Specialized Garage Systems

Think electrical, plumbing, and insulation are the only systems involved in creating a multi-purpose garage? Think again.


Planning ahead for garage systems will make the space more useable and efficient, not to mention comfortable.

By: Chris Hill

If you use your garage for woodworking, auto repair or even gardening, standard home systems like electrical, plumbing and insulation may not have you covered. We'll help you figure out what you need and give you professional tips on installation and design.

Dust Control

If you plan on doing a lot of woodworking or any other hobby that creates dust and debris, a dust collection system is a must. At the low end, you can mount a canister-style shop vacuum to the wall nearest your workbench. At the upper end, you can install a dust collection system comprised of a centrifuge tank that ports hoses directly to your tools. Hoses and pipes can be attached to the walls and don’t need to be installed within them.

Flat Basketball and Air Tank

Flat Basketball and Air Tank

Use an air compressor to inflate basketballs and power nail guns.

Air compressors rarely inspire buyer's remorse. More often, the feeling is, "How did I ever live without this thing?" Yes, they will handily inflate tires and air mattresses. But access to "shop air" brings the wide world of pneumatic tools within reach, and that means next-level stuff like die grinders, impact wrenches and nail guns. Compressors are available in a variety of configurations, from compact "pancake" and portable "hotdog" models (named for their tank shapes) to big, industrial-grade units. Choose an air compressor well-suited to your needs — don't buy a pit-crew model if your duties aren't that heavy — and expect to get what you pay for when weighing value and durability against the price point.


Plan for large overhead light fixtures, such as tube bulb-style fluorescent lights, to provide broad light coverage. Add task lighting as needed for specific work areas, such as over a crafting station. Yes, you can add lamps and undermount lights later, but it's easier to add dedicated lighting while you are already in the process of wiring the garage and have an open ceiling or walls.



If your garage is attached to the rest of your home, make sure the door connecting the two is fire-rated and seals tightly.


If your garage is attached to the rest of your home, make sure the door connecting the two is fire-rated and seals tightly. The goal is to ensure that any noxious fumes, either from vehicles or projects you're working on, don’t enter the living space.

Safe Room

Every spring, we hear about tornado outbreaks in certain parts of the country. While storm shelters once were the norm, new home developments usually lack them. One popular way to add a storm shelter, or safe room, is to add it below the foundation of a garage. You can hire a professional to cut out a section of the floor, dig a space below grade, and insert a pre-fab storm shelter. The shelter is covered by a hinged door that closes flush with the rest of the garage floor. If you are building a garage from scratch, this is an excellent time to incorporate a safe room into the overall plan.

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