Detached Workshop Garage Design

Brian Kissel

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
My quote in 2021 was $15,000.00 for 2112 sq feet. I so far I have not done it. I am looking into Racedeck flooring, but that was around $11000.00 also for commercial stuff. Still undecided.

Regards Brian
My floor was 1600sq feet and was $6500 before pandemic and with the rise of cost of the resins the last 2 years $11,000 is not out of the ball park.
Mine is a tan basecoat that then had flakes cast in to rejection, then scraped and topcoated clear and it is really tough, hides dirt well and the downside is if you drop something small on the floor it can be hard to find. Here in the south it has also stopped the wet floor cycles from the warm and cool fronts that pass thru frequently this time of year.

How easy is it to broom sweep the floor given the chip surface results in an irregular surface? Specifically, are you able to sweep up metal filings/chips easily? Given I do a lot of fabrication in my shop, I end up with lots of filings (die grinder with carbide bit type filings), drill swarf, and metal chips from the bandsaw on the floor. I'm concerned that this type of small metal chip will get caught up on the irregular paint chip surface and be hard to get up.

Howard Jones

I went out and looked at my roll-up doors. Mine seem to have the roll-up drum mounted above the door opening and against the wall high enough to allow the door to feed downward into the side alinement channels as the panels go up and down. This does not leave a gap at the top as you describe. Maybe you could box the whole drum/motor assembly in with a lightweight wooden box leaving only enough gap at the bottom for the door to slide through if that would help any. That would be doable and not a lot of money. You could make it removable or even flip up for maintenance.

As far as the floor goes I had the same dilemma. In the end, I just left the floor cement. I am satisfied with my decision. I use my shop to make things a lot. There is a lot of grinding, cutting, welding, and taking cars apart as well as the odd fiberglass project. In the end, it's not really used to store cars as it is used to work on cars. The money I saved bought me my machine will WANT to finish the floor...............but you don't NEED to finish the floor. Should you have something to spend the money on that you really should instead of the floor then that answers the question for you.

In the end, the floor doesn't really DO anything for you. Not like 10 grand worth of tools or a new engine would. It's up to you. My advice? (free) buy a good push broom and a shitload of tools that you will use forever and don't look back.

Really, really, nice shop by the way.
Well put.

$100 worth of penetrating sealer on a smooth troweled cement floor is hard to beat. It beads up oil and antifreeze, and I don't worry about burning it with slag or abrading it rolling a floor jack over it with metal filings on it.

It's a different situation if the extra 15K to spend and plan on putting a bar and pool table in and display your clean, finished cars.

For a working garage, a box of sweeping compound and a nice dual bristle push broom fill the need.
So I ended up going with a semi-gloss clear penetrating epoxy sealer on the floor. This is the same floor treatment as used in the big warehouse stores and auto repair shops.



Given all the specialized equipment for the surface preparation, I subcontracted the job out. The floor surface was machine ground, expansion joints filled, all gouges/scratches filled and then concrete polished prior to the epoxy being rolled on. It took 2 guys 3 full days (most of it doing surface prep) for the job so the $4,300 cost seemed like a decent deal, certainly better than the $12K quote for the polyurea/colored chip stuff. The spec sheet for the epoxy shows it is impervious to pretty much everything but full strength sulfuric acid. While the sealed surface looks smooth, traction seems good, even when wet.

So far, only the Cobra with a dead motor has been moved in but the milling machine, lathe, and metal shaping equipment will soon follow. Oh, and I can use the electric chain hoist to pull the Cobra motor for the spun bearing repairs.
Floors look great. Shame the Cobra isn't up to laying a few marks... marking her territory.

I suspect your more like me and will make a mess on the floor building rather than polishing wrenches and looking at your collection. Most critical thing is how easily does it clean up and how well does it hide damage. That looks like it will score high on both.


Lifetime Supporter
I had the same thought.....

Workshop looks great, sorry for the dead engine:(

Howard Jones

Good compromise. One thing that occurred to me is can that solution be done after moving in without moving bolted-down benches, drill presses, lathe, and mill. Maybe super clean the floor around stuff and apply the sealer ???
Curious what led to the loss of oil pressure and the spun bearing in the Cobra?

It wasn't loss of oil pressure but sustained 4,000 rpm for about 20 minutes or so. The car has a Ford Motorsport X302 crate motor in it. All in all, a good motor for the price producing about 300 HP. It does have a Canton 7 quart oil pan so I wasn't really worried about an oiling issue. The real issue is the 5 speed with no overdrive in it and 3.50 rear end gears. 80 mph equals 4,000 rpm. I've spun the engine up to 6,000 rpm on occasion but it's only until a gear change and it's right back in the happy zone again.

We were driving on I40 heading toward Flagstaff, AZ. The speed limit is 75mph and I was driving around 80 for about 20 minutes. I monitored the gauges to ensure oil pressure and coolant temps were all normal. When we exited I40 to go down Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona (a very beautiful, must do drive) the engine had a slight "clicking" sound that at first sounded like an exhaust leak. It became a bit more pronounced with driving but more like a loose rocker arm than anything else. I drove it home taking it easy and around 2,200 rpm the sound would go away.

The compression checks out fine, no loose rockers, and there was a metallic sheen in the drain oil. So I'm almost positive it's a spun rod bearing but need to do the full tear down to know for sure. I've been waiting for the new garage to have the space to pull the motor but now need to come up with the cash for a new Tremec TKX in addition to whatever it's going to take to fix the bearing. Oh the joy of having go fast toys :)


That is surprising that 20 min at 4k would do that on a motorsport block. Once you tear down let us know the final diagnosis. I am always curious about failures and how to prevent.
Good compromise. One thing that occurred to me is can that solution be done after moving in without moving bolted-down benches, drill presses, lathe, and mill. Maybe super clean the floor around stuff and apply the sealer ???

I don't see why not. I'd try to get up any oil/grease/coolant from the concrete floor as part of preparation. You might want to surface grind the open areas to maximize sealer penetration.

Here's what the product data sheet for the sealer says:

Westcoat SC-65 WB Clear Polyurethane Sealer is a two component, high solids, water-based, clear
polyurethane sealer that is available in Gloss, Semi-Gloss and Flat sheens. SC-65 provides properties
equal to that of traditional urethanes (such as, ease of cleanability, gloss retention and excellent abrasion
resistance) with fewer health and environmental concerns. The UV, mar and chemical resistant nature of
this product allows it to outperform most other types of sealers.

Concrete must be clean, dry and free of grease, paint, oil, curing agents, laitance or any foreign material
that will prevent proper adhesion. Concrete should be prepared to a minimum surface profile of CSP 2,
per ICRI.

Howard Jones

What do you think 1500 Sq/Ft would cost for just the sealer? Looks like about 140 bucks per gallon. How many sq/ft per gallon did you get?
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What do you think 1500 Sq/Ft would cost for just the sealer? Looks like about 140 bucks per gallon. How many sq/ft per gallon did you get?

Howard: I don't have the complete information to answer your question as I had someone else do the job for me. I seem to remember seeing 4 or 5 cases (each holding 2 gallon cans) in the garbage pile and my floor is about 1,900 sq ft after subtracting out the walls. The product data sheet says, "Coverage for the SC-65 is approximately 200 to 650 square feet per gallon. Coverage will vary based on the application methods, substrate conditions and overall desired finish." On my floor, they applied with long knap roller which I'd think would result in a fairly rich application on the lower end of the coverage scale. I'd think using an airless sprayer and over other product would be on the upper end of that scale. My guess would be to expect something like 200 to 300 sq ft per gallon but that's purely a guess. Oh yeah, they told they were going to do 2 coats (I'm guessing first coat would really soak in) so that would also put it lower on coverage scale.
The interior build out for the workshop is well underway. I'm using used pallet racking to build out workbenches, a mezzanine for storage, and some general storage. I refer to pallet racking as an "adult caliber erector set" as the pieces quickly go together to form the structure.


I'm using racking horizontal beams as floor joists for the mezzanine floor. The beams are 9 feet long and each joist is 13.5 feet long so cutting and welding are required which takes some time. I'm using the angles cut from the ends to gusset the welds on the beam. I'll be able to use the chain hoist to lift heavy items up onto the mezzanine floor.

On the left of the picture where there's several beams close together is where I'm building out storage for sheet metal. Aluminum sheets typically come in 4' by 10' so I'm building multiple trays that size for storage of different alloys and thicknesses. I plan to make a layout table over the storage so a sheet can be pulled from storage and moved directly to layout table with minimum of effort.

This probably looks like provision for a lot more storage than is typically needed for a home workshop. The reason for this is that we're going to be doing a major remodel on our primary home and most of our stuff needs somewhere to go during the remodel.


The Miura project continues to be in a "hold pattern" due to our move from CA to AZ. The bad news part of the move is that there is less garage space at our new home than I had prior. The good news is that we have plenty of land space and no harsh regulations preventing the construction of a "dream workshop detached garage". The main constraint I will have is on the funding side as I don't want to blow all my "recreation funds" on the garage and not have enough left over for the Miura and other car projects.

From a high level, I'm thinking about something like a 50 foot by 30 foot structure with 14 foot walls and a decently pitched roof. I want plenty of height inside for hoist use and a mezzanine in a portion of the structure for storage. The main purpose of the structure will be a workshop. It's not intended to be used for finished vehicle storage and display. I'll have other garage space under the house for finished/running vehicle parking. I want multiple work areas that can be specialized for assembly, fabrication, welding, machining, and maintenance. So far, I've only identified a location on the property and am about to embark on the building permit process. So the type of input that will be most helpful at this stage is the big picture stuff that needs to be included with the set of plans needed for initial permitting.

So my question out to you guys that have had the opportunity to work or experience a workshop/garage of this type, what insights and/or opinions do you have about what you liked in the workshop design/features and what you did not like? For example:
  • Should a toilet and sink type restroom be included?
  • Is a pit in the floor worth the time/expense or is that likely to consume floor space that could be better utilized otherwise?
  • How many doors and what size doors? How important is it to place doors to accommodate drive-thru for things like trailers?
  • Is it useful to build in a small counter top area for organizing paper work, accessing a computer, etc? If so, should it be walled in like a little office or just open to the structures interior?
  • Am I thinking too big or too small on the structure footprint? Home building cars is my hobby but it is just a hobby and I don't intend to run a business at home. I want to "right size" the workshop such that a couple of years down the road I don't feel like I've under or over built the workshop. I do have some large tools/machines like a mill, lathe, power hammer, English wheel, engine hoist, bead roller, Magnabend break, welder, etc. My tool/machine wish list includes a 4 post hoist, Pullmax, box/pan break, and stomp shear. Of those, I consider the hoist the highest priority and the others not as important to obtain.
  • Do the structural materials make a difference in workshop use? Does a stick built or block built or metal building make a difference? I am located in north/central Arizona at 5,100 feet elevation where average winter daytime temperatures are in the 50's and summer temperatures in the low 90's. Winter nighttime temps can be in the teens and it does snow here. Last week we had 8 inches of snow but that melted off in a few days.
So please share your input on workshop design choices and wishes.
If you are in AZ, you are welcome to visit me just SW of Tucson and see what I built.
If you are in AZ, you are welcome to visit me just SW of Tucson and see what I built.

Yes, I'm in AZ but up north in Prescott so still a decent drive away. If I have something that takes me down near Tucson, I'll definitely give you a shout. I always like to meet people in person and see the results of their hard work.


Yes, I'm in AZ but up north in Prescott so still a decent drive away. If I have something that takes me down near Tucson, I'll definitely give you a shout. I always like to meet people in person and see the results of their hard work.
"...what I built" refered to my workshop but you are welcome to check out my car as well. :) Just let me know when you plan to be here. (520) seven eight four- 3132.