Metal Shop building with tools

Metal Shop: 8 Tips For Creating Your Dream Garage or Workshop

Learn how to create the ultimate workspace for all your DIY projects.

Whether you like being under the hood of your classic cars, woodworking with your hands, or repairing things around the house, you need a quiet place to get your projects done. 

If you’re working in the backyard, or cramped in your already-tight garage, your projects are probably no fun to tackle. They may even take longer to accomplish.

That’s why the beginning of every dream DIY workshop starts with a plan for a steel garage kit.

A Metal Garage or Quonset Hut Makes the Perfect Workspace for DIY Enthusiasts

Without a garage, working on all your projects means freezing outside in the colder months and timing your work sessions with the clouds and setting sun.

A covered area, or better yet, a metal garage building, gives you more control to work on projects on your time — no matter the weather or lighting conditions.

You can build your very own Quonset hut on your own or with a few friends or family members in just a few days. You don’t even need any specialty tools or heavy lifting equipment.

Talk about DIY from the ground up.

So what makes a prefab Quonset hut the right choice for your garage or workshop?

First, you can customise the size of your steel frame building to accommodate your property layout and all your vehicles, equipment, work area, and storage needs.

A Quonset hut uses an arch configuration with two main components:

  • The arches, which come in various widths and heights, are all 2’ deep. Each arch adds 2’ of length to your overall metal building.
  • The endwalls, or the two walls capturing the arches like bookends.
Illustration of a metal shop quonset hut

Illustration of a metal shop quonset hut

 

 

You can always add arches in the future if you want to increase the size of your Quonset hut.

Decide how large you want your prefab metal garage and everything will be shipped in small individual panels that are easily and quickly bolted together.

Quonset huts are also virtually indestructible and rust and fire-resistant too.

That’s because unlike cheap alternatives that are damaged and blown over in harsh weather conditions, our Quonset huts are made of the highest grade heavy gauge steel.

And since there are no internal beams, poles, posts, or trusses to get in the way, you’ll have 100% open and usable space inside.

Never worry about breaking down your material, working around your stationary tools, or storing larger items to work on later.

Now that you know a few of the biggest advantages of building a metal garage, let’s talk about how to design your super functional workspace.

8 Tips for Planning and Designing the Best Workshop

Use these questions to guide the planning stage of your workspace design.

1. What’s the Main Purpose or Goal of Your Steel Garage Building?

Do you need a second garage just for your vehicles, or do you refinish bulky antique furniture pieces?

Having all the space for your hobbies and projects is the first step to designing your workshop.

The beauty of Quonset huts lies in their simple design. Built using 2’ long arches, you have an unlimited length to choose from now and down the road.

So think about your current and future needs.

Then, estimate a few basic measurements to find the minimum square footage you’ll need to store your vehicles, equipment, workbenches, and everything else.

“A good rule of thumb is to have at least 13 to 15 feet of garage width per car,” Benjamin Hardy suggests for BobVila.com, if you’re using your prefab steel garage for vehicle storage and work.

You’ll want to add more to your final size so you actually have room to move around without feeling crowded.

2. Are You Planning Around Your Workbench?

Like the kitchen in your home, the workbench is the heart and soul of your metal garage or workshop.

While you can buy a premade workbench, you probably already have one (or are planning to make one for your new, larger workspace).

Your workbench should be strong and steady, with a hard top surface made to withstand hammering, pounding, and other aggressive force.

Find the length, width and height that makes working long hours comfortable for you.

Rubber mats near your workbench will not only improve traction, these cushions also reduce fatigue and shield your tools from damage if they fall or get dropped.

A workbench should always be ready for work. You don’t want to have to clear off your workbench before you start a new project.

If you have a bad habit of leaving your tools or parts of your project on your workbench at the end of the day, plan for a separate area where you can store them when you’re done, but not finished.

3. Have You Considered Following the Workshop Triangle?

The experts at DIY Network say “efficient workspace design follows a triangle, with the most important workstations at the three corners of the triangle.”

Thinking about your workspace like this helps you design the storage around your workbench.

For example:

  • Corner 1 of the triangle should have all your supplies (e., lumber, metal, etc.). Plan to build storage to hold all your supplies in this general area together.

Place your most-frequently used stationary tools (table saw, jointer, power planer, etc.) near this corner of the triangle so you don’t have to lug heavy pieces around to work on them.

Add extra room around your equipment to move larger materials without damaging anything.

  • Corner 2 of the triangle should be in the centre of the garage, or where your workbench will typically be located.

Being centrally placed means you’ll be close to everything in your steel garage when you’re at your workbench. Keep your hand tools and smaller power tools (hand drills, routers, etc.) nearby.

  • Corner 3 is designated for finishing your projects and working on the finer, smaller details.

When you separate your workshop by function, you’ll always have the right tools and materials exactly where they’re needed.

The triangle configuration makes it easy to move from different phases of your work logically and methodically.

You’ll save time and effort since you’re not searching for tools or carrying them back and forth to your different workstations.

4. How Will You Organise and Store Your Tools, Equipment, and Everything Else?

Design your storage options near the right parts of your triangle and you’ll have everything within reach all the time.

That means no more tripping over bikes to look for the right screwdriver or hunting for screws mixed in cans with nails, nuts, and bolts.

When you build your own steel building kit, you’ll have a blank canvas to design your dream garage organisation.

Your tools and equipment are a huge investment. Protecting them in your metal garage is great, but leaving them all over the floor is a serious problem.

A high-quality tool chest will organise your tools, keep them dust-free, and even secure them with a lock.

Adding drawer mats inside your tool chest will cushion them for extra protection and stop them from rattling around and banging against each other.

Or you could go classic with a pegboard and hang all your tools vertically to save floor space for storage. Or build a system of racks and shelves for storage bins and totes.

There are tons of garage storage ideas online to keep everything off the floor of your workspace.

5. What are Your Plans for Lighting?

Garages without windows can be too dark to see what you’re doing.

You’ll want a variety of lighting options, from ambient lighting for your longer tasks to bright spotlight lighting when you need to see the details.

The better your lighting, the safer your projects. And the fewer mistakes you’ll make.

Today’s energy-efficient LEDs use a fraction of the power of traditional light bulbs for much brighter light. Aim for around 130–150 lumens per square foot of your garage or workshop.

Along with electricity for your lights, you’ll also need to plan for power sources all over your garage.

6. Ideas for Electricity?

You never want to be short on electrical outlets.

Besides the danger of running power tools through several old extension cords, you don’t want to trip over these wires on the floor as you’re busy working.

Long cords can also get tangled in other equipment or stool legs creating the potential for accidents.

You’ll also be competing for sockets if you plan to plug in an electric heater, fan, air conditioning unit, or other device. Don’t forget you’ll be losing sockets to battery-charging tools as well.

So install several power sources where you’re going to need them most. Try not to plug too many tools in the same socket.

Pro tip: Don’t put everything for your steel garage on the same circuit.

Split lighting on one branch and your sockets for power tools on another. That way if you trip the circuit breaker with your powerful tools, you won’t find yourself in darkness too.

7. Will You Need Insulation?

It’s not comfortable working on projects during the heat of summer or wearing a heavyweight coat in the dead of winter.

Add insulation to your steel garage and you’ll be able to work inside during the cold months and keep the place cool in the summer with a fan or air conditioning unit running.

Controlled temperatures also help for painting, staining, and hobbies like homebrewing beer or kombucha, as many successful craft breweries and startups have done before.

8. Will You Create an Off Limits Zone?

Just as your regular garage piled up with stuff from your house, your new steel workshop will have the same tendency — unless you create a plan.

If you’re using part of your steel garage building for storage, mark a line (either figuratively or literally) of where you want that storage space to end.

You can’t have old dollhouses and plastic water guns creeping into your workspace, after all.

By planning for this extra square footage before you build, you won’t lose any of your work shop space when you get started.

Check out our top signs it’s time to build a storage shed if you’re considering combining your storage needs with your workspace.

Adaptive Steel Buildings Knows Workshops and Garages

When you learn all the factors to consider when choosing a prefab steel garage, you’ll see that Adaptive Steel Buildings knows how to design the garage workshop you’ve been wishing for.

Our high-grade Quonset huts are made with Galvalume Steel® .This special steel alloy is 7x more rust-resistant than regular galvanised steel.

Start the ultimate DIY project for your new steel garage or workshop today. Click here for a free no-obligation quote from Adaptive Steel Buildings now!

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