Enivornmental Ideas for your Shop

Sorry for the formatting on this one

Making a shop warm is a relatively
straightforward task, and you have bushels of
choices: from portable electric heaters to
stoves that burn wood, biomass pellets,
or even corn. (No, it doesn’t pop.)
But making a shop into the comfortable
and inviting retreat that you want
requires more than raw Btus. To make
your energy dollars more efficient, you’ll
want to make sure that your shop has
well-insulated sidewalls. And if your
shop is in a garage or freestandingbuilding,
be certain that the attic space above
it has adequate insulation. In addition,
you’ll also need to plan for air movement
within your shop.
Transform concrete lnto a
warm and reslllent surface
If standing on a cold concrete slab
keeps you out of your shop or garage, a
modular air-gap system, such as DRICore,
above, quickly and easily creates a
vapor barrier and insulating air gap
above the concrete surface. As an added
bonus, the new resilient floor reduces
leg fatigue. As a result, you’ll discover
that your shop time is far less tiring.
The 2×2′ tongue-and-groove panels are
easy to transport and simple to install. You
can cut and drill the panels with power and
hand tools. Place %” spacers along the
perimeter of the room and around fixed
obstructions, then tap the panel edges
together using a hammer and block of
wood. For maximum strengtfi stagger.the
.joints between rows in a brick-bond pattem.
At low spots, use the company’s plastic
shims to level an uneven shop floor.
For shop use, you can leave the
oriented-strand-board (OSB) surface as
is, or apply a stain, sealer, or paint. If
you ever convert the space into a living
area, the system serves as an excellent
subfloor for carpet, or “floating” installations
such as laminate or engineered
wood flooring.
When installed over a concrete
floor, a modular air-gap system
creates a vapor barrier and
insulating air gap. The 2×2′
DRlCore panels slide together.
The inset image aboveshows
the air gaps.
The panels have an impressive load
rating of 5,000 pounds per square foot,
and have a low retail price of about
$1.50 per square foot. For more details
about air-gap flooring, see page 20.
Choose the rloht tvre and
amount of iniulatioh
Whether you’re building from scratch
or want to upgrade the energy efficiency
of your existing shop, you need to know
the recommended levels of insulation
for your part of the country. Energy Star
is a joint program of the United States
Environmental Protection Agency and
the Department of Energy. The prograrn
goal is to help people save money and
protect the environment through
energy-efficient practices and products.
Energy Star estimates that a knowledgeable
homeowner or contractor can
saveu p to 2Oo/oo n annual heating and
cooling costs while enjoying additional
comfort as well as the savings. For more
Best-Ever Home Shop ldeas 2009
lnsulation Recommendations for Existing
Wood-Frame Houses.

Insulation amounts are specified by
R-value, which is a measure of the
insulation’s ability to resist the movement
of heat traveling though it. The
larger the R-value, the greater the
insulating ability of the material. Refer
to the USA map and chart above for
recommended R-values in your climate
region of the country.
Start by sealing air leahs
Most air leaks are easy to find because
you’ll feel them as cold drafts in the
wintertime. A stick of incense is another
way to help you find an air leak. You’ll
see the gentle smoke trail deflected by
even the tiniest air leak. Likely locations
to begin your investigation include
windows and outside doors, as well as
electrical switchplates and sockets.
Seal leaks around electrical devices
with inexpensive closed-cell foam sealers.
(Shop in the weather-stripping aisle
of your hardware store or home center.)
Around doors, examine weatherstripping
at the top and sides of the
door. Don’t neglect the seal and sweep
at the bottom of the door.
For tight spaces, aerosol foam sealant
performs well. (Great Stuff and DAP
products are distributed nationwide.)
Use the ordinary variety for generalwoodmagazlne.
purpose sealing, but purchase the lowexpansion
formulation for improvements
around the frames of doors and windows.
That’s because the standard
formulation can expand too aggressively
in these applications, and could even
bow the iambs, making it difficult to
operate your windows and doors.
Duct sealing is another important
step. If your home’s ductwork is accessible
(in an attic, basement, or crawl space,
for example), seal the joints with a special
duct sealer (also called duct mastic)
to help eliminate the loss of heated or
cooled air. Don’t rely on ordinary duct
tape because it simply doesn’t have the
sealing ability to deliver the energysaving
results you want.
Fiberqlass and other
insuliting choices
Fiberglasso ffers an affordablea nd widely
available form of insulation. You’ll find
it in 1-6″o r 24″ widths suitable for studs
or ioists that are spaced on center. Some
batts come factory-cut for standard studbay
lengths so that you don’t need to
trim each batt; other fiberglass products
come as a continuous roll.
As a final consideration, choose
whether you want the fiberglass to have
a kraft paper facing. In most areas of the
United States, the paper faces the living
space. However, in some humid locations
(such as the Gulf Coast), the paper faces
outdoors. Check with your buildingregulation
official for which orientation
is appropriate for your location.
You’ll also find expanded polystyrene
(Styrofoam is one brand) in sheet thicknesses
at your local home center. The
material easily cuts with a handsaw. If
you need to glue these panels in place,
select an adhesive specifically approved
for the application.
You’ll be a fan of this ldea
Unless your shop has an air-circulation
system, the area will probably suffer
from hot and cold spots, air that settles
into temperature layers, and moistureladen
air that collects in corners and
other dead areas. Stale air can produce
a musty smell or even bloom into a
serious mold infestation. Moving the
air helps solve those problems, and it
can also relieve a claustrophobic feeling
in small shops.
If your shop has a high ceiling, consider
a ceiling fan. Manufacturers’Web
sites will help match your shop’s volume
with the recommended number of
fans, their blade diameters, and mounting
heights. In warm weather, you run
the fan so that it blows downward
on you, creating a cooling evaporative
“wind chill” effect. Reverse the fan’s
rotation in cold weather to harvest
warm air from the top of the room and
guide it down the walls without creating
a draft. Both ways, you’ll be more


One thought on “Enivornmental Ideas for your Shop

  1. We are building a new 12,000sf CNC manufacturing facility and curious if you had a recommendation for treating/ sealing the concrete floor that will help perserve its integrity and minimize spills from staining.

    Thank you

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