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Discussion Starter #1
Planning on building a pole barn next spring. Budget is pretty fixed at this point, unless I want to wait another year. The space I am building on is limited to 40' wide, so the plan is to go with a deeper building. This will be primarly used as a shop, and not for storing vehicles.

Originally, I had planned on 40x64x16. Whichever route I go, I will have scissor trusses in the back, and a 12' deep loft running the width of the building. I will use the top for storage, and underneath, have a 12'x12' conditioned room for storing weather sensitive stuff, air compressor, and a reloading bench. The remaining 12x20 or 12x28 will have tool boxes, work benches, etc.

I will only have two doors on the front, as I want plenty of room to work on vehicles. If I go with 40' wide, my budget will limit me to 48' deep. This would leave me with a 40x36 area for work. I would have 2 bays in front, and then roughly 40x12 behind them for longer term projects/large stuff.

If I go with 32' wide, I can afford to go 56' or 64' deep. This would allow for 4 bays (2 in front, 2 behind).

Right now, I'm leaning towards the 32' wide building, as I think it would be more beneficial to have 4 full bays, vs 2 plus a open area. What are everyone's thoughts?

Cliff notes since this is long winded. Would you rather have a 40x48x16 shop, or a 32x56 (or 64)x16 foot shop?
 

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Simple math shows 32x56 is the smallest & 32x64 is the largest. I'd build 40' wide with the option to lengthen it later.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Simple math shows 32x56 is the smallest & 32x64 is the largest. I'd build 40' wide with the option to lengthen it later.
My only concern with doing that is I don't know when later will be. I'm going to be taking out a loan on this, so later could be 15 years. I know everyone always says go as big as you can, but wondering if I'd be happier getting the depth I want now, or if I'll really kick myself down the road for only going 32' wide.
 

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I built my pole shed 48 wide 58 deep last fall and after using it for storage for one winter knew it was going to be too small for a shop. (Thats my plan in a couple years) I also ran out of money for the year so left it sitting for the winter and saved up.

This spring I added on to it and made it 72 wide 58 deep. Think it will be much better for a shop layout now since the only access by vehicle is on the width side. Gives me 3 big bay doors on the front and two man doors.

I also built a 1500sqft second floor/mez this spring with big gluelam beams so I could clear span all around the shop and only have 4 posts in the way keeping the area clear for vehicle stuff :D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
58x72 would be great, but I don't have nearly the budget, and don't want to clear that many more trees for the space. Here are two rough floorplans. For either one, I'd put an entry door on the right wall towards the front. Also, in each one I'd be using 12' wide doors, and using 12'x24' as the size of each bay.

First is if I go 40x48. Lift would be in the bay on the right, and there would be roughly 11' between the back of the bays and the loft in the back. There would be a bit over 5' between the walls and the overhead doors.



Here is the 32x64. Lift would be in the front right bay, and there would be roughly 4' between the back of the bays and the loft in the back. There would be about 2.5' between walls and over head doors.


I know you can never have enough space, but for this lay out (and only wanting to go 2 bays wide), it seems like there would be more wasted space with the 40' layout, as 5' between doors/walls is a lot of room that could have shelving, but I can fit 2' deep shelving on the 32' wide as well.
 

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I'd say it comes down to whether you need the space of four bays at any given time vs zero room for things like larger stationary tools along the side walls.

If all four bays are full you'll be working in cramped quarters.
 

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one thing to keep in mind is space for working on axles. if you have a 4' axle shaft you need to pull, you may not have the room on the side. you would need to only park on one side, or angle in, or some other option. its also nice to have some room to move around the vehicle.


what is your intended purpose for the shop? place to park vehicles and work on when needed? on a team or something that will be wrenching all the time on one or 2 vehicles? place to store all your and your wifes material things? place to run and hide from said wife?



personally i would go 40 wide. you can easily make it longer, but its a lot harder to make it wider.
 

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Go wider. I hate working in long narrow shops, walking around everything and squeezing by stuff. Give me some room around the vehicle on all 4 sides and let me keep tools close by rather than having to walk to the front of the shop every time I need something.
 

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Go 40' wide. There's really no way to add the 8' to the width later on, but adding to the length later on is a possibility. Plus, having the extra width in the work area is going to be more benefit. Longer and you'll just have a bunch of storage at the end that you never use other than to pile crap.
 

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depending on where in indiana you are, how would you heat it?
unless your a commercial builder anything over 2 bays is storage
my barn is 50x50, 20x30 heated all the time, 30x30 i can heat and 20x50 i can not heat
all with concrete floor, but parking does not need concrete
build what you can afford, no sense spending $50k on a building you can't afford

i've never taken a loan out on a shop, i built what i could afford
 

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Discussion Starter #12
one thing to keep in mind is space for working on axles. if you have a 4' axle shaft you need to pull, you may not have the room on the side. you would need to only park on one side, or angle in, or some other option. its also nice to have some room to move around the vehicle.


what is your intended purpose for the shop? place to park vehicles and work on when needed? on a team or something that will be wrenching all the time on one or 2 vehicles? place to store all your and your wifes material things? place to run and hide from said wife?



personally i would go 40 wide. you can easily make it longer, but its a lot harder to make it wider.
Intended purpose is a place to work on a long term project or two, and room to work on daily drivers/etc. Would generally just be me in the shop. I think with either option I'd have room to work on axles. Most vehicles are under 8' wide, and with how I have it set up, each bay is 12', with an extra 2' on each side.

depending on where in indiana you are, how would you heat it?
unless your a commercial builder anything over 2 bays is storage
my barn is 50x50, 20x30 heated all the time, 30x30 i can heat and 20x50 i can not heat
all with concrete floor, but parking does not need concrete
build what you can afford, no sense spending $50k on a building you can't afford

i've never taken a loan out on a shop, i built what i could afford
South eastern Indiana. Not really planning on heating the whole shop (maybe a salamader), but planning on a 12x12 room under the loft that I will keep heated to store paint, solvent, etc.

I'd love to pay cash for it, but that would mean waiting another 5-10 years, and I'd rather enjoy it for those years than wait. Intrest rate quoted was about 5%, so really not costing much. I've already gone 9 years without a shop (since we built this house), and that's long enough.

why cant you go with the original plan of 40x64? thats what i would do, bigger the better IMO
Because the 40x64 is more than I want to spend.
 

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The way you have it layed out makes the 40' seem like a waste of space to me. Why not cut the loft down to 8' and rund it down the one side? Then you'll have your 32' width and 48' length for your bays, plus adding on down the road won't be that big a deal because you can just go longer and extend your loft if you want.
 

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Go wide. We have a rough setup to you wide bay and it's great. We have a work bench between the bays...even a motor. Shelving each side etc. even then it's sometimes not enough room. DO NOT go narrow
 

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I agree on GO WIDER, you can always add on to the length. My buidling is 50x50. I have 40' wide buildings and wanted more width. It makes a different moving stuff inside of it. When its narrow you will be shuffling everything around to get from one side to the other. I would go wider and shorter if you are on a tight budget, but I would not skimp on the width.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hmm, hadn't really thought about putting it on the side. I'll give that some more thought. Sounds like I should really consider holding off longer on building (unless I put the loft on the side). Making it longer is easy to do, but if I build the loft at the back, becomes a lot more difficult/expensive.

The way you have it layed out makes the 40' seem like a waste of space to me. Why not cut the loft down to 8' and rund it down the one side? Then you'll have your 32' width and 48' length for your bays, plus adding on down the road won't be that big a deal because you can just go longer and extend your loft if you want.
 

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Hmm, hadn't really thought about putting it on the side. I'll give that some more thought. Sounds like I should really consider holding off longer on building (unless I put the loft on the side). Making it longer is easy to do, but if I build the loft at the back, becomes a lot more difficult/expensive.
Not to mention down the road if you go bigger the loft will grow with the building, where as putting it on the back wall you'll basically need to tear it down then rebuild it on the "new" back wall.
 

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Could you build the building all the way back, so when you add its on the front instead of rear?


Or on the side as suggested. I would think that one over hard.
 

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...it seems like there would be more wasted space...
In a workshop? :lmao: I've worked in a LOT of shops, and there was never any "wasted" or "extra" space. Trust me - it's better to have more room to move toolboxes, equipment, & parts between the bays.
 
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