How to Create a Workshop in Your Garage
Do-it-yourself projects can be an engaging hobby, a way to save money or a little of both. A garage workshop can streamline the process and make it easier to work on more complicated projects. With the launch of repair software for mechanics, DIY projects has become more entertaining & interesting too. The exact setup you need will depend on the tools you have available and the kind of work you expect to be doing, but there are some universal guidelines that will ensure your workshop is ready for any task.
Create Your Space
Before you fill your garage with tools, make sure it’s up to the task.
Most garages have very little lighting, often just a single lightbulb for the whole room. This is not nearly enough for working on detailed projects. Ideally, you’ll want about 75 to 100 lumens per square foot, and perhaps even more over your workbench. For reference, a normal 60-watt bulb puts out around 600 lumens.
There are a wide variety of lighting options available, but fluorescent lights like those you’d find in an office building are often the best option. They’re relatively easy to install, and provide more light than incandescent bulbs for the same amount of electricity.
- The Workbench
A sturdy workbench is the most important part of a garage workshop. You need a place to work that’s clear of clutter and can stand up to all manner of abuse. Buying one will usually cost $100 to $500, or you can build one yourself using basic tools.
If your workbench includes drawers for extra storage, they can often be a great place to keep your basic hand tools. It’s important to keep your work surface clear of anything that might get in the way when you’re working on a project.
Installing shelves and cabinets will help you keep your tools and materials organized and out of the way. You can use a prebuilt modular storage system to place shelves and hooks wherever you need them, which will also allow you to rearrange things whenever necessary. You can also build and install your own shelving. It will be cheaper, but also, harder to change down the line.
Lidded plastic bins can be used to provide storage close to your workbench that’s protected from hazards like paint and sawdust. An array of small plastic containers or cups is also a great way to store screws, nails, and other small items. Remember to plan enough storage space for what you will need, not just what you have. For example, you might want an extra cup or two in or near your workbench to temporarily store screws when taking something apart.
While a standard concrete floor is plenty sturdy enough to handle most DIY projects, you may still want to upgrade it, especially if you plan on doing any automotive work. One way to do this is by purchasing a set of interlocking floor tiles. These are incredibly easy to install and can fit any space. The top surface is raised and designed to drain away water and oil, so you don’t have to worry about slipping on a puddle while working.
Another option is to coat the floor in epoxy. The process is almost as easy as painting a wall, and can be customized to fit your needs. You can add paint chips for color, or use an additive to create a sandpaper-like surface for extra grip.
Tools of the Trade
Your workshop will require a variety of tools, depending on what type of work you plan to be doing. The basics are easy: a hammer, pliers, a socket wrench set, a set of screwdrivers, etc. After that, you might want more specialized tools like chisels or metal files.
Of course, no workshop is complete without a few power tools. The most basic one is a power drill, but there are a variety of tools that can be very useful on DIY projects. A good angle grinder is extremely versatile, and can be used for sanding, cutting or cleaning. If you plan on doing a lot of woodworking, you might want a circular saw, a miter saw or maybe even a table saw. An air compressor can also be a good thing to have around, whether you use a large stationary model or a smaller portable one. Portable air compressors can be easily transported, but they’re also less powerful than the larger stationary ones.
If you plan on working extensively with metal, you’ll want a chop saw made for that purpose. For welding, an arc welder is usually the least expensive option, and the ease of swapping rods gives you a lot of flexibility. Just make sure you also have the proper protective gear such as speedglas adflo helmets.
Creating a proper workshop in your garage is a big task, and one that requires no small amount of time and money. If you have a penchant for DIY projects, however, it’s an investment that will pay dividends for years to come. It will not only make normal tasks easier, but also allow you to pursue bigger and more complicated projects without exceeding your capabilities.
Megan Wild loves transforming and improving spaces so that they are more useful. When she’s not flipping a room in her home, she can be found writing about her adventures in home improvement on her blog, Your Wild Home