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Bulding a Barn / Shop

Mikey NY

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Last Subscription Date
02/28/2016
I recently moved from NY to Tn. I am building a pole barn to work out of, store stuff and tinker around in. I do carpentry for a living. I have some hit and miss engines, generator's, and small engine stuff. How would you build your barn?. I have already started. 24 by 30, with a 10 ft ceiling height. I will be pouring a concrete slab in the next couple weeks, the barn framing is already built. I will need heat and air conditioning, if I am going to enjoy tinkering in there in the hot or cold weather. Tennessee is a warmer climate, should I put pex tubing in the floor for heat? could I then run cold water, via an old drilled well ( not in use anymore) for cooling in the summer.? This will be a several year project, completing it as money allows. :crazy: obviously I will have to insulate it before trying to heat or cool it. I will put in my dust collection system and lots of electrical outlets, and maybe even a small section to set up the little mig welder safely. Any arc welding I will probably do outside. Any thought on what guys you have done or would do would be cool.
 

WesleyGrissom

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Last Subscription Date
08/17/2019
Re: bulding a barn / shop

In floor heat is really nice. Won't work as air conditioning though. Would just make your floor sweat like crazy and be slick as snot.
 

Jake Jacobs

Registered
Re: bulding a barn / shop

Heat in the floor is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cooling the floor with cold water will make the floor sweat if the humidity is high.Would have to use a large dehumidifier. Need good lighting( LED). Perforated tin on the ceiling will greatly reduce the noise level. Piped compressed air around the walls is nice to. 3 phase electricity is you have it. Jib pole swing crane with a yard or move concrete around the upright pole. Maybe a tiedown or two in the floor. Have I spent enough of your money? Some of the things I mentioned can be done for cheep. Jib crane and piped air. The swing jib crane is very handy to have. Can pick up engines and swing out of the way. Second floor along the side or back wall is also very usefull.

---------- Post added at 08:03:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:01:45 PM ----------

Also need a floor drain.
 

LCJudge

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Age
60
Last Subscription Date
12/14/2019
Re: bulding a barn / shop

Put a restroom in it. I'm having to do that now in my shop after the fact and its a pain.
 

gdstew

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Re: bulding a barn / shop

single post air lift, set flush in floor. But you have to know where it goes, not the easiest thing to move!
 

Mikey NY

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Last Subscription Date
02/28/2016
thanks for the ideas. I think I will need air conditioning more than heat but I will probably put the tubing in the floor anyway. I will be setting in some waste lines for a toilet and slop sink also. I was thinking about putting some coloring on the floor while I finish it with the power trowel to give it a nice swirl. If I do a lift I may put one outside under an extension of the barn some day in the future. I see you can buy a lift for about 2500 bucks now. I will have a 10 wide overhead door on the front and on the back and a man door and a few windows. Ceiling fans is a great idea. I also have a 24 inch exhaust fan with a shutter to go in the wall somewhere. For an air line I have used iron pipe in the past, but have seen copper and even plastic in some places.
 

LCJudge

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Age
60
Last Subscription Date
12/14/2019
For air lines PVC will work fine as long as its the schedule 80 (gray colored pipe).
 

I like oldstuff

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Last Subscription Date
11/09/2015
Plan your electrics well. 220 main box with 120 and 220 outlets everywhere.
As to air, yes pvc is cheapest. With the humidity there, be sure to make a long vertical up then down pipe run to serve as a water trap. Put a drain valve at the lowest point.
 

DustyBar

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Last Subscription Date
01/03/2019
I installed PEX air lines in my shop about 6 months ago. I'm quite pleased so far. It was rated at 150 psi at 120 degrees F. In summer it may be quite close to that rating. I ran 3/4" copper in the attic the full length of the shop, then teed off with 1/2" PEX for each drop installed inside the wall, behind the drywall. I used tees with ears screwed to the studs at the end of the PEX for my threaded air fittings.
 

Pete Spaco

Registered
I would not do the tubing in the floor.
As others have said, it's okay for heating, but not for cooling.
Since you are going to air condition anyway, why have 2 different systems?

Instead, i would pour your concrete on top of 2 inches of heavy duty foam and insulate all the outer edges with 2 feet of foam on edge in the ground. Then heat and cool anyway you want. The mass of the floor acts to store either heat or lack of it. This works out well for me.

Concrete:
I hear people say: "there's only two kinds of concrete, that that's cracked and that that's gonna". Yeh, maybe, but-----
I ain't no expert, but in general, if you simply call the redimix company and ask for so much concrete, you will probably get get "3000 psi" material. That's the kind that cracks so often.
I ask for and demand 4500 to 6000 psi. After all, it's going to be there for a long time.
another way to describe it is"6 bag mix" or "6 bags of portland cement per yard" I think.
Experts- correct my if I am wrong.
And, I have it poured 6 inches thick, with rebar, of course. And surface treated while it's still wet.

Coloring the concrete: I would not do that. The lighter the color, the easier it is to find things that fall on the floor.

I Second the comment about not welding and cutting on the concrete. Don't ask me how I know.


I do talk about my own shop-building approach in detail here:
https://spaco.org/myshop.htm

Pete Stanaitis
---------------
 

Marv in Minn

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Last Subscription Date
02/28/2019
we had PVC air lines in a shop i worked in.
5 years down the road the glued connections started to blow apart. :mad:
we made sure the air compressor was shut off
and the ball valve closed every night before going home.
 

s100

Registered
Everyone seems to be making grand plans for your building but no one seems to be picking up on a key point: The building is TINY. 24x30 isn't much more than a two car garage. If you can pack a wood shop into that space, making allowances for wood storage, a finishing area and a utility room (heater, air compressor, etc) plus of course the work benches and machines, you will be lucky to have much room left over to maneuver your projects around. Unless of course you are making doll houses and weigh 90 pounds, in which case you will probably be OK.

Since you have already started building this small building, and since it sounds like you have financial constraints (who doesn't) you have to devote your intellectual energy to figuring out how to make an undersize building work for you rather than seeing how many disparate activities/items you can cram in there. Since it sounds like you may be using the wood shop for mundane things like making a living, that should be your first priority. Make yourself a rule and say that you will do nothing but woodwork in that building. Wood shops do not play well with others so this is a good idea in any event. Forget about welding. Forget about a hoist. Forget about a jib crane. Forget about trying to store greasy old engines (or meticulously refinished ones, for that matter) in there as everything will be covered with wood dust sooner rather than later.

Develop instead dedicated areas for other purposes. Get yourself one or two 40' steel containers dropped off at your place. Now you have storage space for your engines and what not, and maybe even dry wood. If you buy two containers and have them placed strategically you can make some cheap trusses and roof over the space between. Now you have more space that is at the very least somewhat sheltered from the weather, and at very low cost. This would be a good place to store stickered green wood or maybe wall off a portion as a welding booth.

In floor heat is great but plan to supplement it with an air handler and blower as well. Feed it with a wood burning boiler and you are good to go. On a budget? Insulate the slab (important IMPORTANT) and run the Pex in the concrete, then heat with a simple wood burner in the corner until you can afford the remaining components. I can't begin to imagine air conditioning a shop, having served a 23 year sentence in an air conditioned office. When I retired I promised myself to never subject myself to air conditioning ever again, but hey that's me. If you can't stand the heat and can't get out of the kitchen get out your sawzall and carve a hole in the side of your building and stick a window a/c in there.

The best takeaway I can give you is to think strategically. What is your key purpose for building this structure? If you could only do one thing in there, what would it be? If the answer is, "a woodshop where I can make my living" you are already space constrained and do not have the luxury of adding activities. Do NOT overcrowd the place, you will regret it. Build frugally and avoid expenses for things that are nice rather than necessary and that interfere with or impede your primary activity. Forget about hoists, air lines and jib cranes. They are costly and no matter what you do now even if you need those things they will be in the wrong spot anyway. Once the building is done and you have been using it for a while, and you are a lot smarter than you are now, run air lines if you think you need them. I would not add a bathroom or water lines because now you will be forced to keep the building at least semi heated all winter long, unless you can winterize the facilities, which more or less negates their purpose. God created bushes for a reason.

And one last piece of advice, be sure to drywall and paint the interior before moving anything in there. If you say "I can always drywall later" you are sunk. Finished walls improve the building's air tightness, they hide the wires within and they add to the brightness and usability of the structure.

p.s. One thing no one mentioned is dust control. This is one thing you should consider from the outset, because of the system's intrusive nature. Run main lines overhead into a dedicated little room where the dust collector is. Filter the air throughly and return it back to the building. Don't be tempted to vent it outside because you will then be trying to heat and cool half the county. It may make sense for that room to have an exterior door so you can get rid of the dust and chips without tracking it through your shop. Nice to have but optional. And I will say it one last time: Insulate the slab, no matter what sort of heat you end up using. An un insulated slab wicks heat away like crazy.
 

b7100

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Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
It is nice to have a lean too or seperate building to store stuff that isn't used much, extra parts, ect. That keeps your work area clear for projects. As for rest room if your in the country you are all set. If you are into gardening it is a free source of nitrogen. Sweet corn reslly grows. I have a set of pallet racks that I have built built a roof over and 3 sides enclosed and one side open with a tarp hanging down. I have a trackloader with pallet forks. I put some of my stuff (brush hog, wood splitter, grapple/backhoe attachment, scrap metal) on pallets. It is easy to get to everything and provides a lot of storage in a small space. You will find that your building gets small really fast.
 

CharlieB

Registered
My machine tools and welding equipment work fine positioned along the walls, but the woodworking machinery needs lots of room, so mine is on dollies stored along the walls and rolled out as needed. I wish I had an electrical trough (or two) poured into the floor so that I could position the equipment over it and eliminate the extension cord trip hazards. Underfloor dust collection would also be great, eliminating the pesky overhead riser pipes, especially at the table saw.

Dust collection design is important, as a cheap system will quickly pull all of your heated or cooled air out of the shop. A good system will filter out the dust and return the air back to the shop.
 

dependable

Registered
Lots of good advice above. I built a shop/garage/office a few years ago.

Things you might consider:

Plan out what utilities you want, and may want later on.

The pex for radiant in the slab is not too expensive if you do it yourself, and you can not add it later without pouring another slab.

Put conduit in for any possible though slab runs. 2 in grey electrical conduit minimum (actually a good size for most applications), with wide 90's or pull boxes, as appropriate. Run an extra more than you think you need, maybe you want to pull some new wire later.

I put in a compressed air system in shop, 3/4 PEX, works fine. Wish I had run some conduit for that, had to drill some holes with the rotary hammer, not a problem in the big picture, but would have been better if had planned ahead.

If you have to pour a 4 ft frost wall and footings, why not put a basement in, you will be gad you did later.

8 ft ceilings are not nearly as good as 9 or 10, as mentioned above. This is also true of basement, if you are really going to use it for other than storage.

Not applicable to wood shop, but since lift was mentioned, I went with a used, but professionally installed Mohawk lift, USA made and proven, for half the price of new, but more than a cheap asian lift would have been new. No regrets on that one. That involved some pre stressed slabs, steel beams in cellar, cost some, but turns out worth it to me.
 

slip knot

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/27/2019
in 2004 I built my 36X50. The enclosed shop is 36X25 and the carport area is 36X25. All my tools are on rollers and are taken out side to work. This keeps the enclosed area somewhat clean. and its easy to clean up the carport area with a leafblower when done working.

I had a section of the slab poured extra thick to put a 2post lift in but haven't done enough undercar work to justify buying a lift. A jib crane would have been nice and I'm looking at options to place one now.

Make it bigger, there is never enough room. I've got a couple of projects going and am just about out of room. I'll be looking at buying a conex the first of the year.
 

uglyblue66

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
11/07/2018
I built a 30X40 in 2010.Love it but it is to small!:crazy:
I also learned mechanical and wood working don't mix. My Pontiac project is now covered in dust from my Model T wood body project.
There is several things I wish i had done,1,put in a toilet and sink.
Instead of 12 foot ceiling,I should have went up 1 more course on the 4 foot block wall so i could have had a second story in part of the shop I could have used for wood working or whatever.
I didn't put the plastic tube in the floor,should have. I heat mine with a Englander wood stove and have not regretted that 200 bucks at all!
INSULATE the building well. I can say,it works. When it is 23 outside,my wood heater will have it 71 in the shop.it is hot near the heater but I can work out away from it a bit no problem.
Literaly, last summer during some 100 degree days I got sick of sweating in 84 degree temps in there with a fan blowing and the doors down. All I had handy was a 6000 btu window unit. I stuck it in figuring what do I have to loose but a few minutes.
I left it on over night,went in the shop the next day and it was able to keep it tolerable during the hot part of the summer.
 

dependable

Registered
I'll be looking at buying a conex the first of the year.
Ditto on build it big as you can. Another good option is to have the person who preps the site for shop prep an adjacent area for a storage container or two. Much cheaper than a bigger building. Also gets around zoning limitations on shop square footage, which was an issue for me. (was not allowed to build "secondary structure" any bigger than 1/2 square footage of house)

Just added two more 20 footers. This time I dug out topsoil prepped a level area with road base. 3 6x6 PT sleepers each. Went with one trips(new containers) this time, so extra effort worth it, they will outlast me.

The older containers, usually designated "wind and water tight" or worse, "as Is" are 2/3 the price of one trips, but usually have to be painted, often rusty and some color like neon blue or orange. And no matter how well you prep them, the doors will rot out from inside eventually, as they have usually been on 20-30 ocean crossings. If the doors got tweaked at all, there will be extra effort each time you open them.

Containers are very good way to keep shop space clean and open, yet keep tools and materials in good shape. This may apply to wood shop even more than mechanic's shop.
 

Steve Kunz

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
I think that everyone has already mentioned most of the important stuff.
It does not cost a lot to go taller, even if not enough for a second story enough for a mezzanine.
I have my welder right by the door and do my welding outside.
On my air lines I used 1/2" rigid conduit (same size as black iron pipe) conduit has straight threads so cut off the ends and threaded with a pipe die. Running air lines is the best thing I did. I used to dread having to drag out the air compressor every time that I needed it. I also have the compressor in the very back of the shop so I don't have to listen to it. I don't leave the compressor on when I am not there so I put in a wind up timer switch up by my workbench to turn it on, and if I forget to turn it off it times out.
I divided the first section of the shop off for a workshop, I did not want to try to heat the whole building! I put in a 16' garage door in the dividing wall to access the rest of the building from the workshop.
 

Mikey NY

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Last Subscription Date
02/28/2016
great ideas guys. I forgot to mention I already have a 12 by 20 ft building with only 8 ft ceilings, and it has a 10 by 20 ft shed roof off of one side, no floor, but closed on the two ends. So I do have quite a bit of storage. I will keep the mechanical stuff, engines, etc in the old building. The new barn will be mostly for wood working, and an occasional mechanical / engine project when the weather bad. Since I own an old Oster pipe threader I will most likely use iron pipe for air lines. I also have a 100 ft retractable heavy duty air hose reel that I will hang somewhere. I have trusses for the roof so already have ceiling joists. I may put up corrugated metal for a ceiling and then insulate above it. So no real storage above 10 ft. I plan to extend the building next year, going longer but just for outside storage, no slab or walls , just a roof. For electricity, I will have to run an underground service to the barn. I have 200 amps at the house, and don't use much of it, so I think I will pull a 100 amp sub panel off of it if I can. I don't think I will need any more than that. I will set up my onan diesel generator out back under a shed. It will do 3 phase , just in case I pick up something 3 phase for occasional shop use. :shrug: I suppose I could wire it up the feed the house through a transfer switch when the power is out too. And thanks for the tip on dust collectors pulling the good air out of the shop. I will be sure to set it up so it returns filtered air back to the shop.
 
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