OT: Garage- how big is too big?

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adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 5, 2012 - 10:10pm PT
For those following the saga of my renovating an early 1800's schoolhouse (latest thread here:http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1924564/Need-suggestions-repairing-a-floor-joist);, here's the current problem... We're finally to the point that we need to button up the 1950's era garage/workshop and there's concern that what I have in mind is "too big".

Long story short, the existing structure is 27' x 40' with a 10' ceiling and completely open inside (a pair of 14" steel I-beams running the width support the joists that held the roof, so no pillars anywhere inside). Can't ask for a better workshop, except for the fact that the existing roof collapsed 10-15 years ago.

Anyway, I've finally gotten most of the crap out of the garage (~four 30 yard dumpsters and ~12,000 pounds of scrap metal,sadly 2 more 30 yard dumpsters to go...) and am looking to demo the roof and get the thing buttoned up before winter sets in. Quotes for a simple 12/12 pitch gable roof with an attic room came back not too bad (~24k for trusses, sheathed, roofed, gutters, fascia, gables sided), but I figure that given the width I may as well go gambrel and get a much larger room upstairs for the same peak height.

Unfortunately our current house (not the schoolhouse) is a 1900's era Dutch Colonial, so SWMBO is well familiar with gambrel roofs and thinks that it would "look" too big. Truth is, she's right. A 12/5-5/12 Gambrel on that structure would put the "garage" a good bit bigger than our current house (garage would be ~1800sq-ft or so). Our house is ~28' x 30' with 12' to the eaves and a 12/7 pitch on the lower and 8/12 on the upper, so quite comparable to what I have in mind, but smaller. I see no problem with this, but....

There are mitigating circumstances (in my mind):

1. The schoolhouse is on just over half an acre, while our current house is on .2 acre (hence a direct comparison of space consumed is not applicable)

2. The existing structure is already there and 27' x 40', so what's it matter the pitch of the roof

3. Circumstances have changed a bit since we bought the place last year, meaning that my mom (who was going to live in the inlaw cottage while we rented the main house to over the mortgage) now wants to move to MD, so our reason for having bought the place is gone (rental aside)

4. The house is on a main thoroughfare (PA 73) so resale value takes a hit (that said, we got it for a song given the condition it was in... a year of work full time and it's still not livable..).

5. The property is grandfathered for home business/light industrial, so I'm thinking the small additional cost of making the workshop HUGE will be offset by added resale value if/when we sell it.

Which I gets me focused to my real question... For the contractors/HVAC/woodworkers/etc out there.... what would you look for in a large garage workshop? While I'd love the second story simply for the opportunity to put in a 24' climbing wall, the single level 27' x 40' garage would be enough for what I need. But since I need to replace the roof anyway and might not keep the property long term, what would you do?

-aric.

Forgot a couple mitigating circumstances....
6. School district we're currently in SUCKS and the "new" place is in a good school district, so adding 10 minutes to my wife's commute (doubling it, FWIW) for a couple years is a viable option semi-short term.

7. Did I mention the possibility of having a 24' climbing wall in the garage? And the 10m airgun range? And foosball? Pool table? Three keg kegerator????

yeah, I kinda want the house-sized man-cave. Can you blame me? :-)


TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Oct 5, 2012 - 10:20pm PT
Go big,

or go home.
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 5, 2012 - 10:26pm PT
I get that, but is 1800 sq-ft *too* big for a garage? Seems to me that 27' x 40' is plenty big for contractor use, but I don't do that sort of work and am only guessing...
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Oct 5, 2012 - 10:28pm PT
Install LOTS of electrical receptacles, with plenty 220.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Oct 5, 2012 - 10:28pm PT
3 phase if you can get it.
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 5, 2012 - 10:35pm PT
I hear you on recepticals and 3 phase, but right now it's a question of gable or gambrel. She's stuck on it looking like a barn, which is what it really is. I grew up in the country playing in Pappy's hayloft next door, she's an urbanite that doesn't understand why I don't look forward to Fall hayrides.

Anyway, what I'm hoping to find here is some direction from our resident contractors as to what their ideal home workspace would look like size-wise. Plan right now is to do the shell so I have somewhere to work out of while demo'ing the inlaw cottage over the winter (main house hopefully being rented out), with electric and whatnot coming next year.

Oh, and the garage used to have its own meter and I'd be surprised if there wasn't 3 phase on the street out front. Electric's just not high on the priority list at the moment.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Oct 5, 2012 - 10:45pm PT
Since you are zoned light industrial, go for the loft.

Use heavy enough WF beams to double for a hoist trolley.

Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
Oct 5, 2012 - 10:45pm PT
Am I correct in assuming the main issue involves "viewscape"?

As in, what does it look like from a particular view point - too big, etc.?

If the issue of too big of a roofline is an issue from but a single point of reference - then think about a multi-roof design - standard pitch gable end facing the viewer, but then stepping up into a gambrel style for the functional interior space.

Or just go 12/12 with a sh#t load of dormers......


briham89

Big Wall climber
los gatos. ca
Oct 5, 2012 - 10:49pm PT
Big garages are what my dreams are made out of.....that and crack haha
Michelle

Trad climber
she'll make.5 past light speed
Oct 5, 2012 - 10:49pm PT
My parents built a 2700 sq ft garage. Bigger than the house but super cool.
treez

Trad climber
99827
Oct 5, 2012 - 10:57pm PT
That sized structure would look tall and narrow IMHO.

My home shop is 28 x 50, not large enough for all my business (res/comm contractor).

Ten foot ceiling is too low for much.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Oct 5, 2012 - 11:00pm PT
My neighbor's garage:



( this is by far the nicest house in the neighborhood, my joint looks nothing like this )

It's a good thing he went big, because that's where he lives now. His wife divorced him, and she lives in the house ( with her boyfriend ), while he lives in the garage. I'm glad one or the other didn't leave the neighborhood, because I get along great with both of them, and the boyfriend too.
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 5, 2012 - 11:02pm PT
TGT: scary how we think alike. My (evil) plan is to forgo trusses on the far end (beyond the steel beam) to make room for the climbing wall and to mount a steel beam in the peak for hoisting stuff upstairs and TR use. And if I can sweet talk the folks at the scrap yard into selling me wide flange beams cheap enough, building a (short-ish) drop test tower.

Regardless, I'm looking at signing a contract for redoing the roof this coming week, so any contractor-type folks that care to chime in with what they'd want in a workshop would be much appreciated. I've got one shot at adding value to the property with this, and want to make it work. Especially if it gets me my climbing wall and airgun range...
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 5, 2012 - 11:13pm PT
Actually, a 12/5-5/12 looks rather nice IMO, as with a 1' overhang it fits a circle to the peak quite nicely. I modeled a dozen different roof styles for SWMBO, and the 12/5-5/12 Gambrel was by far my favorite regardless of room upstairs.

(didn't model the gable ends, so she could see how big the room would be)



mite

Ice climber
New York
Oct 5, 2012 - 11:21pm PT
I hear you on recepticals and 3 phase, but right now it's a question of gable or gambler. She's stuck on it looking like a barn, which is what it really is.

http://www.siamvisit.com/
Captain...or Skully

climber
Oct 5, 2012 - 11:46pm PT
There's no such thing as too much garage. Seriously.
MudPuppy

Trad climber
Gliese 581 g
Oct 5, 2012 - 11:48pm PT
Go big, and go with the gambrel roof, especially if you'll have the $$ to improve the space upstairs. There's never enough storage or shop space. Never enough electrical outlets. And don't forget to plumb it.

We just sold a place with a 24 x 36 shop/garage with a gambrel roof and a 24 x 36 4-stall barn and moved into town where there are great schools. Really don't regret the move, but sure miss the shop and storage space.

Plus the horse board is killing me!
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Oct 6, 2012 - 12:00am PT
There's never enough storage or shop space. Never enough electrical outlets. And don't forget to plumb it

Pretty much sums it up.

If the cost difference isn't too much, you're never going to go wrong with extra space.
MudPuppy

Trad climber
Gliese 581 g
Oct 6, 2012 - 12:34am PT
Good schools, AND a shop with storage?
How can you go wrong?

I'd have kept mine, if the schools were worth a damn.
treez

Trad climber
99827
Oct 6, 2012 - 01:17am PT
Leave the front by the overhead doors full height and have a mezzanine on the back half.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 6, 2012 - 02:13am PT
These are the sliding doors I built for a drive-through 'garage'. There was
a matching set at the other end - 100' away. For scale they are 5' x 10'.
I think the 'garage' could hold 20 cars. I think it was 5000 SF.
Credit: Reilly
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Oct 6, 2012 - 02:30am PT
Can you post a pic of the house and garage as they are now?

If the garage already makes the house look small the gambrel roof won't help.

A gambrel may just not fit with the architecture of the house.

You can't go wrong with more space, but if you are looking at resale curb appeal is probably more important. You want that first view of the property to make people want it. If it looks weird, it doesn't matter if a guy wants the huge garage, his wife won't.

My parents put a 2500 square foot post and beam addition on their 1760s farm house. They were smart and made the addition look like a big red barn. When you view it from the street the addition blends in with the other barns and looks great.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Oct 6, 2012 - 04:40am PT
I just googled SWMBO.

Why are womenfolk always so concerned about not wanting to look at really big man stuff?

I'm forever being hassled by, "females", who don't want to look at big trucks or big equipment.


"It's TOO big!"

"IT's ugly!"

"It's got stuff dripping out of it!"

"There's a stain underneath it!"

"It's dirty!"


Make it big and make her like it.

; -)
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Oct 6, 2012 - 08:46am PT
Here in West Pennsyltucky everyone has HUGE garages.

They all have tiny, run-down double-wide trailers, and out front they have brand-new GIANT garages that can hold multiple cars.

Rednecks.....
miwuksurfer

Social climber
Mi-Wuk
Oct 6, 2012 - 12:40pm PT
I think this belongs in the First World Problems thread.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Oct 6, 2012 - 01:01pm PT
How could a garage be too big?

Indoor climbing wall,, engine hoists, lifts, gear storage/diplay play area, way too much fun .. the more the better.

Unless you have to heat it I suppose.

Sometimes I think my ultimate "home" would be a warehouse.. can rent em cheap in Reno these days but my understanding is that the leases are different and the legalities of living in one may not work.

HMMMMMM...
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Oct 6, 2012 - 01:51pm PT
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Oct 6, 2012 - 01:57pm PT
I recall this pic that eKat posted, looks like she's a garage afficianado.

photo not found
Missing photo ID#222224
eKat

Trad climber
BITD3
Oct 7, 2012 - 11:16am PT
HA!

I *AM* a garage afficianado. . . it's really SportingGoodsCentral.

:-)

photo not found
Missing photo ID#266959

photo not found
Missing photo ID#266962

photo not found
Missing photo ID#266965

photo not found
Missing photo ID#266967

It actually looks a lot different in there, now. . . I've been switchin' it up, makin' room for this thing:

photo not found
Missing photo ID#266968

It'll be here any day, now!

YAY!


Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Oct 7, 2012 - 01:41pm PT
No offense, but gambrel roofs seem really ugly to me, and should be avoided at all costs.
OR

Trad climber
Oct 7, 2012 - 01:46pm PT
If I haved learned anything about garages over the years it is this.....the bigger the garage the more useless sh#t you collect.
eKat

Trad climber
BITD3
Oct 7, 2012 - 02:05pm PT
I'll echo Brandon and add . . . gambrels can be so obnoxious, they are actually banned by some towns' planning departments, i.e. Mammoth Lakes. . . not that it helped the way the town looks, mind you. . . personally, I think they were a day late and a dollar short. . . like. . . they should have thought about town planning WAY before the over built A Frames and gambrels.

:-/

A N D . . . I'll offer this. . . my garage ain't from the pages of Architectural Digest, nawmean?

It was already here when Blanchard and I bought the place. . . we tried to "doll" it up a bit with the closed in eaves and the BlanchardOneOff doors. . . so. . . I just wanted to set the record straight by admitting that it was just an inexpensively built TiJuana Leven, contractor built garage.

It's kinda not, now. . . it's ten kinds of trick. . . R30 - vapor barriered - climate controlled - explosion proof nitro-cellulous lacquer spray booth - sound proof mechanical chase - dust collection system, compressed air ports. . . this is what it looked like when it was Blanchard Guitars:

photo not found
Missing photo ID#267007
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 7, 2012 - 04:16pm PT
gambrels can be so obnoxious

So now we're gonna demonize the poor French and Belgians?
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Oct 7, 2012 - 04:24pm PT
Given the location and the provenance of the property a Gambrel roof with a hayloft might be the most appropriate.

Have that WF stick out of the loft doors by about 4 ft.
eKat

Trad climber
BITD3
Oct 7, 2012 - 04:29pm PT
So now we're gonna demonize the poor French and Belgians?

Well. . . maybe ONE way out there all by itself is cool. . .but a whole neighborhood of them starts looking like the Ghetto in Mammoth. . . and. . . well. . . if you've ever been there. . . YOU'D KNOW!

:-)
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 7, 2012 - 04:33pm PT
eKat, that's cause gambrels and mansards aren't meant to built of T-111. ;-)

Of course, even a T-111 mansard could be improved with some gargouilles...
Credit: Reilly
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Oct 7, 2012 - 04:42pm PT
Go big man!!! She'll get over it.... I would love to have space to store my ladders and work stuff inside and still work on my trucks and sleds....
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Oct 7, 2012 - 04:46pm PT
Dude, T-111 on a gambrel is the bane of my existence. Ugliest shiz I've ever laid eyes upon.

Put a red roof on it and lawn ornaments out in the dooryard and you're like four miles from my house.
Michelle

Trad climber
she'll make.5 past light speed
Oct 7, 2012 - 09:16pm PT
Will it require the elevated snow machine hut?
Srbphoto

climber
Kennewick wa
Oct 8, 2012 - 01:33am PT
Wow eKat, that garage is so neat I don't know how you could find anything in there!
eKat

Trad climber
BITD3
Oct 8, 2012 - 06:26pm PT
HA!

It's so neat because it's just about EMPTY!

:-)

And. . . Dadz. . . it's not T 111. . . it's Tijuana Leven!

rich sims

Social climber
co
Oct 8, 2012 - 08:31pm PT
Car barn on right with one bedroom gardners quarters up stairs front a...
Car barn on right with one bedroom gardners quarters up stairs front and full heigth car lift in back.
Four car garage in front and starting house to left
Credit: rich sims
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 8, 2012 - 08:41pm PT
Sorry for the post&run folks; didn't have a pic handy and the weekend was spent picking pumpkins and apples and taking hayrides with our toddler.

Here's a couple pics... The house is ~70 feet in from the road, so the road is ~30 behind where this pic was taken. The garage is 90 feet from the back corner of the house. And forgive the mess in front of the garage; i'm emptying the last of the crap out of it and spent today with a trencher digging 240' of French drain to (hopefully) solve the water problems in the basement of the main house.



Another pic from the back corner of the house:


Saving the flat roof is not an option, as it's completely rotted through, including what's left of the beams that support it (read: while tarping it last fall I fell through the roof a couple times). The block is good though, so worth salvaging as a garage/workshop.

I figure it's far enough back for a barn-look would be ok, but am open to suggestions.

-a.
Spike Flavis

Trad climber
Truckee California
Oct 8, 2012 - 11:00pm PT
Here's a link to my garage gym blog.

and video.

I'm ploting an addition to my climbing wall for winter.

The size of my garage was one the the main reasons we bought the place

now I wish it was bigger!!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Oct 8, 2012 - 11:12pm PT
Never Ever Too Big!

Credit: guido
Credit: guido
Credit: guido
Credit: guido
Credit: guido
Credit: guido
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