existing carport, seniorasi

This is the view from up the driveway. The driveway slopes down 3 or 4' from street level towards the carport:

Porwit-20130622-1914-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The left (south) supporting columns:

Porwit-20130622-1915-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The middle supporting columns, and the storage lockers on the right (north) wall:

Porwit-20130622-1916-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The back side of those north wall storage lockers:

Porwit-20130622-1917-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

One more overall view:

Porwit-20130622-1918-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The original slab ends where the storage lockers begin. There appear to be concrete pavers inside the storage lockers. Just north of the storage lockers is a steep slope that is the boundary between me and my neighbor, so I get water draining down that slope and towards the lockers.

My ideal plan would get rid of those central supporting columns, though I don't think there's a way of doing that without redoing the entire carport.
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Old 06-23-2013, 05:21 AM   #6
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If you keep it simple, you should be able to get it done in a weekend, just enclose the sides with 2x4's and plywood. Frame out the garage door openings, put some garage doors in or build some barn doors. If done on the cheap, you would have less than $1000 in materials. I am guessing your quotes included removing the posts, that is where it gets complex and expensive. I say just live with them. In order to remove the columns, you probably will need to upgrade to 6x6 post and replace the joists.
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Old 06-23-2013, 05:26 AM   #7
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Keep us posted on how it turns out.
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Old 06-23-2013, 05:50 AM   #8
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Quick and dirty

That will be a piece of cake to enclose if enclosure is all you want. The roof joists appear to be split above the support column. If that is the case you're correct in your opinion that complete demo is required to lose the center support, unless you want to spend $200.00+ for a glue lam to do the job. The top plate can be attached to the existing structure, you may want to use a 2 X 6 for that. Use a level attached to a straight 2 X 4 to plumb down to determine the line where the bottom plate will live. You'll need to rent, borrow, or buy a hammer drill. Use 3/8 X 3 1/2 inch anchor bolts to secure the bottom 2 X 4 plate to the areas you want to fill in with walls. You will have to measure each stud individually after layout. Make the wall studs on 16 inch centers. Butt the wall up to the storage lockers. Use 1/2 inch OSB for sheathing and siding of your choice. I would suggest only one home built "barn" style door on the higher roof section. Since the drive slants toward the car port you may have to leave a gap at the bottom or hinge an additional member at the bottom.

There is a plethora of standard construction information online and in printed form at the library. Familiarize yourself with the terms and practices of wood frame construction. If you can build an engine you'll have no trouble with enclosing a carport. You can PM me for advice if you choose do do the task yourself. Good luck!
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:02 AM   #9
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if i were you, i think i'd just bump out the storage room making the two car carport a single carport. i dont know about codes and permits where you live but that solution will bypass it since you would keep a carport. plus you wouldnt have to spend money on a garage door, be nice to have dbl doors open into the carport, make a nice expanded work space and gathering spot for entertaining.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:04 AM   #10
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I have a 12X24 foot shop. I closed off 6 feet of it for a storage room, so i'm down to 12X18 for a shop. I store a dirt bike and a old CL100 in there and still have just enough room to work on a quad, I have a 2 foot work bench on the end wall, and on under the window that has the AC in it, I think I have around 5k in the thing, it I was you i would just go but the 2X4s and plywood and wall that sucker up. I don't know what codes you have to deal with but even if you only wall one stall up and leave a vent space at the top to keep it open you will have more room then in a shed. But even with this if you lost a drill press a week after you got it. sounds like someone in eye sight of your stuff has sticky fingers, i would invest in some security cameras regardless of what you do.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:06 AM   #11
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storage

I have to agree with closing in the one side, quick, easy,and affordable. Plus only a weekend job, get a couple buddies, buy pizza and beer, and knock it out.

Like the one said, rent a hammer drill to tie down the sill plate, 2x4's, 1/2 in. ext.osb (3/4 if you want it stronger). You can just tie a bolt to a string for a plumbbob to locate your sillplates, mark each end so you know where your plate needs to go and bolt them down. I doubt you need to use 16" o.c., it's not structural, look it up though, may be able to go 20-24 o.c.

Get a prehung door big enough to get your bike through, keep the door under the roof, for security, and put a good lock and at least a dummy camera on it, and you're done son. If you want you can insulate it, depends on you. Have fun.

Oh yeah, prime it, and paint it to match the house. If you rent get your landlords approval, I'd say yes, you are adding value.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:14 AM   #12
huzar OP
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Thanks for all the input everyone.

Seniorasi, I had a follow-up question. Part of the concern (In addition to removing the center supports to make the space more useable), was whether there would be enough wall on the outside of either opening to prevent twisting effects on the structure from the side. The contractor made it sound like would need to build at least a narrow wall to the left of the south (left) opening to prevent that, and do likewise to the right of the right opening. This would mean that I would need to build a whole new wall at least on the south side, and would not be able to use the existing posts. It seems like your suggestion to only put in a door into the bigger one of the two openings would ameliorate those concerns?

Also, I have no qualms with getting a glue lam if that will let me get rid of that center column. I probably even have enough friends to help me with putting in temporary supports and swapping out the existing beams.

Finally, I'm guessing I'd have to tear down the siding on the wall of the house and replace that with 5/8" gypsum board, or two plies of 3/8" board to get the hour fire rating?
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:48 AM   #13
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I agree with the "close in the carport" opinions, and think that "less is more" regarding how to do it.
I really don't see why some 2x4's and ply to close in the walls and front where your doors aren't couldn't be done fast and inexpensively.
Don't mess with the post structure, it's not worth the hassle and bucks, IMHO.
Barn doors would be good (because you can build those yourself, fast and inexpensively), but your slope in front of the carport down from the street might not allow them to swing out? (hard to tell how much room/slope you have by looking at a photo). If you need to do a roll-up, just do one.
I think it'd be a better choice than a shed, also (and make the house worth more when you sell it).
Good luck!
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:03 PM   #14
huzar OP
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Thanks, HapHazard...

Yeah, barn doors are not an option... the slope of the driveway extends almost all the way to the openings.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:59 PM   #15
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you could do rolling doors, have a track at the top and they roll side to side. That's a easy build as well.
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