What happens when you expand a hobby? Obsession aside, you usually run out of space. Sometimes a garden shed does not provide enough space for your growing passion so you need to go one step further and build a workshop where you can spend many happy hours doing what you love best.

There is much to consider when building a workshop. The construction method is usually constrained by finances. Those with the biggest budgets get the best buildings; it’s as simple as that.

Let’s imagine that money is no object for a moment. Here is how to build the perfect hobby workshop.

The Foundation

Our workshop is going to be brick built with a cavity; the same as many homes. To support the shell of the building, it must have adequate foundations. Now, the size of the building will dictate the size of the foundations, but our workshop is going to be the size of a large garage so we will work to that. Dig a trench for the footings three feet deep and two feet wide; that should be plenty. Use an online concrete calculator to figure out how many bags of sand, cement and gravel you will need to fill the trench up to halfway. Hire a mixer, the hard work is about to start. Mix the concrete using these proportions.

  • One Part Cement
  • One Part gravel
  • Two Parts Sharp Sand

The concrete will set in a couple of days.

The Walls

Start the walls with hard bricks suitable for foundations. When the wall reaches ground level, lay a damp resistant barrier and continue building with ordinary bricks. Add insulation to the cavity as you work. It will help to keep you warm when you are working throughout the winter months without running the heaters constantly. Natural daylight is desirable in any workshop so leave a gap for a window.

The Floor

Dig down six inches and remove the soil. Put a damp proof membrane in place and pour concrete in. I advise you to have such a large volume of concrete pre-mixed and delivered to site because mixing this volume yourself is backbreaking and time consuming work.

The Roof

If you are building an apex roof, have the rafters assembled and delivered as complete units. Build the roof similar to that on your house, with roofing felt and tiles. Continue building the walls up to the top of the apex at both ends. If the workshop is to have an open roof space, fit insulation panels between the rafters.

Access

The best solutions for your workshop, especially where space is limited, are overhead doors. They do not intrude into the workspace or area outside, and are electrically operated for your convenience. People who restore cars for a hobby find these to be ideal because they do not take up any valuable space.

Power

If you are employing an electrician to install electricity, don’t skimp on the number of power outlets and lights in your shop. You will probably be using some bench mounted machinery, so install the power outlets at the optimum height for them.

If your building is constructed in this way, it will be a permanent structure that will last for decades. I wish I could afford one; maybe one day I will.

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Photograph by Riley Porter

 

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