The shop has been complete for two weeks. It’s such a sigh of relief to say that. Time to start making sawdust, which is what I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. This will be the last part of the new shop series.
Working in here is still a bit surreal. I finally have elbow room to move around and the layout is working great. The time spent on the layout in regards to workflow efficiency has paid off. The dust collection is great. The lighting is great. The space is incredibly easy to clean up as I work. And most importantly, the climate control is great!
The three major influencing items of the climate control are the AC/heat setup, the roof insulation, and the roll up garage doors.
The shop structure is a 30′ x 40′ pole barn. Due to the 2×6 framing in the walls I’m left with roughly 29′ x 39′ of usable shop space. The loft floor is 10′ from the ground and the peak in the middle of the roof is about 7.5′ above that. The roof peak runs along the 40′ length. The first floor flat ceiling has been removed and it’s one large open volume of air. Those are all important numbers when it comes to calculating the size air conditioner and heater needed. I used an online calculator to determine that a 36,000 BTU AC/Heat Pump mini split system would be necessary for this size space. I contacted a local HVAC contractor with good reviews to come measure the space and give me a quote. His calculations and recommendation on the size of unit were the same.
After a tremendous amount of research I went with a 3 zone 36,000 BTU Mitsubishi mini split system with WiFi controllers. Each interior zone is a wall mounted 12,000 BTU unit. Two downstairs mounted symmetrically and one upstairs in the loft. All three of these units are connected to a single outdoor condenser unit. The system is rated to heat down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. I live in Mississippi where the winters are relatively mild. Rarely do we get below freezing at night in the winter. Every few years our winters are a bit colder than normal but heating down to 5 degrees is plenty acceptable for where I live. If you live in a colder climate, Mitsubishi has inverter heat pump technology that can produce heat at maximum efficiency down to -13 degrees Fahrenheit.
Outdoor condenser unit: MXZ-4C36NA2
Indoor units (zones): MSZ-GL12NA
The contractors installed the entire system with a new concrete pad and line covers. 15 year manufacturer warranty and a one year install warranty. Total cost was $8,951.
Spray Foam Roof Insulation
The biggest offender of heat build up in the structure is from the sun baking the roof all day. I went with just 2″ of closed cell spray foam insulation. I figured I could always add more later for the same cost. Before the spray foam, the hottest reading I took of the roof was 125 degrees Fahrenheit. After the spray foam, the hottest reading I took of the roof was 83 degrees right at the peak. Spray foam in the roof made such a huge difference in how well the space is cooled. I had the AC installed a few weeks prior to the spray foam. The AC could keep the space below 80 but that was with them running wide open all day long. Now I have complete control of the temperature inside the shop. I don’t like it too cold though. 75 with low humidity in the shop is perfect for working so that’s what they are all set to.
The spray foam was installed in a single day. I spent a couple hours the day before putting plastic sheeting on everything. The contractor I used charged $1.96 per board foot. It was a 2″ thick spray and they covered 1889 square feet (roof, gable ends, and inside the header area). Total cost was $3,702.44.
The third large item to impact climate control is the large roll up doors. Each door opening is 10′ wide and 8′ tall. The doors are inexpensive, thin metal roll up doors similar to what you would see on a storage facility unit. The biggest problem with these doors isn’t the fact that they aren’t insulated but rather their orientation to the sun. They receive morning sunlight and because they are brown on the outside they build up a LOT of heat. As I’m writing this I realize that I’ve never taken a heat reading on the doors. But they are hot enough that I don’t want to touch them and when I get a foot or two from them I can feel the heat similar to standing next to a fire on a cool night.
Many people suggested removing the doors completely and building an insulated wall. Absolutely not! The heat in the summer time is brutal here so in the spring and fall months when it’s pleasant outside I enjoy leaving the doors open and letting fresh air in. There’s no way I’d wall off these doors.
The solution is an insulated door of some kind. At the time of this video and article I don’t have a replacement door installed but I do have a set ordered and on their way. Installation should be within the next week or so. I went with an insulated and sealed garage door with an R value of 10.5. Each door will have one row of insulated windows for me to see when someone pulls in the driveway. Those windows, as well as the shop windows, will be tinted. Total cost on the doors to be installed is $2,755.25.
That concludes the shop build. I’ve received a lot of questions and comments in regards to the total cost of the new shop, so here we go… A lot of people think that money and product is just thrown at online content creators these days. To that I say the few (creators) doesn’t represent the many (creators). PureBond provided the plywood for the walls in exchange for product advertising. ClearVue provided the dust collector in exchange for product advertising. And SimpliSafe sponsored one video where they provided the system and a fee in exchange for product advertising. I’m grateful to be a part of those business agreements as I like all three of those products. Everything else has been out of pocket and the only reason I bring it up is to be transparent and to remind everyone that online content creation is a lot like any other business. Lots of risks, decision making, expenses, and consequences.
$8,951.00 – AC/Heat
$3,702.44 – Roof spray foam
$2,755.25 – Insulated garage doors
$2,539.89 – Dust collection
$2,150.00 – Contractor labor
$1,704.62 – Walls: lumber and insulation
$836.78 – All other miscellaneous expenses (electrical, shop computer network, AC repair on old forced air system, etc..)
$22,639.98 – Total cost to go from an empty shell to the current shop setup. It sounds like a lot, which it is, but it’s totally worth it. I had to pull from savings paid for by the business for this to work. It’s money well spent investing back into my business to be well setup for the life of this structure. Aside from the initial $200 I borrowed from household income when I first started in 2012, Jays Custom Creations has always been and will always be debt free. Everything I know business and woodworking related was stuff I researched online. If I can do this then so can you!
Time to make some sawdust.