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Car Barn interior design ideas
Well, I've contracted to have a 40' x 50' car barn built. It will be a pole barn, with 12' walls, and a scissors truss so I can fit a lift inside. Concrete floor, of course. The shell should be done before the end of March.

Now I am trying to figure out the interior layout. I want to have a clean room for working on engines, etc, and also a tool room to store engine hoist, engine stands, and be a home for the air compressor. I know there are a bunch of other things that can be done. No I am looking for ideas on layout and floor plan ideas, etc. All suggestions and comments appreciated.

Rusty, a 1973 Mach 1, needs a lot of work.
Billy, a 1976 Ford Bronco, also needs a lot of work.
El Guapo, a 1986 F150, frame-off Resto-Mod.
Bubba, my 1994 F150, daily driver
Formerly, a 1973 Ford Mustang Coupe - a work in progress, then a car-b-qued banana.
Just remember the strippers pole should be far enough from everything that it don't get splashed with oil or glitter Tongue

He has all the vices I admire and none of the virtues I despise
Leave some room around the lift to store a transmission jack and other tripod jack stands used under the lift. I use high bay lights in the high ceiling areas around the lift they reflect well off the floor to help light up under the car..
judge;212221 Wrote:Leave some room around the lift to store a transmission jack and other tripod jack stands used under the lift. I use high bay lights in the high ceiling areas around the lift they reflect well off the floor to help light up under the car..

Judge - please post of some pics. Especially showing the mounting locations of the high bay lights.



1971 Boss 351  
1972 Q code 4 speed convertible 
1971 Mustang Sportsroof  351-2V FMX 
1973 Mach 1 (parts car)
Hi Ron,

Your car barn plans sound fantastic. Without going into endless specific ideas, i would think the crucial aspect to fitting and kitting out the place, revolves around a budget or how much you want to end up spending overall to set up the place to your personal requirements.

The mind boggling array of equipment and gear available today is incredible. It doesn't take long for the bucks to get out of hand before you're finished planning on what you want. So maybe some feedback from you as to what you want to spend overall would help guide us to give advice on your setup.The more detailed and elaborate the layout, the more the costs go up.


Well, Austin Vert, the budget isn't limitless, but I can spread some things out over time, and am pretty handy when it comes to carpentry, wiring, and plumbing. I was going to put an epoxy floor cover down, and then add more insulation to the outer walls and roof, and eventually cover them. The scissor trusses are 10 ft apart, so between trusses I have about 18 ft to the peak, and about 14-1/2 ft at the peak of the trusses. There's a 10 x 10 overhead door front and center and an 8 x10 door on one side in the back. 2 man doors and 6 3x3 windows.

Judge had some good advice about leaving room around the lift for trans jack and supports. Thanks, Judge. I was going to put my air compressor in the tool storage room, and pipe air to the shop. I saw an air drier which intrigued me, and probably isn't much more expensive than running a bunch of copper pipe to let the air cool off and moisture condense out.

4 ft flourescent lights should be fine for the clean room and tool room. I looked at the high bay flourscent fixtures and think that might be the way I'll go.

My head is still reeling around equipment and tool placement. I was thinking about having an enclosed room for fabricating stuff, where I could do all my cutting and grinding, but then I realized I'd be cutting and grinding on the cars and trucks, so it really wouldn't serve a purpose. Some suggested adding non-slip to the floor cover, but that would make the floor more difficult to clean. I don't plan on having it get wet, at least not often, and then will wipe up my spills straightaway so that shouldn't be a problem. I may use the non-slip around the sink and in front of the doors, but not in most of the shop, since I want to be able to clean the floors easily.

I do plan to have a fridge, so I can keep water, soda, and adult beverages cold, and it will have a freezer to chill a differential so the ring gear will slip on. Not sure where I will put the fridge, though. Any thoughts? I was thinking of putting my parts washer near the sink, so I can wash up easier.

So many possibilities, and I will probably not think of some, or forget others. I'm going to be retiring here, and plan to use this shop for the next 25 years. If you were in my shoes, what would you want to include in your dream shop?

Rusty, a 1973 Mach 1, needs a lot of work.
Billy, a 1976 Ford Bronco, also needs a lot of work.
El Guapo, a 1986 F150, frame-off Resto-Mod.
Bubba, my 1994 F150, daily driver
Formerly, a 1973 Ford Mustang Coupe - a work in progress, then a car-b-qued banana.
First factor in the placement of all of the cars with enough room to open doors up on either side would be my suggestion. Then start laying out your work areas and tool storage needs. You have seen my garage and I only wish I would have planned a larger single car bay area so I could open doors completly on both sides and have a 10 foot entry door vs an 8. Oh well. I have already planned out my next one when we sell the current house.

I am also going to go with a steel frame, but sheath the outside to match the house. I am planning a 60 x 60 pad with a 40 x 40 L shaped garage on the pad. This will give me 2 two car entry doors and a 1 car work bay in the corner of the L. I have seen plans of this layout and I like the flexability of having the corner of the L as the work area.

Keep us posted on your layout and plans.

72 Mach 1 H-Code (Concourse driven restoration)
67 S-Code Factory GT with 4-Spd

68 Mercury Cyclone (Pro-Street project)
Do the industrial epoxy as soon as the floor is cured. They kit we used came with some sand that you mix in to make the floor non slip and it does not make it hard to clean. One corner of our shop has a TV, stereo, computer and a small fridge. We like watching car shows while working on them . The computer is a must as being able to pull up websites like this one while working in the shop has really come in handy. We bought used racks (like the ones at home depot) and they line both sides of one end of the shop. We have engines, transmissions etc. up and out of the way. We bought an old forklift on Craig's List that needed a valve job so it was cheap. It is really needed for the racks but I think it came I the most handy when the lifts were delivered. We run one two post asymmetrical lift and two four post for car storage. We made a table out of a large piece of 1 1/2" thick steel and that is our main work / welding table. Plan on lots of bin storage. We just recently added a bolt bin and that has saved many a trip to the local hardware store. It is amazing how fast wall space goes. Between the parts and bolt bins, hose and wire racks and of course tool boxes. Hardly leave any room for the old signs which explains why they are still sitting on the shelves. Our shop is a metal building and we had the inside sprayed with foam to insulate and it helps reduce the shop noise to the neighborhood. We then framed out the lower 8' with metal studs and added insulation and dry walled (of course electrical). We have an old mill and a lathe so for that area and where the welding table is we added 4' x 8' aluminum diamond plate sheets over the drywall. Looks great, reflects the light and keeps the wall safe

Is the 40' open span or are there support columns in the interior?

[Image: 4zw1hv.png]

1931 Ford Model A Station Wagon
1969 Mach 1 - 351C, TKO-600, 4WDB, R&P, A/C, Shaker, Fold Down, etc.
1972 Mach 1 - 351C, FMX, PDB, PS, A/C, Fold Down, Console
1996 Mustang Cobra Convertible - 10psi Procharger
How many cars are you planning on working on/storing at any given time?

A couple of things I would consider:
  • No 'speckles' in the epoxy floor covering. Get a mid-to-lighter tone color, for ease of finding small parts when you drop them - speckles will only complicate that - trust me on this
  • Put your "clean room" & tool storage along the 40-ft wall, and build a loft above for even more storage, or the "office/lounge" area to minimize wasted space on the floor. Have a TV on the wall of the main floor, as well as a small mobile cart for a laptop (with WiFi) for looking stuff up on the fly), but give yourself a dedicated place to sit down and relax when taking a break or doing the heavy research. Put it somewhere you can see the project you're working on - often times for me, just sitting down while I ate lunch or took a break and being able to see the car would inspire me enough to get through the next step or come up with a game plan.
  • Leave the tool storage area open, with plenty of 'nooks, crannies, shelves, etc.' so everything has a home. Having to go through a door into a tool room is a PITA when you have a lot of things to put away.
  • If you have the room in the middle of your tool storage area, put an island with counter space so you can set tools down when putting them away/taking them out - this will be huge in keeping stuff organized, eliminating the need to put something in something else's slot to get at something underneath or behind it. Plus, put small, frequently used tools and stuff in drawers or shelves in the island. Could even be a portable tool cart or something.
  • Wherever you put counter space, put wall cabinets above. If you build-in work bench areas, put pegboard on the wall above to hang tools you need at that particular bench, if it becomes dedicated for various tasks. (If you have a bench for welding, put welding stuff on the wall above it, etc.)
  • Put the stairwell to the loft along the exterior wall at the end of the tool storage area, to extend the dedicated storage along the hard-to-use space under the stairwell.
  • Put the door to the "clean room" closer to the center of the shop (away from the exterior wall) - it will allow you to use the corner between the door and the exterior wall for the parts washer and sink - so you don't have far to go when shuttling pieces parts for cleaning/reassembly, etc.
  • Leave yourself some room between the parts washer and sink for a bench and/or counter, so you can have a place to set the items you're cleaning.
  • Try to locate the switches for the air compressor and other frequently used important things (like exhaust fans, HVAC, shop lights, etc.) next to the main 'man door' you'll be using to enter the shop - that way those things can be the first things you turn on as you arrive, and the last things you turn off as you leave.
  • Locate the lift to be directly in-line with one of the roll-up doors - pushing a car in/out to/from the lift is a WHOLE lot easier if it's in a straight line.
  • Depending on how much room you have leftover, putting the big roll-up door smack in the middle of a wall may or may not be helpful when it comes to moving vehicles in or out. Staggering it off to one side (not against the other wall, obviously) might be helpful, depending on if you want to angle-park or make 90-degree turns to park inside once inside.
  • If you're planning on storing a boat or RV, you need to set that up so you can get the vehicle in/out without interfering with anything else you have going on in the shop, otherwise you'll hate having it there... and write-off that space in the shop as gone (whether it's occupied or not, otherwise you'll need another building because your stuff will backfill it in a hurry).

I wish I had the room to build such a facility myself, but only having a quarter acre lot in a subdivision doesn't lend itself to any kind of large space when the driveway is in the rear as well. I'd be happy with an 8x15-or-20 outbuilding to store the yard gear and have a place for my airbrush so I can get my Jeep back in the garage. Wink

Hope that helps. I know there was probably some 'Duh' stuff in there, sorry for that. Just kept putting it down when I remembered some of the things I would've done differently had I been in charge of setting up the Auto Hobby Shop, rather than just got stuck using it as it was.


[Image: mach1sig2.gif]
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