7 Rules To Guide Your Garage Planning Process
In your garage, as in the projects it is sure to spawn, planning is crucial. Remember that the goal is to make tasks easier and more efficient. Here are seven rules to get you headed in the right direction from Car and Driver:
Rule #1: Know thyself.
A garage is a place where hobbies happen—enable them. Whether you’re into cars, woodworking, kayaking, bikes, motorcycles, model planes, or ATVs, make sure to set aside space for the particulars of the hobby. And plan the storage so you don’t trip over your hobby every day.
Rule #2: It all begins at ground level with the concrete slab.
If renovating, start with a good inspection. A few small cracks or rough spots are okay, but if the surface is deeply pitted, visibly uneven, or has cracks more than a quarter-inch wide, patching or resurfacing is your first task.
Rule #3: Decide how many cars you plan to park.
This will have a big impact on how you design the layout. A basic one-car is 12 feet by 24 feet, and most garages add spaces in 12-foot increments. Figure on a minimum 9-by-18-foot reserve per car so you can open doors.
Rule #4: You can’t have too many power outlets.
Electrical ordinances vary widely—so check the codes before designing circuits—but an outlet box every six feet is a good rule of thumb. Make sure the garage is on a dedicated circuit, free of interference from hair dryers and appliances. You’ll want to set up 30-amp service and include a ground fault circuit interrupter on each breaker. Use four-plug (as opposed to two-plug) outlet boxes to cut down on power strips. A 220-volt circuit is a must for welding and certain heavy shop tools or an EV charging station.
Rule #5: Let there be light.
In terms of bang for the buck, fluorescent light fixtures are still hard to beat. Three well-placed eight-foot fixtures can provide all the light a one-car garage needs. Pay special attention to workbenches and project areas. Remember, too, that the garage door opens and consider how that will impact the available lumens.
Rule #6: Remember what your mom said and get that stuff off the floor.
Hooks, shelves, racks, and bins are your friends. Prioritize what goes where based on how often you’ll use an item, and label or outline everything to help maintain storage discipline. Ready-made modular storage systems can be great, but make sure they suit your purposes, otherwise they’ll just eat up floor space.
Rule #7: Think in three dimensions, not just two.
Cars go on the floor, storage and work space go near the walls, but there’s also the empty space higher up. Storage volume above the cars, workbenches, entries, and the garage door is usually wasted. Unfinished garages also have space between the studs that you can use.
For the ultimate guide to garage planning, check out the full article here.