Empty garage!


Corporate Member
A very bare minimum for me would be two more 20A outlet GFCI circuits on the walls. (you probably have the bare minimum of one 15A outlet per wall now all on one circuit.) Three would be preferable. If planning on 220v, add those as well now before everything is finished. If there are no unused breaker slots on the panel, you may need to add a another small breaker box. If there is no lighting circuit other than the opener, you may want to wire in some 15A boxes in the ceiling for some 4' LEDS lights. If running surface wiring, the code inspectors may want it in metal conduit. (you should be able to run romex in the attic). I would check first if not hiring a licensed electrician.

For the drop down ladder, I would have it hinge toward the center (under the peak of the roof for stand-up clearance). Can't tell which way the ceiling joists run, but when planning it, have it drop down into a space that won't be obstructed by work benches or machines (like the area in front of the house access door). If you can do it where you can open it with the garage door up, that would be a plus, especially for access in the winter.

For planning purposes, be aware that the electrical code requires the breaker box area to be accessible from floor to 80" high, and 30" wide (the 30" doesn't have to be centered on the panel, but must allow opening the panel 90 degrees). I wouldn't plan on putting a work bench or fixed machine there.

Also for planning purposes, in the future you may want to park vehicles in there:eek:, so you may not want workbench or cabinet on that section of back wall by the house entry door. (Yeah, I know it sounds crazy to put a vehicle in a garage, but now that I built my shop, I do put our trucks in the garage for hail storms, ice storms, hurricanes, etc.)


Senior User
Since he wants to occasionally park a vehicle in there can you park a car on the Dricore flooring? I use the foam squares so I can kick them out of the way to park


New User
There's a "small shop" group on Facebook if you're into that. I've spent the last couple of years messing around in a 15x25 garage and it's awful small and awful. Here are some little gems that I came to believe in. Mobile bases with locking wheels are good. Leave the walls free--this allows lots of machines on mobile bases to be stored when not in use.

Really think hard about whether or not you need a chop saw bench. On the Facebook group everyone was building these huge cabinet chop saw stands but do you really need that? If yo are doing fine work most of the joinery will be done on the table saw. I just bought a Festool chopsaw and it doesn't even cut square. They're great for house work but not so great for cabinets and the like.

A real cool game changer was a nifty lumber rack for the wall. It was a vertical yellow pine 2x4 with 5 or 6 holes to fit 1/2" EMT. I made 8 or 10 and bolted each one through the sheet rock and into a stud using 1/4" lags. Because the EMT O.D. is 0.706", I modified a 3/4" spade bit in the drill press and shaved it down with a jointed block and a piece or two of sand paper, checking the diameter with a micrometer. I made the spade bit slightly smaller than .706 so the pipes went in tight like alum...



Corporate Member
The garage electrical and lighting is already installed as I understand it. :oops:
This is not the end of the world. Re-work the lighting and add more electrical now before you move anything in. You'll be thankful you did. (Garage electrical is about as DIY as any electrical could be - particularly since the breaker box if right there.)

With LED lighting options these days, you don't have to worry at all about having too many lights on the circuit - the draw is so low it'll never matter. Use whatever you have from the builder and build off from there to double (or triple) your lumens.

Pop Golden

Corporate Member
I'm 79 and need LOTS of light. I have 4 ft. lights all over the place, and also have dedicated work lights on many machines. A couple of ideas about lights: 1- my lights are on 2 different circuits divided between the right & left sides of the shop. That way if you have to work on lighting at least one side of the shop is lit. 2- I bought 2 bulb fixtures I then turned them into 4 bulb fixtures by attaching them together. Over my workbench is a 6 bulb fixture made up of 3 2 bulb fixtures. This is the cheap way to do it. My walls are painted bright yellow which seem to add to the overall brightness.

I bought the cheap floor mats from Pep Boys. These are the mats that hook together. They aren't the greatest solution for a soft floor, but they do work. These mats surround my workbench, and are in front of some machines.
Some of mt circuits are mounted in the wall, but most are in plastic conduit. Easy to work with. My ceiling is unfinished, so my wires are in conduit only from ceiling to floor. Most run through the exposed floor joist that make-up my ceiling.

For heating and cooling I lucked out. The ducts for the house upstairs are hung from my ceiling. The heat and cooling radiate out. No vents in the shop just the ducts themselves. In deep winter I have a gas space heater that I run low to help heating. Now, the luck part. I have a garage door on the front and an regular back door. My shop is setting were the back door is facing N. NE. and the garage door S. SW. in spring and fall there is always a good breeze coming through the shop. This not only makes the shop pleasant but to some takes care of ambient dust.



New User
I have almost the same set up. Over by the hotwater heater I have a door leading outside. A few things that bother me more than anything is a dust collector and a air compressor. Get those out of there if possible. I built a double wall lean to against the house, an 8x10 room with a lean to roof to put the air compressor and dust collector in. lawn tools also. See Dust collection was very important to my wife because she did not want me dragging unnecessary sawdust in the house?? I have full size machines but if I had to do it over again I would have gotten a compact planer like the dewalt or something and a smaller table saw and make a one unit cabinet that moves with the tablesaw built in it and maybe a router table combo. I now have everything on wheels so I can move it and work on a lawn mower and a vehicle. I have a stone driveway.

You have a water supply for a sink but the drain may have to be piped out? I would suggest putting a sub panel in for power just because if something blows then you don't have to run in the house to switch the breaker.

Sheet rock is fine but to hang something heavy to have to find a stud so I agree with the others on some sort of paneling. My garage was not Sheetrocked so I insulated mine and the ceiling in the attic. I ran all my sub-panels and wiring. (My 20inch planer is to big for me now but it and a couple other machines use 240.) I used the newer lights with smaller tube lights and I put those on 5 foot boards that were routed and painted so I could screw the boards to the 4 ft span of the ceiling joist and still look good.

I made a cardboard template of all the machines and laid them on the floor to see what it would look like and I could walk around. Believe me, others as myself have been in your shoes and want to just get machines in and start using them. I had this opportunity to do it so it would all make sense and I build certain furniture and projects so my suggestion would be look at what you have and where you want to be in so many years and plan. I hate having a cluttered shop and have to move this and that to build something. Too old so I have everything in its own place and I painted, did the floor and that garage matches my house interior so the resale will be a room instead of a garage. Oh, the wifes second fridge has to go somewhere and that chest freezer as well!! LOL and good luck

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