Ask WWGOA: Garage vs. Basement Workshop


I’m planning on moving from Las Vegas back to Minnesota. I’m in the process of designing my house which will hopefully be built next year. I want to build a work shop in my attached garage or basement. Both will have a dust control system and both will be confined to a single room. My question is…which would be the better location?

I’m concerned about the possibility of the cold temperatures and humidity rusting my stationary power tools in the garage. On the other hand, would a basement shop confined, to one room, pose a health hazard for my family? I’d appreciate any advice or suggestions.

Submitted by Wild Wood


There are plenty of reasons to take you in either direction on this.

Lots of woodworkers are doing extensive woodwork in their basements. If you choose to go this route, you’ll need to make sure you have an isolated room in your basement and good dust collection on your tools. The benefit is that you’ll be working in an environment that’s consistently heated and humidified, which is best for your tools and your material.

Having your tools in the garage can create some maintenance issues. When your car comes in in the winter, covered with snow, and the snow melts, you’re adding moisture to the environment.You can stay ahead of this, by treating your tools with woodworking-specific products, such as Empire’s Table-Top Lube. These products do a great job of protecting cast iron. In good weather, you’ll be able to open the garage doors and let in lots of fresh air (along with mosquitoes….).But if you’re using your garage for typical garage-type stuff, you’ll have to put your tools away in order to park your cars.

If I had to choose, I’d probably go for the basement shop, instead of sharing space with cars, a lawn mower, bikes….Just make sure that in planning your house you make it easy to get tools and materials down there. A great alternative would be an extra deep garage so you could dedicate some shop space there. With just a little framing, you could separate that space from the rest of your garage and have a great dedicated shop space.


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2 Responses to “Ask WWGOA: Garage vs. Basement Workshop”
  1. PAUL

    I was faced with the question a number of years ago, I live in a similar climate (Green Bay, WI). I decided on a basement shop with wide stairs leading to the garage in addition to an interior stairs. I have a seperate heat source and no return airs in the basement connected to the rest of the house. I have a separate forced air unit for the basement, the only thing that I would change is to skip the FA heat and simply utilize a milkhouse heater. I’m always happy when I’m in my basement.
    And my wife has never complained about noise or dust in the house, that’s because there is none, dust that is.