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Thread: Which way to face your garage or shop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Which way to face your garage or shop

    When designing my house I had the good fortune to face the garage door to the east. The man door to the outside is to the south and the door to the house is in the southeast corner. The garage is a generous 3 cars wide but with only a 2 car door. The extra space is on the south side. The benefits of this layout apply to use as a garage or as a shop.

    1. When you get out of the car you are on the same side as the door to the house, you don't have to walk around the car. (architects are clueless on this point)

    2. With the big door on the lee side the weather does not blow in. This keeps leaves, snow etc to a minimum. Also it is a fine spot to sit and watch the rain (a favorite of mine)

    3. The outside man door can be opened to let a breeze blow thru. This is excellent for drying a stack of wood.

    4. Morning sunshine is nice but the day and evening are protected from sun and weather.

    It is a rare opportunity to get this right but be prepared with the concept just in case.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Regardless of the direction it faces, I'll always personally prefer a garage door that isn't visible directly from the street/road. But the other considerations are certainly helpful. As it turns out, however, my shop building (originally a garage building for the previous owner) actually does face east and that's worked out nicely relative to both light and ventilation during the more temperate months.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    Where I live it is best if it faces north or south. This makes it strongest in a north/south seismic motion which is what we will get on most of the west coast. the garage door makes the entire garage a soft structure even with "strong walls" on both sides or in the mid section.
    Bill D

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    SoCal
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    What is a car doing in your shop!?!

    I'm with Jim. I never knew how much I enjoyed my detached garage shop with the door hidden until I moved into suburbia and had a shop with the door facing the street.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  5. #5
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    Jan 2008
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    1.5 hrs north of San Francisco, CA
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    Must be nice. My garage & shop doors face into the prevailing wind. If my garage door is open, it will be wet half way through the garage. It would be nice to be able to open the door and enjoy the rain.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Hayes, Virginia
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    On the East Coast doors are preferred on the west side of the building. Wind direction from major storms is always east to west. All three of my garage doors are on the west side of my shop. During the last hurricane my Dad and I were standing in the shop with one of the garage doors open with a generator running on the apron.

  7. #7
    I'm in snow and ice country, and I'd say any direction except north, like my garage faces. The sun never hits the pavement directly in front of the garage from about November to March, so keeping ice off the driveway there becomes a real challenge.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs
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    249

    Cool

    Continuing the trend of inconsistency, along the Front Range the worst weather usually comes from the north or west, as snowstorms or summer thunderstorms.

    My carriage doors face east onto a side street, b/c that’s the only access for wood and large items. I like it that way as I leave it open most days and friends drop in to visit. (And to help move things or turn over boats ).

    My main lockable exterior door is on the west side next to a stairs landing. Not the best option but all the site lent me. It is good for through ventilation.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Wayland, MA
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    "Facing" refers to which side an entrance door is on? In which case I'd have my shop face at least two directions. I'm a little paranoid about having two ways out of any building. I worried much more about optimizing my view of the meadow from the places I was most likely to be working for long periods of time in the shop, eg at the bench and at the lathe. In my case since I was retrofitting an old barn that entailed thinking about where I would cut the windows in.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Actually relevant to this...I'd prefer not to have "garage type" doors on my shop at all, regardless of the direction they are facing...and I don't. But that's a whole 'nuther conversation and not necessarily practical for many folks.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    If you have doors on opposite sides (or ends), and sometimes the wind blows strongly towards either door, it makes cleaning a breeze. The breeze can be helped with a 4' wand on the air hose, and a leaf blower. Any shop I have has doors on both ends, for that particular reason. If a door won't keep the weather out, it's not much of a door anyway. When we have a dry wind blowing that's too strong to go sailing in, it's shop cleaning day.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Agree with Tom. Current shop main door and garage door face due east. Back door is at true west , back. Most weather is from west northwest, so it mainly blows out the garage doors. But I get a swirling due to house being north of the shop and front of house is 20 feet east of shop. Always a pile of leaves and junk in front of shop after storm due to swirl
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  13. #13
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    Jan 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Outten View Post
    On the East Coast doors are preferred on the west side of the building. Wind direction from major storms is always east to west. All three of my garage doors are on the west side of my shop. During the last hurricane my Dad and I were standing in the shop with one of the garage doors open with a generator running on the apron.
    An excellent point, Keith, although, not always for us.

    For Hurricane Dorian, our winds were from the North and Northeast, which was weird to say the least. On the Gulf Coast, with hurricanes it's always dependent on whether the storm crosses the state North or South of you. The winds can truly come from any direction. Typical weather is from the West (Gulf breeze) or from the East (afternoon thunderstorms). So a coin flip for us -- you might as well go for the ventilation.

    That being said, since it's 150 degrees here, with 1000% humidity, my shop doors always stay closed, or everything will rust.
    If you drive at the speed of light, do your headlights work? - Steven Wright

    If a man points at the moon, an idiot will look at the finger.

  14. #14
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    Sep 2016
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    I bet that 150 was a typo? Hottest it has ever been here is 120 degrees. maybe you mean in the attic?
    I do not work in the shop at those temperatures since it has no AC. Above 100 I only stay in the shop till lunch.
    Bill D
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 09-08-2019 at 6:01 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    I bet that 150 was a typo? Hottest it has ever been here is 120 degrees. maybe you mean in the attic?
    I do not work in the shop at those temperatures since it has no AC. Above 100 I only stay in the shop till lunch.
    Bill D
    No, just an exageration. Although the Heat Index (whatever that artificial number means ) was around 110 last week.
    If you drive at the speed of light, do your headlights work? - Steven Wright

    If a man points at the moon, an idiot will look at the finger.

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