Basement Shop

UncleJoe

Joe
Senior User
I am retiring in a couple of months and we just purchased a home to be closer to my daughter and the grand kids. It is only about 45 miles north of our current home but closer to the grand kids so my wife is happy.

I currently have a 600 sqft out building that has served as my shop for the past 20 years and it has been fine but like anyone I would like a little more room. Our new home has basement of about 2400 sq ft and a double door entry on the side so I do not have to bring materials through the house. The home was overbuilt in 2012 by an engineer that really knew what he was doing. The basement is fully insulated but unfinished and has 10 foot ceilings. Getting a large planner or jointer or table saw in might be an issue since the double door does not open to a driveway but a hill side. I think it can be done, but it will be tricky. Getting lumber or plywood in would not be that difficult.

I am asking for advice here regarding the cons of setting up in the basement. I am concerned about noise and any dust the DC misses. I appreciate the broad range of experience a group like this has, and I am all ears.

I do have room on the lot to build a shop, maybe 900 sq ft., so I have that option also. I have thought of making the basement a hand tool shop and leaving the machinery out in the detached shop I would have to build. I do not take possession until mid January so I have time to plan.

Thanks
I appreciate any thoughts on the matter.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
Your idea of a hand tool shop in the basement is my goal. I presently have a 1800 sq. ft. do-it-all shop and would like to dedicate a room of my basement to hand tool and possibly lathe and a drill press - no routers, power saws, or anything dust related. Utilizing the basement for all your WWing would IMO require a comprehensive and aggressive DC system. I think this would be your biggest obstacle.
 

UncleJoe

Joe
Senior User
Yes I agree the DC is probably the most troubling thing. Noise and dust. Good thing I have some time to think this over. Thanks for your input
 

Yelverton

Mitch
Corporate Member
My shop is in my basement (just out of necessity), and I don't have significant issues with dust. The noise can be an issue when using my planer or router, but it's manageable. I use an ambient air cleaner all the time when working and my dust collector or shop vac for dust-producing tools. When the weather is good enough I'll keep the back door open and use a box fan to get the air moving. It's not optimal, but it's a great space.

I would move to an outbuilding if that were an option, but I do appreciate the convenience of just walking down a flight of stairs and getting to work.
 

Hmerkle

Administrator
Hank
Joe,
I hope Richard @Graywolf pipes up for you -
I would suggest you "run over" and see his shop, but it is a little far for you!
I think the first 13 pictures are of Richard's "Upstairs in my house" hand tool shop - absolutely AWESOME!
 

Mark Johnson

Mark
Corporate Member
I am retiring in a couple of months and we just purchased a home to be closer to my daughter and the grand kids. It is only about 45 miles north of our current home but closer to the grand kids so my wife is happy.

I currently have a 600 sqft out building that has served as my shop for the past 20 years and it has been fine but like anyone I would like a little more room. Our new home has basement of about 2400 sq ft and a double door entry on the side so I do not have to bring materials through the house. The home was overbuilt in 2012 by an engineer that really knew what he was doing. The basement is fully insulated but unfinished and has 10 foot ceilings. Getting a large planner or jointer or table saw in might be an issue since the double door does not open to a driveway but a hill side. I think it can be done, but it will be tricky. Getting lumber or plywood in would not be that difficult.

I am asking for advice here regarding the cons of setting up in the basement. I am concerned about noise and any dust the DC misses. I appreciate the broad range of experience a group like this has, and I am all ears.

I do have room on the lot to build a shop, maybe 900 sq ft., so I have that option also. I have thought of making the basement a hand tool shop and leaving the machinery out in the detached shop I would have to build. I do not take possession until mid January so I have time to plan.

Thanks
I appreciate any thoughts on the matter.
I have a basement shop of about 1200 sq ft, and love it. I too have lots of insulation, but only one layer of drywall on the ceiling. The drywall was hung on metal track to reduce noise and vibration transmission. While my work can be heard upstairs, it is not a big issue. Dust is not an issue upstairs either. I have my DC in the basement itself and not vented outside because I did not want a noise issue with the neighbors. There is no transmission upstairs, but I have an exterior style sealed door at the base of the stairs to the basement and a hollow core at the top of the stairs. Humidity has not been a problem, but I run a dehumidifier all the time (in auto mode). I do not have heat or air in the basement and do not need air at all, but some heat would have been nice to help with finishing. Temps never get below 50 and here in the Upstate of SC usually remain in the 60 degree range in winter with highs of 74 in the summer. If you have the option, vent the DC outside, and put the collector itself in a small contained room in the basement. Most of the noise will go away!
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
I'm in my 2nd basement shop, this one I've had for about 10 years. The basement has finished space (bar, TV room) in addition to the shop. Like yours, mine has 10 foot ceilings.There are many advantages to a basement shop. Everything is insulated, I have heat and A/C, and it's easy to get to; no walking across the yard to a detached shop. I occasionally work from home, and it's nice when you can quickly check in on a project.

I have double doors and reasonable access from the outside, but getting in large equipment is definitely a bit of a challenge. This illustrates the importance of making friends here on NCWW, so you can exploit them call upon them for help when you get that new piece of cast iron. Carrying sheets of plywood and lumber from the driveway to the back of the house can be a challenge, especially in the summer. On the other hand, some people do that for fun at the gym, so it can't be all that bad.

Dust collection is obviously important since you don't want to track sawdust into the house. I have a large 3HP cyclone DC that does a great job keeping the mess under control. A shop vac does the rest. I put the DC and the compressor in a separate closet which helps with the noise. I even did a double layer of drywall with green glue in between the boards, but I am not sure how effective/ necessary that really was. I typically don't run the tools late at night (fatigue), so noise isn't a huge issue.

I have a separate small finishing/ lumber storage room, also in the basement. This room has a window and door to the outside (ventilation), as well as a utility sink. Both are very important. Despite the ventilation, you can smell some finishes (lacquer, oil) in the living space. It's not terrible, but noticeable enough that I don't do it when we have company. It's also a great motivation to use water based finishes.

Overall I am very happy with a basement shop. Best would be a dedicated, heated/ cooled attached shop with easy access from the driveway, refrigerator, sound installation, media room, dedicated spaces for CNC and laser equipment, and sanding elves. But this is close enough.
 

Jeremy Scuteri

Jeremy
Staff member
Corporate Member
I have a basement shop as well and I love it. I don't believe dust is much of an issue at all. I think the fact that my basement does not share the same HVAC as the rest of the house is a big factor. I really like the easy access.
 

Graywolf

Board of Directors, Vice President
Richard
Corporate Member
Why thank you Hank. I think you have a great deal of room to do a hybrid shop with the ability to put in a DC system that both can supply you the dust control and the noise reduction you seek. Noise transfer between the basement and the house is an easy fix of insulation between the to floors. You see when ever I work on someone's home I always play the game of what would I do if I had this to work with. It's fun and I learn a lot about myself when I do this. Sometimes it's a little disturbing, other times it's an exercise in creativity.
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
This is my second basement workshop. Noise is not really a problem as I don't work after dinner time. Being retired, I work in the shop during the day. One tip from past experience - put the dust collector just inside the big door. I made the mistake in the first shop of putting it in a back corner and then made a mess trying to empty or clean it through the whole shop. Make it easy to move the shavings and dust out the door.

After insulating top and sides of the basement (and some minor insulation on the flooring) the temperature stays in a comfortable range for working both in the summer and winter without using the upstairs HVAC. I may eventually put in a mini-split system to heat and cool the area, but I really haven't needed it so far.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
Agree with everyone else Dust collection is the issue.

Also might need 4 1000-1200 cfm fans to provide air exchange 2 intake supply to exhaust, besides the current a/c system most people do not do that but it would keep the air well circulated.

The other thing with basements comes stairs, as we all know they are less friendly with age, food for thought.
 

Jeremy Scuteri

Jeremy
Staff member
Corporate Member
The other thing with basements comes stairs, as we all know they are less friendly with age, food for thought.
Ugh. That is true. I realized that once I had my knee surgery.

As far as the dust collection goes, I would think the money saved by not erecting an outbuilding could easily pay for a good dust collector.
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
Yes, stairs are a hassle. But given the lay of the land here, with an outside shop, I'd have to walk up or down hill to somewhere on the property.

Stairs are a hassle, but a minor one for the convenience of having the shop close by.
 

John Harris

New User
John
My new shop is in my 900 Sq ft basement. I'm at 3600ft elevation, 30 minutes west of Boone on the TN border. Don't need AC but I've got radiant heat in the slab. Just started using the heat a month ago and Love it! With a shop in my basement I knew I wanted to have good dust collection, so in addition to my 2 stage dust collector I installed dual Jet AFS 1000B Air Filters.
 

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