What would you add to your shop?

I’m building a 40x50 pole barn and wanted to see if you could do it over, what would you have added to your shop? There will be gas, electric and water run to it. I’ll have a handful of 240v plugs for welders and air compressors. I was thinking of putting in just a small 240v hot power washer to wash down the equipment at the end of the day. What else do you wish you had? I’ve got an blank slate and want any input for you guys with a shop


I don’t know if this is just for business or a mix, but in hindsight I wish I would have put the overhangs or run ins on it. I can’t remember what they are called, but it looks like the sides on this thing:

I would have also put in a shop sink, a deep one like a laundry tub. I only have floor drains. I put in a bunch of windows and I am glad I did, lets in a lot of natural light and lets me ventilate the space without opening the garage door. Also a chain hoist and a steel beam trolley. Tractor stuff is super heavy.

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Putting a sandblasting cabinet in my shop was a fantastic idea.

Cleaning up rusty parts and fittings during the winter is quite cathartic


We’ve got probably another year before we break ground on our shop but we do already have a bit of a wishlist going.

  1. Remote compressor location
  2. “Mud room” area by man door with full sink
  3. Garage doors on each end of building so we can pull straight through with trailers
  4. Mini split heat pump system

All good ideas. I wanted to do a floor drain but decided it wasn’t worth the money. But I did think about putting a steel beam in the middle to put a hoist on. I feel like that would come in handy

I do want to have a wash sink, think those are good for washing out paint pails and stuff like that. I wish i could do doors on both ends but the way it’ll be set up wont really make it work. Trying to back into a building on a sunny day is like backing into a black hole

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If you’re doing the sink, do a washer and dryer as well. No need to put dirty shop rags or your cloths after a nasty day in the mud in your normal laundry. Not sure if you’re married, but if you are it will be appreciated. Just make the bathroom large enough for a large double utility sink, hot water heater and the washer/dryer.


Not a bad idea! You’re right, that would earn some brownie points with my wife

Doesn’t necessarily have to be on the ends. I see a ton around here where the back of the building is against a fence line so they have one door on the front and one on the side about halfway down.

Yep! The oven would be super handy for parts painted with high temp paint that has to be cured. Good thinking, Nicholai

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Of you guys that have a barn, is it insulated?

Floor drain, fold out doors with large pad infront of building so it creates a shady work space in the summer

Mine is insulated but I did it on the cheap. I found some used 2 inch foam panels with reflective coating that they were taking off a school and used that on the walls. Then I put some OSB on PT 2x4 to cover it. I used 4x8 foam panels on the ceiling halfway, and some faced batts for the remainder (I later on put some fanfold insulation overtop of it because the blowers were knocking it out). Keeps enough heat in it when I use the high btu heater. Once I’m done I shut it off and it goes unheated for the majority of the winter. I didn’t run water out there, otherwise I would have had to use a disconnect or keep it heated due to the freezing temps.

Surprisingly it stays pretty cool in summer, unless I leave the garage doors open. On a side note I bought some junk white paint and painted all the osb white to help light up the garage more. Works ok. I also found some used kitchen cabinets on craigslist and installed them. They were good enough to hold tools and junk.

You could easily install a floor drain and let it run to daylight on your property. No need to have it plumbed into the sewer, unless you live in california or something. A couple of 2x4’s for a form sized to your drain, and then put in some 4" PVC and have it sloped to the drain. I only use mine to clean the floor about once every 2 years, and for the melting snow.

There are people by me that have two stoves in the pole building. They use it for canning.

Would you be willing to post a few pics of the inside of the barn?

After working in various small engine shops for 10 years or so, I’d recommend finding a way to have an air compressor located outside the main building. It can be as simple as an exterior closet/cabinet built on the back side of the building, but throw in some type of noise canceling insulation. And have the cement slab it’s on be sloped in a way to allow you to drain the moisture from inside the tank every so often.


To add onto @PPWofLexSC’s comment, if you can determine where you want the compressor to be, you can offset the wall studs on the sill plate and then when you sheetrock/plywood/whatever interior wall covering you choose it won’t allow any noise to transfer from the exterior wall to the interior wall. My buddy just built a new house and did this in his 1000SF theater room. You can have a movie blaring like a ZZ Top concert in there and close the door and you can’t hear anything other than some faint noise coming through the door because they’re not as well insulated as the walls. Very impressive.

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This is what I am posting. I took a bunch, but the iphone to windows gets finnicky and then I have to change the heic’s to jpg so I can post here. I will give you a couple, I don’t know what the iphone did with the rest of the photos, something about the most recent update making my pictures last 2 seconds or something.

Here is a pic of the only section in the garage I didn’t cover with OSB. You can see the rigid thick foam panels. I lied, they weren’t 2", they are 4". I put a little spray foam around them because they were a bit of a bear to cut. In the rest of the pole building I put PT 2x4 on the posts horizontally and then put OSB over top of that with the nail gun.

Here is a section covered with OSB, painted white, and a mish mash of cabinets. Some I got for free for removal so they could install new ones.

Here is the 4x8 sheets of foam I put on the ceiling. I started using the stupid nail with the plastic covers, then switched to fender washers and exterior screws. I found some cheap tape at ollies and taped all the seams. On top of it (in the rafters) are all the scrap pieces from this job and others adding additional insulation. I left one section untaped so I could access it if needed, and it was needed.

I was going to show you the floor drain, but I forgot all the PW junk is piled up on it.

Lastly, if you have an air compressor, get one of these drain lines to make life easier. No more reaching under it. I put a 5lb plate I got at the junk yard on top of it to keep it from whipping around.

That’s not a bad idea, I’ve got an 80 gallon compressor but I don’t use it much. Most of my metal working tools are Milwaukee M18. The only time I use air is for the plasma cutter, filling tires and a needle gun. Not sure what the cost would be to stick the compressor in a separate area.