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Thread: Planning a new build

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Loudonville, NY
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    Planning a new build

    Planning a workshop build this year. Moved last year, had a 12'x16' shop with a low ceiling packed with tools, now looking to build that shop that will last the next 20+ years. Having managed with a small space for years, I have learned many things. Like most people, there are size and cost constraints, but I am lucky enough to be able to construct something from the ground up. Better half said, "If you want a bigger shop, we are getting a bigger house!" Okay, the house part is done.... Some background and facts to consider:

    - I am primarily a turner, but still enjoy the occasional flat board project. The latter point requires a much larger shop and the necessity to separate flying chips from other tools. Plan to essentially make a 7.5'x15.5' room for turning (two lathes).
    - Not going to pour a slab. I want to mitigate costs, be able to build most of it myself, and rarely does anyone have good things about a concrete floor in a workshop. Will have hardwood floor - shopping for 'utility grade' deals.
    - Plan is to construct a 16'x28' (outside dim) structure on piers, with essentially a very strong deck for the floor (think - will hold a buick). There is an existing 10'x14' slab (old shed) that will be incorporated into a corner of the shop. The floor joists (thinking 2"x10"s) will rest on that slab, and that is where the big lathe will sit. Will insulate the apron and between the floor joists with rigid foam, and spray foam for all gaps. Walls will be 2"x6", and buying trusses for roof. It will be well insulated. This is important!
    - At least 9' ceilings. Will go with LED lighting. Haven't decided on tubes or recessed fixtures. Probably need localized task lighting anyway.
    - Will run as much power as I can out there (at least a 60A 240 service), have a double door and a single door, and probably two windows.
    - Trying to architecturally match the house somewhat. English Tudor style. Will use hardi-panel stucco board on two sides, and vinyl on the other two sides not visible. No wood on outside - I know, kind of silly for a woodworking shop. Will use composite boards everywhere possible, including the 'Tudor' look. Note, I'm in the suburbs on a half acre. Would rather spend time in shop than dealing with maintenance.

    That is the high level overview, now for some brainstorming and hopefully some conversation.

    I want good dust collection, but I'm not looking for a nanoscience clean room. Currently have one home built air cleaner, and plan to build a second to produce a circular air flow. I have have the good 'ole Delta 50-760 DC that I just bought a SDD for, and will probably upgrade to a pleated filter. Also use a Trend occasionally. Current thinking is to dedicate this DC to the turning area. Will be in sound insulted closet. Now for the rest of the shop.... Throwing around ideas. Been learning about DCs for years, and was originally focused on Clearview, but think I have settled on Onieda (plus, I'm only about two hours from them). One man shop 90% of time. If two people are in shop, one is turning, but also hope to have many memorable times with my kids as they grow up. I'm going to discuss with Onieda, but debating if I could get away with the Dust Cobra (industrial). It can supposedly handle 4" ports, and my worst offender is the 13" Dewalt planer (with incorporated blower). A shop vac is one of my most tools anyway. Alternative is probably the V2000 with piping. Its currently an undecided split. Going bigger just kind of defines logic to me because of running a 3HP motor that long (and it runs for long periods of time) when the largest tool I own is only 2HP. If I do end up investing in larger tools some day in the far distance future (15" planer?) I can deal with it then. With that said, while I am constructing the shop, I want to run a duct underneath to the middle where the table saw is going. Since I am at ground level, I really need to run 6" plastic. However, if I do run ducting above the floor (now or later) would consider metal. I have experience with metal in the past. Anyone ever transition from PVC to metal? If so how?

    Sorry for the long post. But we all love this stiff, right? One more thing to brainstorm....

    The long side of the shop has an unobstructed southern exposure and I am looking into a solar hot water, drain back, radiant heating system. I have searched SMC, and really didn't find much that others have constructed. There are several other sites on the web. A good reference is "builditsolar". Anyone familiar with one of these systems or have something similar in their house or shop? It would require Pex Al Pex in the floor, an insulated storage tank, two small pumps, some thermostatic controls, and the heat collector on the outside vertical wall. Its cheap long term heat, and doing my part so more trees can grow for us, right? I plan to have supplemental heat and A/C for summer (mostly for humidity). Will be looking into efficient split systems.

    Its been a long cold winter without a shop!

    Alright, thank you for reading my long post, and am looking forward to some brainstorming chatter.......

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Bloomington, IL
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    6,014
    How are you thinking of incorporanting the radiant floor in the floor you mentioned above.

    Also why pex al pex? Most radiant setups I have read about do not use pex al pex.

    I put oxygen barrier pex B in my new 5" concrete floor for the new shed. 40X64X16 is the new shed size. I have 9 loops in one zone. Looking at boiler solutions now. Not heating this winter but the pex and manifold is in place. I did hd xps under the slad and on the perimeter with moisture barrier under that. pex is on mesh chairs in mesh and <12" spaced loops and 6" at edges of building.

    Check garagejournal dot com forums for a wealth of info on garage builds and heat and insulation etc.
    Glad its my shop I am responsible for - I only have to make me happy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Loudonville, NY
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    With everything I have read, the pex al pex expand and contracts less, and carries heat further. I think the oxygen barrier is used more in concrete and when a boiler is used for the hot water. I could always be wrong, that's why I'm here learning. That's a large space, by the way...

    My current plan for insulation is to dig down two feet or so and put xps around the perimeter. I will put 2" foil faced between the joists, leaving an air gap between insulation and sub-floor. The pex will be looped at 12" between 3/4" plywood, with a hardwood floor over the top. I know its a bit thick for a floor, but I want as much strength as I can get, and this will enable me to work on the pex after the shell is constructed.

    I will check out the site. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Chris -

    I'm a retired engineer who got to build my shop a year after I retired - boss said she was tired of the sawdust, noise and smell from the cellar the first winter I worked full time down there. I spent a lot of time going through what you are currently doing. No offense, but I think you need to do some more research before starting build - which is why you are asking the questions.

    Garage Journal has some good info, but be careful. As is common on most forums, some who post don't have any idea of what they are doing and the information can be just plain wrong. Another forum that I found more helpful is http://forum.heatinghelp.com/ - I see its format has changed quite a bit, but I have not been on it in several years. I went with radiant heat, oxygen barrier pex tubing and a natural gas fired modulating condensing boiler. Your selection basically uses the Al as the oxygen barrier - at least as I remember. Have been extremely pleased with the results. That said, you could probably effectively use a hot water heater for what you are planning, at least as a backup if the solar design will not make it at points. I'm about three hours southwest of you and here we just have too much overcast and it makes solar an iffy proposition - especially with a winter like we have had this year. Mine is a combination of concrete slab and a framed floor much like you are planning. You really need to figure out the thermal breaks in your structure - I'm leery of utilizing an already existing slab as you describe - one that I am assuming has no insulation. Also I am puzzled as to how you will do the staple up of the pex / insulation if you put the joists directly on the slab. I don't know how much work you have done in crawl spaces - for better or worse I've been doing that since I was a kid - not a lot of fun even in the best of them. And I have to think your code enforcement where you are is 100 times worse than here in the no zoning ridge runner sticks part of the state. Might want to run that trapline prior to going too far - as I currently understand NY building code if what you are doing gets classed as a crawl space you will have to have a full concrete floor in it. But I might be wrong on that and misunderstood what my friend who is a contractor was telling me a while ago.

    Another book you might want to check out is Builders Guide to Cold Climates, which is published by Taunton. Or I should say was - again, my planning and gathering was done about 10 years ago. So I am sure newer solutions are out there. But the basics are still the same. You are on the right track with good insulation, proper sealing to eliminate air infiltration, seam sealing, etc. But also remember you have to have enough air circulation to have a healthy environment - it is a balance.

    I picked up a copy of Modern Hydronic Heating for Residential and Light Commercial Buildings - actually written by a prof at Mohawk Valley CC in Utica. Textbook there and other places, I would guess. I used that in designing the system, modified with some of what I learned on the web and other places, and then worked with my local supplier on sizing things from the real world perspective. It also brought out the sanity of things - sometimes with my background I'd get wrapped up into what was more efficient when the differences were in the third decimal place and really had no impact. Simple is better in most any construction if performance differences are negligible. And the heat you are planning is not rocket science. It is, however, basic heat transfer and thermodynamics. Plus some common sense on how the fluid reacts when moving - experience of good heating guys is invaluable.

    You will love the radiant heat - highly efficient and with the thermostat at 60 - 62 it is very comfortable.

    Have fun planning your shop. I'm years into it, using it daily and hopefully will have it done the way I want (everything build, all the old machines refurbished, etc. etc.) by the time I'm 90!

    Dale

  5. #5
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    I guess I should mention a bit about myself and my background. I grew up working in residential construction, went to school to be a structural engineer, and work in the pipeline related industry. So, I describe myself as an engineer who knows how to put a nail in the wall (unlike those who sit in a cube and speak numbers all day)! I'm more focused on practical use of things rather than fit and finish and efficiency to the nth degree. Maybe its over simplification, but its piping, careful construction, insulation, circulator pumps, and basic controls. I do luckily have a friend who worked a career in HVAC and controls. He has been very helpful.

    Attached are two conceptual sketches of what I am considering. Things have already evolved from the time I drew these, so they are just brainstorming sketches for a visual. Note the 2"x10"s are on piers where they are not resting on the existing slab. All spans are less than 8'. Not really a crawl space; its pretty much a ground level structure. All installation will be from the top. The bottom cross section is what I am leaning toward, but with 2" foil faced rather than 1". Like I said earlier, its more expensive to do it this way, but it allows me the time to install the pex after the shell is up, and also adds more thickness to the floor. It rains a lot here, so shelter is important.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Chris Stolicky; 03-08-2015 at 11:23 AM. Reason: Decreased attachment size.

  6. #6
    Are you in a city, or area where you must build to a certain code? You might want to visit with your office of permits, and the code enforcement person, to see what you are allowed to build size wise, and method of building. Some cities have rules all their own, and you might as well find the proper way to build for your area. Personally, I like stem walls for a building, whether it is going to have a slab or a wood floor.

  7. #7
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    Jim, I live in a large suburban town. I started the planning with a trip down to the town permit office. We are on the same page. It was kind of eyeopening to me. They consider anything larger than a "shed" (which is loosely defined) as an "accessory structure". An accessory structure goes up to 600 sq ft, is lower than 16' tall, and does not need frost protection. The last point blew my mind for something that large. I plan on going down past frost - 4' here, although, this winter could change that depth!

    I like the pier idea because I didn't want to dig down four feet all the way around, and its less concrete/blocks to deal with. I understand the solid feel and will look into it. I wonder if that large of a footing would change the town's view of the structure? thanks

  8. #8
    It would certainly be a better building sitting on a 4' stem wall. BTW, have you considered increasing size? Personally, have never seen a shop "too big". I'd go for the entire 600 sf. That is only 20 x 30.

  9. #9
    Chris -

    I see where you are going, I think. And I'm sure you will get an acceptable job done. I'll make a couple of comments for what they are worth, which might not be much.

    I live in a more rural area than you and I would worry about your method leaving a great 'critter home in the making'. I'd make sure to seal the whole underside so nobody takes up residence under the shop. From your sketch you are basically making a 'warmboard equivalent'. That should work, but with the tubing captured up in the floor I'm scratching my head on the need for reflective surface under the sub floor vis a vis just insulation - I don't know the answer but would do some more research. My heat transfer classes were in 1969 so its a little fuzzy now as I never did engineering work in that area.

    I'll echo what Jim said - if you can, build the biggest you possible can. Trade-offs are a fact of life I especially remember from my younger days, with a young family in the picture. But you will never have too much space.

    My background is a lot like yours - grew up doing residential / light commercial construction and built my own house. Understand your approach, but it is adding quite a bit of complexity to things, I think. If you can work from underneath the staple up / foil face insulation / sealing process can go quicker, I think. But there are lots of ways to skin the cat.

    Good luck - you'll have a great place when complete.

    Dale

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Midland MI
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    My shop is about 16 by 26, I would definitely go bigger, to something like the 20x30 mentioned. That gives you alot more options on how to layout tools, if you have anything that needs to be able to cut a 10 ft board, planer, tablesaw etc, all need to go the same direction. My woodshop has a door in the back, I have my planer by it, and open the door if I need to plane long boards, works good.

  11. #11
    I'll comment on one other aspect of a freestanding shop, which is resale return on investment. If you build it to be also useable as a garage it may gain additional resale value, as it then has a much wider potential list of users.

    My last 2 shops all had an insulated overhead garage door and 10' celings, great for loading and unloading.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Murphy View Post
    I'll comment on one other aspect of a freestanding shop, which is resale return on investment. If you build it to be also useable as a garage it may gain additional resale value, as it then has a much wider potential list of users.

    My last 2 shops all had an insulated overhead garage door and 10' celings, great for loading and unloading.
    This is an excellent point. Even if you don't want to have the garage door, you could put the framing in place for future owners.

    I know you want to save money on concrete, but I suspect when you compare the cost difference vs the resale difference, you come out ahead with a slab.

    Plus, speaking from a position of total ignorance, I bet concrete will do better with radiant heat due to its thermal mass.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Iowa USA
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    I was told when we had our house re-apprised for our sub 3% refinance that my 24x24 Insulated, heated and air conditioned shop really added value to the property.

    In floor radiant HW heat is great, but its slow to heat up and so if you use your shop like I do maybe 3 or 4 times a week its hard to set the heat back to 45 or so to save cost. It just depends on how you use it, but insulated floors would still give you warm feet. A high efficiency forced air furnace and AC unit could really be cheaper in the long run for a shop, coupled with a good 4 inch filter system.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

  14. #14
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    Jan 2008
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    I knew someone would eventually throw out the 'build it bigger' comment. I agree that we all run out of space if we collect enough stuff, but this is about as big as I'm going to be able to pull off - the boss, neighbors, cost, etc. I also don't mind working outside the shop on the three nice days a year we get around these parts. I do however, have a full height, dry, basement with over 1,000 sf ft of useable space! If I can control fumes and flammability concerns, there is likely a finishing area for me down the road. The driver behind a detached shop is to keep the noise and dust out of the house. The basement could also become a neanderthal cave someday, hum?

    I have contemplated framing in a header for a potential garage door. As far as making it a "garage" I would get whacked on the tax assessment if the town thinks its a garage.

    In order to do concrete, it would also probably offset the gains due to the expense - and hired labor isn't exactly cheap in NY. I cannot get a truck back there, so pumping up and over is the best option, and there goes the budget!

    Thanks for the input so far.

  15. #15
    Sounds like what you really need to build is a pole barn. The down side is using wood poles in the ground. Seems the government thinks treatment of poles is negative, so it is hard to get poles that will last buried in the ground. An alternative is to use some anchors embedded in a concrete pier that you can bolt your posts to. Talked to the local Morton Buildings guy the other day, they are using concrete posts, and sackcrete of course around the post to set it. The wood post fits on top of the concrete post. Good alternative to pumping concrete.

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