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Community and Q&A

Any special considerations for variable use garage

tech1234 | Posted in General Questions on
While I’m fairly well-read on most of the best practices preached here, I have not seen much in regards to best practices while building variable use shop space that would be conditioned sometimes and not other times and could experience significant temperature and humidity swings (both from environmental changes but also from whatever is being done inside the building that day) as well as typical air sealing issues with large overhead doors. 
After years of working in spaces like this I have given up the idea that you should put much thought into energy efficiency of these spaces as opening up a 10×10 overhead door a few times in January kind of defeats all of that. But I am curious if anybody has any ideas about best practices when thinking about long-term durability of these structures.
(I’m in heating dominated NH)


  1. gusfhb | | #1

    You seem to have given up before even starting.

    First, super insulating is a energy over time game, so if you are not trying to heat a building to 70 degrees 24/7 the level of insulation that will have any payback is different, lesser, than in a house.

    Second, just because garages tend to be drafty shacks does not mean they have to be drafty shacks. Insulating that big slab turns it into an asset that moderates the temperature swings. An overhead door is unlikely to ever be green product of the year, but can be made to leak less.

    Third, decide what level of maintenance heat works for you. I personally feel 40 degrees F or so will keep the condensation down, prevent freezing of water based products, and allow reasonably quick warmup when wanting to work. In January I don't mind working in the 50s especially if all my tools are not so cold they stick to bare skin

    1. tech1234 | | #2

      Keith I appreciate the reply. I do not plan to have any maintenance heat. Only a wood stove as this is a rural property. I am more curious about envelope designs that work well for these types of buildings. I am guessing just keep it very vapor open and use materials that wet/dry well...

      I have had lots of buildings like this over the years but I have never opened the walls up after years to see how they preformed

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