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Making a Garage a Workshop
Your garage might be the least efficient use of space in your house. ¬You park your car and store odds and ends, sure — but what if you made it your own specific space for your projects? Get the most of your home’s square footage by turning your garage into a workshop with these tips.
Clean Out Your Garage
To begin your garage’s transformation to a workshop, say goodbye to the old rusted bikes and deflated basketballs jammed into its corners. Get rid of everything you don’t need, and set the important stuff aside for reorganization later. Cleaning your garage allows you to better plan the organization of your workshop, but also sets your space up to be efficient, clean and safe.
Plan Your Workshop’s Layout
With a clean and open space in front of you, map out your plans for your workshop. Plenty of sample layouts can be found online but keep in mind that you’ll still need room to store your vehicle(s), yard and gardening tools, outdoor equipment and more. Consider how much space you’re working with and the purpose of your workshop before stuffing your garage full of new equipment, too.
Must-Haves in Your Garage Workshop
Without these items, you’ll hardly be able to call it a workshop. Design your soon-to-be transformed space with these things in mind.
Workbench. After deciding how large you want your workbench to be, plan to position it in an area that won’t crowd your vehicle or other things in your garage. Account for the height and width of your workbench so you’ll be comfortable while you work, and make sure there’s plenty of space to safely move around your bench.
Power outlets. Easy access to electrical outlets is a necessity for your garage workshop. You should never run an extension cord from one end of the garage to the other while you operate heavy duty equipment, so ensure there are outlets in close proximity to your workbench.
Storage. A prototypical workshop has at least one pegboard on its walls where lightweight tools and small storage containers can hang. Pegboards, often found behind or alongside a workbench, give you easy access to your most used tools.
Designate space on your walls for more storage of your heavy duty tools, tools that can’t be hung, and bins that can hold smaller items such as nuts, bolts and screws. Heavy duty tool boxes and storage cabinets are well worth the money if it means keeping your expensive hardware tucked away safely and not on the floor.
Lighting. A poorly-lit workshop is a dangerous workshop. Hanging fixed LED, fluorescent or incandescent lights will do the trick, but make sure you have enough fixtures to light every corner of your garage. Clear vision is crucial while you handle powerful tools, so consider painting your garage walls white to boost brightness, too.
Ventilation. You’re going to kick up a lot of dust and other materials while you work, but you should be able to count on your vents to keep the air around you breathable. If your garage doesn’t already have an exhaust fan, don’t waste any time — install one immediately. Not only are they good for workshops, but they’re instrumental in keeping clean air flowing in garages that only store cars.
Other Garage Workshop Considerations
While not totally necessary for your workshop, consider the following options for making your space safer and more comfortable.
Temperature control. Depending on your climate, you might be subject to extreme temperatures in your workshop during the summer or winter. A stuffy workshop can be somewhat relieved by an open garage door, fans or even an air conditioner, but frigid temperatures aren’t as easily alleviated. A space heater can do the trick if you’ll only be working in one part of the workshop, but to heat the entire space, you’re better off getting a professional opinion and having a system installed by a licensed HVAC contractor. There’s no shortcut to effectively and safely heating your garage, unfortunately, so be prepared to open your wallet for a quality system.
Flooring. Cracked or weathered garage flooring can be a nuisance in a number of ways —it can trip you or absorb moisture and harm other parts of your home. Having your garage floor refinished or covered will give you much more comfortable and safe footing while you work.
Noise reduction. If your workbench is along a wall that your garage shares with your home, look into soundproofing solutions that will help reduce the noise your power tools will make. An extra wall, soundproof panels and insulation are all options depending on your budget and your family’s noise tolerance.
The more value you add to your garage and home, the more necessary it is to protect them. There are plenty of ways you can protect the things that matter to you, so start by getting in touch with your American Family Insurance agent.