The temperature is just right and there’s room to work
Enough space to work on three jobs at once, an area for painting and plenty of insulation were the objectives when Evan Schaefer and his son Ryan, of Beecher City, Ill., built their shop. After three years, the post-frame building they assembled from a kit has met every goal.
As hay producers, the Schaefers’ machinery includes about a dozen tractors, three self-propelled haybines, two bale wagons and three semi trucks. "We take care of our equipment and run it as long as we can," Evan says.
The shop occupies a 40'×44' area on one end of a 44'×80' building, with 16' walls. The rest of the building is used for machinery storage.
A 20'×20' corner of the shop contains a storage room, a washroom and a hallway to the machinery storage area. "Putting our air compressor in the storage room, and insulating the inside walls, reduces noise," Evan says. Above is overhead storage space.
Insulation keeps the shop warm in winter and cool in summer. The inside of the outer wall is coated with 2" of spray-on foam. Fiberglass batt insulation between the studs is rated at R19.
Lining the ceiling is fiberglass batt insulation rated at R26. Fanfold insulation (extruded polystyrene foam) under the metal roof prevents condensation from dripping onto the insulation in
Radiant tube heat. During the winter, heat is supplied by a 125,000-btu, 40'-long radiant tube heater.
"We set the temperature at 45°F in the evening, and 55° or 60° in the daytime," Evan says. "During January, our coldest month, it cost $150 for propane.
"In the summer, the daytime temperature remains about what it was the previous night. We have a 5' portable fan for cooling, but we haven’t needed it," he adds.
Machinery enters through 12'×12' and 16'×14' insulated overhead doors. There is one walk-in door and three windows.
Light from eight banks of two 40-watt fluorescent bulbs reflects off white metal paneling on the walls and ceiling. "We may need a trouble light when working in a confined space," Evan says. "But other than that, there’s plenty of illumination."
An exhaust fan in the east wall draws out paint vapor. "We thought we might need a vent in the opposite wall, but opening a window provides sufficient air flow," Evan says.
The 30' workbench has a Formica-like surface. "We got it at a home-supply store for almost nothing because it was blemished," Evan says.
"The only thing we might change would be to go with in-floor heat," he says. "It is more expensive to install, but it would be cheaper to operate."
The shop, Evan says, is "not fancy, just functional. "We have everything we need, and we save money on repair cost. It has handled every repair job that has come up."
- February 2012