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April 2016

How to Turn Your Garage into a Workshop

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We’ve all dreamed of having the perfect, at-home work space for our projects. With a little planning and organization, you can turn your garage into that space. Here’s how you can convert your garage into the perfect workshop.

Step #1: Clean Out the Clutter


It’s time to get rid of all the old tools you don’t use and boxes you don’t need. As you clean your garage, be ruthless. Don’t keep anything you haven’t used recently. You’ll want to have a relatively bare space in which you can build your workshop.

After you’ve removed most of the items in your garage, consider what you’re going to do with them. A garage sale is a great way to get rid of things you don’t need and put some extra money back into your hands.

If you have a family, you’ll need to share your garage. Take the time to create storage areas for your kids to stash their bikes, toys, and other playthings. Consider renting an off-site storage unit or building a shed to create additional space in the garage.

Step #2: Install Electric Outlets and Additional Lighting


Garages rarely ever have enough outlets or enough lighting. If you’re going to use your garage for a workshop, you’ll need both. You don’t want to work in the dark, and you don’t want all of your tools plugged into an intricate system of extension cords.

Install at least two circuits. Many smaller power tools only need a 15-amp circuit, whereas larger power tools, like a table saw, need a 20-amp circuit. Choose what you need according to the tools you’re going to use. When you install your outlets, remember to put them within reach of your work space. Then, focus on improving your lighting situation.

Bigger garages require 8-foot fluorescent lights. Smaller garages require only 4-foot fluorescent lights. Mount additional lighting on each wall of your garage and an extra light in the area where you’ll be working.

Step #3: Work on Ventilation and Insulation


While California has a temperate climate, it still gets chilly in the winter and hot in mid-summer. You won’t want to be out working in a heavy coat in December or sweating profusely while you work in July.

Most garages are not insulated. Air-seal the walls of your garage, and add foam boards to the walls and garage doors. This minor addition will help to keep you warm in winter, and it will also minimize power tool noise outside of the garage.

In winter months, you can run a natural gas or propane heater. In summer, you can get a portable air conditioning unit. These should keep you comfortable when temperatures get a little extreme.

Once you’ve insulated the garage, figure out how you’re going to ventilate it. You can strategically place a series of fans throughout the workshop, including one in the window. You can install an overhead fan system. In addition to your air ventilation system, you should definitely invest in a central vacuum and a dust collection system.

Step #4: Get Your Workbench and Tools Set Up


You may want to sketch out a quick floor plan for your work space, noting where your workbench and tools will go. Most home improvement stores sell workbenches, but you may prefer to build yours yourself.

Either way, figure out where you’re going to put your workbench and how you’re going to store your tools near it. The more you plan this in advance, the easier it’ll be to execute.

Step #5: Buy a New Garage Door, and Get It Installed


A new garage door will complete your garage-to-workshop conversion. Choose a sturdy model that will protect your materials, keep your workshop insulated, and stand up to wear and tear. Once you’ve found the right garage door, contact a Sacramento-based garage door installation and repair company to install it on your new workshop.