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Dangerous Doug 05-25-2004 12:46 PM

Garage Mahal
Short of owning a Cobra project and in preparation for the Cobra of my future, I turn my attention to a garage remodel, dubbed "Garage Mahal".

So far I've installed 16' of countertop and cabinet space, complete with a stainless steel sink, and hot water heater. I've built a mobile work bench (designed to fit a Jag IRS for a rebuild) that I can move around or in and out of the garage as needed. I've installed rubber moulding along the baseboards, and am now turning my attention to the ceiling, which I am framing in for sheetrock.

The center of the ceiling will have cabinet doors that open upward and latch with magnetic latches so I can access the rafter space for storage. The rest of the ceiling will be sheetrocked, taped and textured. After, of course, I install the lighting. Which brings me to the question that I have for this thread.

I have two different types of lighting in mind:
One is to use recessed lighting in the form of the round recessed light fixtures you often see in houses. I could put either incandescent bulbs or fluorescent bulbs into these fixtures. I have this type of lighting in our family room, and it looks classy and provides perfect lighting for inside a house. Not sure how well this will work for a garage/shop.
Alternatively, I'm considering recessed fluorescent tube lights, similar to what you would find in an office building. These recessed lights consist of four fluorescent tubes in parallel in a recessed fixture, with a plastic cover even with the ceiling to help disperse the light. These would provide a great deal of light, but I'm concerned that they'd look "dated" since modern offices are moving to indirect fluorescent lighting.

So, I'm interested in what some of you other Garage Mahal types have done with your garages in terms of lighting.

Anyone care to post any pictures or offer some advice on the lighting choice?

Dangerous Doug

cobrajeff 05-25-2004 01:57 PM

Doug -

I did some remodeling in my garage a year or so ago. Had to have a ceiling hung. While we were at it, ran drops for air lines on all four walls, added electrical outlets, recessed lighting fixtures, a skylight, and a ceiling fan.

Had a cathedral-style ceiling put in one bay to make room for a lift (one of the best tools I ever bought).

We seem to have a lot of "power outages" around here, so I thought the skylight might help to be able to see to get around in a garage with no windows.

The flourescent lights seem to work pretty well. The one at the top right of the picture above is not a light fixture, but my skylight. One problem I have found with the skylight is that it seems to attract lots of small flying insects. The skylight is tunneled into the ceiling - the bugs fly up there, looking for an out, end up getting too hot, dying, and falling all over the car. I have added a translucent plastic panel, just like the lights, to cover up the "tunneled" area. It has helped, but not completely eliminated this issue.

I was also a little concerned about sun load on the car from the skylight - but, figure I keep it covered pretty regular, so that shouldn't be a big deal (who am I kidding - this is Michigan - we haven't seen the SUN in six months!).

My original plan was to put glass panels in the side walls near the top. The contractor thought that would be a lot of work, and was going to be a lot more expensive than a standard skylight.

My garage isn't big enough (they never are, are they?), but it does provide me a real comfortable place to tinker with my favorite toys.



Dangerous Doug 05-25-2004 02:32 PM

CobraJeff: Quite a stable you have there. Garage looks great. Skylight is a great idea, but I think the Minister of Finance (the wife) would flip her lid if I go much further than I'm currently planning. I'd probably bake in CA with skylights, too.
I've a ceiling vent/fan to extract the hot air from the attic. I'll embed some vents in the ceiling so air will be drawn from the garage.

Good idea on the air lines. What kind of tubing did your contractor use? 3/4" copper?

By the way, the windshield on your Cobra has quite a rake to it. Is that an adjustable rake function on, what is that, an ERA?

Dangerous Doug

BeanCounter 05-25-2004 02:46 PM

Lighting has been my biggest problem. I tried fluorescent's but had to hang them too high due to the lift. So tried mercury vapor and they don't give off enough light. Finally settled on two sets of contractor halogen tripod lights which work out just fine. A large propane tank hooked to a big contractors heater makes for 5 minute warmups in winter. Summer still is pretty hot as I only have a large contractor fan to cool the place. Back when we remodeled the production facilities for our restaurants I latched on to a bakers table. 12 foot long x 3 1/2 foot deep x 4 inch deep butcher block table with 40 slide out ingredient bins it makes the best workbench you ever saw. Grinder, buffer, and vise are mounted on table with drill press and other assorted tools on individual stands near the table. Now if I only had a blasting cabinet.

Double Venom 05-25-2004 02:56 PM

Is that a "Kentucky Steel Building"? Where's the top girth on the end wall? :)

My new "Toy Store" looks almost like that! I just don't have a roof yet!

DV...The Fling is WHEN! If you WILL come back!

ToyCollector 05-25-2004 03:42 PM

I checked my gallery and I know I deleted most all pics of my garage so I do not have any to show you. But in essence, I use about 4 double bulb flourescent flush mount unit (the new style with the thin bulbs and no hum) per bay in the middle right about where the corners of a large car would be, and incadescent cans over the work bench. I have not had a single complaint other than I would maybe run a flourescent over the work bench for more even light. The flourescents over my lift bay are easily 20 feet plus in the air, and do the job quite nicely. Skylights are good for daytime lighting, but here in the south the UV will quickly fade an interior and deteriorate plastic so if you do them, get some shades for them. I am actually going to put a shade on the one ground floor window to lessen UV infiltration and for privacy/security. You can get a kind that you use a pole with a hook on it to grab a ring on the end of the cord to raise and lower--I have them in my house. Good luck with your project and feel free to reach me via PM or do a search on some of the other garage builds for ideas.

BeanCounter 05-25-2004 03:46 PM


No, the owner of Worldwide Buildings lives down the road from me. He buys in the metal but all of the supports are built right there in beautiful downtown Peculiar, MO. I'm not quite sure what you mean by the girth on the end wall. The building also has a 22 x 26 open ended loafing shed across part of the back where we keep all of the horse hay, gokarts, four wheelers, wave runners and other assorted toys that all grandfathers must have to keep grandsons amused.

Was hoping to meet you at the Fling but the guy who was going to trailer with me is having a hernia operation instead (oh great). Maybe next year.

BeanCounter 05-25-2004 04:05 PM


do you use any type of diffusers for the lights or just bare bulbs?

southernfriedcj 05-25-2004 07:54 PM

In my garage I had 21 can lights installed. They light the place up pretty good.
As an aside to the metal building comments, I was at my local Linex dealer today gettin' the new SD Fords sprayed, when he started talking about issues with the new shop is is getting ready to build. The 3650' building was quoted at $21k for the steel in Jan, he is now ready to start and the price is $45k! If he waits a couple more weeks he was told it will rise another 35%! What a drag.

cobrajeff 05-26-2004 05:25 AM

Doug -

The guys used 3/4" "black pipe" (iron) to plumb the air lines.

My windshield is definately 'laid back". The car is an ERA FIA, and the windshield mounting was such that the windshield could be positioned either way. I preferred the "laid back" look - however, it DID create some issues when it came time to fit the top. I had to do a bit of rework to the top bows to get the top to fit it (and still haven't gotten around to fabricating a set of custom side-curtains).


RICK LAKE 05-26-2004 05:37 AM

Dangerous Doug Pvc plastic tubing is the way to go. It's cheaper that black pipe, easier to run around the shop. It's good to 300 psi. Ancle it down on the ends to drain the water out of. There was another system that was on trucks show. Mad of Alum with a blue coating would also work great. Rick Lake

RockSnake 05-26-2004 10:09 AM

whoa, I'm beginning to think I'm running with the wrong crowd. If I ever had a garage that pretty, it would only be because I had another building in which to do all my work. On second thought, that garage is nicer than some houses I've lived-in.

Dangerous Doug 05-26-2004 12:24 PM

RockSnake: Having a nice garage comes in handy, just in case your wife finds out just how much money you've been spending on your Cobra and you need a place to sleep for the night.

Beats the dog house.

Dangerous Doug

Dangerous Doug 05-26-2004 12:34 PM

So, I'm heading toward the recessed can lights --- though only 6 of them and not 21...

SouthernFriedCJ: Just how big IS your garage, anyway?

I'll stop something short of installing crown moulding...

southernfriedcj 05-26-2004 05:21 PM

Doug, the garage is a 4 car, but I got a deal when I built the house. Electricians around here charge from $50-$75 per can, but when I built my house I got a flat rate to do all the labor. I love cans, so I had about 180 installed in the house and garage.
My old house was always too dark, now I can heat the thing with can lights.:D

ToyCollector 05-26-2004 05:41 PM

Correction on my posts, I have 6 double bulbed flourescent for each bay. Straight bulbs, no covers or diffusers. Trust me on this, at night, it is like daytime in there.

Tinker51 05-27-2004 09:23 AM

A friend of mine built a garage that I dubbed the Garage Mahal a couple of years ago. It is a 6000 square foot building with a storage side and a shop side. The building is actually two Butler metal buildings put together. On the storage side (70' x 40', where I keep my ride actually) he put up six flourescent fixtures with two high intensity bulbs each. plenty of light and if you wanted to recess them and put covers in your building I am sure it would still provide all the light you could want. Do yourself a favor and run power and air drops as long as you are at it. They are very handy.

Michael C Henry 05-27-2004 07:37 PM

My son has my digital cammera.When he returns it I'll show a garage that will make you all sympathtic.Plus I have stuff down stairs and in my litle den.I wish I had a garage like some of you guys.

Unique580hp 05-27-2004 10:29 PM

Make Mine a Log Cabin
1 Attachment(s)
Mine is a log building built in the 1800's.

BMK 05-28-2004 01:24 AM

This Post could easily be hijacked to...


"Who has the best garage"?


Come on guys POST some pictures.



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