Creating a Home Garage for the Car Buff
Restoring a vehicle, whether it is a classic car, motorcycle, or truck, it requires focus, dedication, the right tools, and a place to keep the vehicle during the process. While a simple garage or carport may provide protection, you will need more space, access to tools, and power to have what is necessary to do the job right.
This is why having a metal garage, pre-engineered building, or steel building is important to your restoration efforts. By creating a home garage that functions much like a standard working garage you find at commercial body shops, you will have everything you need within easy reach to make the work go faster. The days of keeping all your equipment in a metal storage building and walking back and forth should be over when you build a garage that is able to store everything needed, including your vehicle.
How to Start
The first step towards building the home garage is creating a plan that ensures your needs are fulfilled. Ideally, you should have a garage, either attached or separate from your home, that can store your vehicle, the tools and supplies needed for restoration and maintenance, and the power requirements necessary for your equipment.
This means that you’ll want to turn your home garage into an auto shop, but one that is designed for your needs which may be far less expensive than you might think. If you believe the garage attached to your home is suitable, then all you need to do is plan out the space and ensure you have the electrical requirements necessary for the work you need to perform.
However, if your garage is too small or you want a building separate from your home, then you will need to construct a metal storage building, commercial metal building, or use existing sheds or horse barns for your needs.
Now that you know what you want, the next step is planning out the modifications you need for your existing space by obtaining garage kits. Or, you’ll need to build or purchase a pre-constructed metal building for your needs. As part of your new garage, it will have some of the following requirements.
Electrical: Arguably the number one need of your new building apart from the space and storage it provides is having enough electricity to power your equipment. If you are not an electrician, you will need to hire one to ensure that it is installed correctly. This means installing a panel box and enough dedicated circuits to handle the necessary equipment.
You can expect circuits to be dedicated to important devices such as the air compressor and a ceiling-mounted gas heater if you plan on keeping your metal building comfortable during the winter months. This means having a dedicated 220-volt line, although if all the equipment works with a 110-volt line, then you can plan for that. Remember that you can hire the electrician again to make any significant changes if you purchase more equipment.
Be sure to install as many outlets as needed, then add a few more. In most cases, everyone underestimates the electrical outlets they need.
Ventilation: Next to your electrical requirements, having good ventilation is vital to keeping your garage a safe place to work. Obviously, keeping the garage door open is a good idea, but you’ll want to do more by putting in a proper fan and vents to ensure that the air flows smoothly through. Combined with a little insulation, heating, and cooling system, and you’ll have a comfortable garage for your work.
Remember that you do not have to go overboard. A simple, large fan and two windows or a single window and open door will be enough to create good airflow through your garage.
Drainage: A proper garage will have a good drainage system in place. Remember to keep it clean through regular maintenance as you do not want it to back up on you.
Bench Vise: A good bench vise is an important part of your home garage. If you purchase a large one that offers 6” jaws, that should work for whatever you need to hold steady.
Cabinets: You’ll need cabinets to store equipment, tools, and supplies such as lubricants like grease containers, oils, and sprays. You may also store some tools and equipment, but there are other storage areas that may work better.
Lighting: Good lighting is a necessity, so think about using fluorescent fixtures that are at least 4’ long. That will provide excellent lighting with minimal power consumption, so you can see what you are doing.
Other additions to your garage should include the following, especially if you are planning on working the year-round.
– Bench Grinder & Polisher
– Box Fans for Cooling
– 10 lb. Fire Extinguisher
– Bucket of Sand, Large Jug of Water
– Safety Goggles, Glasses, and Gloves
Inside your metal garage, you’ll want to keep a garbage pale for keeping your dirty rags. Plus, a steel cabinet for flammable materials such as paints, aerosol sprays, paint thinners, and similar products. Be sure it is shut tight before leaving. Also, a good broom and cleaning supplies to wipe away stains and remove potential fire dangers. If the floor is concrete, you may want to consider a floor coating to keep any spills from causing permanent stains or damaging the material itself.
The carport, metal garage, or steel building you choose should reflect your own personality, which includes having everything where you need it in easy reach. This means that any upgrades such as tool storage compartments, brightly colored walls, and other touches will create the right atmosphere to get your work accomplished quickly and easily.
Whether you choose to modify your own garage, purchase a pre-engineered building, or construct a commercial metal building, creating a home garage to store, maintain, and restore your prized vehicles is well worth the investment. By building from garage kits what you want today, you save time, effort, energy, and money tomorrow when working on your vehicles.