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Building a Home Improvement Workshop

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ May 8, 2012

Where do work on your home improvement projects and store your tools? Many homeowners just toss all their tools in plastic paint buckets and shove them in the garage. You may pride yourself in having a workshop in the garage, where every tool has its own place within hand's reach. But if you're an avid DIYer that's constantly fixing, remodeling or just tinkering, you want your own workshop.

Go online and you'll find plenty of ideas and recommendations for outfitting a new workshop or converted garage. If you want to start from plans and build a new detached garage/workshop, visit sites like the Garage Plan Shop.

If you plan on building something a little more modest (read: less expensive), you should scope all your necessary resources ahead of the game. What are you planning to use for power? You don't want to compromise your home electric system. Will you need an alternative power source? There's a wide range of energy generators to choose from, including gas powered, solar powered and even wind turbines scaled to power your workshop.

Planning for tools and projects

Your workspace must be well-ventilated for your own safety and comfort. If you're converting part of a basement room or corner of the garage, you may want to install a few hopper windows. This day and age, wise home improvement enthusiasts choose to work with non-toxic or low-VOC paints and adhesives. Nonetheless, don't skimp on fresh air.

Install adequate lighting. Drop lights, overhead lighting and even floor lamps can make your work easier. Be sure to plan for this and the power tools you're using when looking at capacity for your workshop electrical system.

Even if it's a small workshop you're after, be sure you have plenty of room to move around. Banging up against walls or storage cabinets while you attempt precision work is downright infuriating. Don't get cornered while working with power tools and risk injury.

One word about flooring: be safe. If you're working in a converted section of garage you may want to add a wood pad, cork floor or linoleum to prevent slipping as well as soften the load on your feet.

Make the most out of cabinets, shelves and wall surfaces (peg boards). You can build a drop-leaf wood table that rises out of the way when not in use and still offers a durable surface when you're cutting, hammering, or stripping.

If you choose to build a shed or separate structure, be sure to check for power and plumbing sources as well as local building codes.

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