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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Insulating and heating an outside garage. Worth it?

    So we are thinking about insulating our garage and using it as a gym and workshop. Currently it's an oversized 2 car garage with stick and frame construction. I have a pretty big climbing wall built and some gym equipment so I park outside anyway.

    Our idea is to build it out as a gym/workshop that we can actually use in winter. Currently, I can't even wax skis out there because it's so cold and the wife still wants to park in there in the winter, which will let air in and out at least twice a day. The garage door is pretty beefy and doesn't let much air in unless it's open (Duh).

    We live in the mountains where it's fucking cold most of the year and I know that heating a space this big will take considerable amounts of BTUs to accomplish. So is it even worth trying to insulate and heat this thing for winter?

  2. #2
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    Jan 2004
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    Insulate it and keep it at a reasonable low temp most of the time, then just crank up the heat for when you want to actually use it.

    Get a programmable thermostat, if you know you'll be working out everyday at 6am before work then set it to warm up 20 minutes before you start then shut down the heat before you are finished.

  3. #3
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    Good ideas, thanks shirk.

    Any ideas on how we should heat it?

  4. #4
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    Mar 2008
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    I thot about closing in my carport into the garage scenario but for heat just surround the small area around a ski bench with drop down panels or curtain or some fucking thing and heat just that small area real quick with a plug in heater ?

    smart crazy wierd?
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    columbia valley
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    my place has an attached (insulated) single garage. I put a heater (electric coils that glow red) above the bench, on the roof facing down. -15 outside & its still fking cold in there with the heater cranked. I can wax skis wearing gloves, but it doesn't warm up enough in the garage to do much else.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Rusting of you car will increase in a heated garage vs unheated garage.

    I tune my skis in a relatively cool (but attached and insulated on 3 walls) garage. If I have skis I'll be tuning, I put them in the house for 30 mins before taking them out to the garage. But that doesn't help your goal here of having a workout room.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Previous owner did that in my garage, has a pretty stout 220V heater mounted up in the corner of the ceiling. I've never turned it on yet, but did decide friday that last year's wax was pretty much shot, so might need to wax 'em once this year...
    Neil Young said Harvest put him right in the middle of the road, so he headed for the nearest ditch. I think we've kind of just gone ditch to ditch to ditch a lot of the time.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  8. #8
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    Not as worried about the ski/board waxing, as much as being able to have a comfortable workout area that I actually want to use. I might be able to pick up some heavy duty heaters and hard wire them on a programable thermostat.

    On the insulation side of things, anything y'all would recommend? Spray on foam? pink panther? ect... Looking for good balance of cheap and effective.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2006
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    There are plenty of space heaters out there that you could hang. However, in my opinion it would be best if you only had to heat the 1 side of the garage (and not worry about the side the car parks in). Have a natural gas unit heater in our garage (rarely use it though anymore) that if left on will get the area up to a reasonable temperature (especially if you are just looking for a bit more heat in the work out space - it does not have to be 65 degrees in there.) These are similar to what you would see in a warehouse or shop area of a business. With a timed and programmable thermostat it could be done.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2006
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    2x4 construction? Do the walls have sheet rock or are the studs exposed? Any windows, single pane or double? Is there an attic and if so is it accessible? If you can put bats on all the walls and blown-in insulation in the attic then seal all the places where air can get in then you'l have a fighting chance. But it doesn't take many small gaps in the insulation to create an unwinable situation. If it weren't for the wet car coming and going you'd have a better shot at making the place into a nearly airtight bubble, insulating the shit out of it, then running an oil-filled electric radiator and a little fan to circulate the air.
    Brandine: Now Cletus, if I catch you with pig lipstick on your collar one more time you ain't gonna be allowed to sleep in the barn no more!
    Cletus: Duly noted.

  11. #11
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    Jan 2004
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    I'd suggest heating with natural gas.

    Do some searching on www.garagejournal.com forums lots of info about heating and costs and recommended units in there.

    I have a detached 24x16 stick frame garage that I plan to heat. My plans are to run natural gas out to it for heat.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruiser View Post
    2x4 construction? Do the walls have sheet rock or are the studs exposed? Any windows, single pane or double? Is there an attic and if so is it accessible?
    Super basic, 2x4 construction, studs exposed, a few crappy windows that will be replaced in time as well as a door that'll need replacing eventually. Attic is open and accessible and would prefer to keep it that way, where else will I put all the shitty golf clubs and thule racks I don't use?

    I plan on getting a car mat for under the car which will channel melted snow out through a drain. Wife is gonna park inside in the winter but not summer. That ain't gonna change.

  13. #13
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    Mar 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by shredgnar View Post
    Not as worried about the ski/board waxing, as much as being able to have a comfortable workout area that I actually want to use. I might be able to pick up some heavy duty heaters and hard wire them on a programable thermostat.

    On the insulation side of things, anything y'all would recommend? Spray on foam? pink panther? ect... Looking for good balance of cheap and effective.
    Spray-on requires a contracter for walls, bales of pink are DYI friendly not sure about price and for ceilings I can buy bales of blow-in and the building supply will lend me the blower for free

    Unless you do a ceiling all the heat will go out the roof
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    cordova,AK
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    I have a 30 x 40 shop. I usually do not heat it. When I am working in there I warm it up with a wall mounted boiler unit. I have no idea the cost. however there are some very efficient boilers out there. Only real downfall is the fan in the unit is pretty loud. I guess your decision is do you really want to use the space or not.
    off your knees Louie

  15. #15
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    Dec 2012
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    I'm glad I live near a gym. Exercising at home gets to be expensive.

  16. #16
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    Jun 2006
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    earth
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    I have this heater in the part of my garage that is 40' x 16' or so on average. http://www.marleymep.com/en/berko/pd...l-unit-heaters

    My garage is separate and 2x4 walls also. I did insulate it and used dbl pane windows. The biggest loss of heat is thru the garage door...so it seems anyway. My ceiling is maxed out with insulation and that is obviously where you'd potentially lose the most.

    I like this heater because of the fan. Heats up quickly. The other part of my garage is a small wood shop and I have a propane wall unit. That works fine, but takes time to feel the heat and it's a small area.

  17. #17
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    Sep 2006
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    So maybe it's not necessary to keep it warm all the time. It doesn't sound like you're going to use it for extended periods of time and the frequency with which you'll be out there is, at most, once a day on average right? If that's the case then you might be better served by doing some good air sealing to keep the drafts out and then looking into a fairly high BTU forced air heater to quickly warm the place up when you want to use it.
    Brandine: Now Cletus, if I catch you with pig lipstick on your collar one more time you ain't gonna be allowed to sleep in the barn no more!
    Cletus: Duly noted.

  18. #18
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    Jan 2004
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    North Vancouver
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    You will need to insulate and close in the ceiling. Otherwise heating it's moot.

    Staple poly to the ceiling to hold in the bats of pink. Create a trap door on hinges that you insulate with the pink foam board, this will still give you access to the rafters for storage.

    If trying to keep costs down you can use the garage with just the insulation and poly. Eventually you'll want to drywall it or put up some panelling.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Moose, Iowa
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    My garage is attached on one end to the house but also 2x4 and it was uninsulated when I bought the house but it was finished with drywall and had the full attic going... It was an inferno in the summer and freezing in the winter. Rolled some r-19 into the attic. Made a big difference. Then I blew cellulose into the walls which made a smaller but nice difference. Then I blew the attic to R-40 or so. Helped some more. Insulated and sealed the cheap garage door and that helped a little but to much air was coming in so I bought a 2 inch thick Overhead Door with built in dual pane low e windows that seals tight as a drum and that helped tremendously. I keep my beer and other beverages on the floor all winter and they never freeze. On the coldest nights the temp will drop to 28 degrees or so but then it warms back up the next day or I just open the door to the house for a few minutes. Obviously we don't quite get Summit County cold all the time.

    To heat it when I want to work on something I just turn on my 20 inch ceiling mounted fan, open the garage door a few inches for vent and run a kerosene heater for a few minutes. 50-60 degrees before you know it. I'd love to have a forced air natural gas furnace installed but for now that would be overkill. Don't really need heat for most things I do out there with all the insulation. I might just run a vent from the house furnace and put a flap on it eventually...

    Opening and closing the garage door a couple three times a day has less effect than you might think on the temp. I find that since the slab and everything else in there is so much warmer it returns to its static temp soon after the door is closed.

    It is worth it. Even if it is unattached.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by shredgnar View Post
    Super basic, 2x4 construction, studs exposed, a few crappy windows that will be replaced in time as well as a door that'll need replacing eventually. Attic is open and accessible and would prefer to keep it that way, where else will I put all the shitty golf clubs and thule racks I don't use?

    I plan on getting a car mat for under the car which will channel melted snow out through a drain. Wife is gonna park inside in the winter but not summer. That ain't gonna change.
    In my opinion, better off finishing the rafters with plywood or something and insulating so the roof is not exposed. Hang the stuff you talk about on the walls, or on shelves or get one of those ladders/stairs that will allow access to the new attic for storage area.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    3,763
    Where do you live in CO? Heated garages cost money put can be big for resale.

    What type of fuel service do you have now? City gas? Propane? Where is the tank/lines?

    What temp. is reasonable to you for working out? How quickly does the garage need to get to this temp?

    Concerned about code, insurance, resale? You're gonna need some drywall.

    What is the roof framing? Trusses (storage or regular), rafters?

    Without the above answer's hear's my answer:

    Heating = propane on natural gas Hot Dawg on similar

    1. fur 2X4 walls to 2X6
    2. move j-boxes and jamb extend window accordingly
    3. R-19 fiberglasss in the walls
    4. DW lid, install blown in insulation (make sure soffit and ridge venting is proper)
    5. DW walls

    This will be your best bang for the buck. Usage tips: a. The wife get in and out once a day. If the car needs to warm up, outside. Stopping home for a half hour, outside. Heat it to 40deg until you know you will be in there. If nothing will freeze, turn the heat off.

    I have tons of friends with this set-up and it's the way to go. Slow responding systems (radiant) suck for these applications.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fhloston Paradise
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    The wife get in and out once a day.
    Whether she needs it or not.
    "I think next week I'll be able to send some more money as I may have extra work. My friend Patty promised me a blow job"

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Westchesta County
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    845
    There is a lot of good advice here. A gas heater will be your best bet. Like everyone else has said insulate and rocking the walls are a must if you want to keep the heat in.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    NWCT
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    x2 on making sure you have adequate venting from soffit to ridge. Often times better off just insulating the attic floor/garage ceiling and air sealing that space with foam/caulk rather than insulating the rafter cavities. If you do insulate rafters, make sure you install rafter vents to underside of plywood roof deck before installing insulation.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Aspen, Colorado
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    2,153
    I have a de-attached three car garage with 2x4 walls and 2x10(12?) joists. It was so cold in it that I could not do anything out there in the winter. I insulated it with a friendly to use plastic wrapped fiberglass batt insulation. I then sheathed the inside with OSB. It is really nice now. I keep it just above freezing most of the time with an electric 30amp 240v heater. If I want to work out there, I fire up a propane heater for a few minutes to take the chill off and turn up the electric heat while I am working

    I am not sure what would happen if I had a fire, insurance wise. There is no drywall, but before I insulated it, the inside was exposed wood studs and joists.

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