Why should garage cabinets be off the ground? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-06-2013, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Why should garage cabinets be off the ground?

Hello all! I've been lurking here for a bit while I learn about wood working and I've decided to take the dive and try to pick this up as a hobby. I've decided that my first project is to make some storage for my garage/workshop. I figured, since it's in the garage/workshop, I can make a mess of things and it won't be as embarrassing =).

In any case, it's an older house that is new to me (moving in a few days). It's a 3 car garage, and I'm contemplating putting storage around the garage on 2 sides and using the 3rd spot for my workshop.

I'm envisioning my shelves/storage to look like this (ignoring the wood paneling and ceiling, which is a little out of my budget now):

Credit/Source: http://www.houzz.com/photos/372635/H...ed-minneapolis

I like that they sit on the ground. Common sense (in my limited experience) suggests that the shelves would be stronger this way, and able to support more weight. However, many commercially available "garage storage cabinets" are designed to mount to the wall, 6" or so off the ground. Is there a reason that garage cabinets should be off the ground that I'm missing?
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post #2 of 23 Old 01-06-2013, 05:51 PM
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Wood shouldn't be in direct contact with concrete. Just use an isolator. Could be as simple as tar paper or pressure treated shims. If your concrete is epoxy coated you shouldn't have to worry.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
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post #3 of 23 Old 01-06-2013, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Expoxied floors, check! Thanks!
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post #4 of 23 Old 01-06-2013, 08:13 PM
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"Wood shouldn't be in direct contact with concrete."

That is a rather broad brushed statement. Care to be more specific?

George
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post #5 of 23 Old 01-06-2013, 08:51 PM
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Well, slab floor concrete.

Concrete wicks water. Placing wood on concrete will expose it to moisture from the concrete.

So I'm not talking about concrete on the second story floor of a building because it isn't in contact with the ground to wick water from the soil. Like a garage floor would.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
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post #6 of 23 Old 01-06-2013, 09:48 PM
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Concrete floors against earth are cold, no matter where you live.
Condensation from simple humidity is always an issue.
What can possibly come up through the artificial stone of concrete
is not for me to guess.

Just a mindful idea for air circulation so that you don't wind up with
an uninhabitable moldy, fungus ridden house.
Dope farms go that way, too.
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post #7 of 23 Old 01-06-2013, 10:17 PM
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In the case of the shelves in the picture under the windows, the top also serves as a workbench. You need a toe space for your toes, just like in a kitchen or bath vanity. Some garages are at ground level and may be prone to flooding in extreme weather conditions, not to mention dripping cars, gas fumes, etc.. Shelves or cabinets are just as strong and weight bearing on a toe kick as they would be on the floor, since the toe kick is on the floor. Toe kicks can also be fit to uneven floors so the cabinets are level.

Cabinets and shelves that may be hung from the wall, rather than sit on the floor, are weight rated and designed for that type of installation. You may want to check the stated capacity before loading 20 engine blocks on them. Unfinished bare concrete is permeable and on ground that may contain water. Usually, you don't want anything in contact or close proximity to that potential moisture source. Tape a piece of plastic sheeting to a concrete floor and check it in the morning, there will likely be condensation under the plastic in many garages. Closed in bottoms in these situations can be a great breeding ground for everything that likes damp, dark places. You can't get in there to clean up without moving the cabinets or shelves. Just look behind your kitchen stove to see the nasty stuff that can accumulate where you don't often go.
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post #8 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 12:20 AM
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To avoid the moisture issue like everyone has mentioned.

Just let the cabs set on some 2x (pressure treated) nail together to form a base, then cut some ply same species as the ply your building the cabs out of, stain with the same stain the cabs are stained with, nail to the base and your good.

Leo..

good to see you here.
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post #9 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 12:46 AM
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What brings you over to this side of the tracks?

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #10 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 05:10 AM
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Well my shop slab has a vapor barrier and is 8" to 12" thick. ( I was in a hurry and ran out of fill so I called an extra cement truck) anyway I dare you to find moisture in that slab. Even before it was climate controlled and was raining every day it was dry as could be.
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post #11 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo G View Post
What brings you over to this side of the tracks?

No Ive been coming here for a while.

I mostly lurk but I like the site.
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post #12 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 06:42 AM
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Garage cabinets should be off the ground for ease of sweeping, cleaning.
All cabinets usually have a 4" toe-kick to facilitate this.
If your boxes sit directly on the floor, they will always be full of debris swept or just blown into them, especially in a garage.
A horizontal wood toe-kick base is plenty strong enough to support them.
If you are really worried about "moisture wicking" laminate bottom edges with formica.
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post #13 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 08:55 AM
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A lot would depend on the garage. I've seen a lot of garages that were so dry there wouldn't be any different putting the cabinets on the floor as it would putting them on the slab in the kitchen. I have also seen garages where cabinets should be well off the floor. I think on average putting nylon tacks on the bottom of the cabinets would be enough.
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post #14 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 12:37 PM
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for garages, more imortant than cabinet height, is spark source height (electrical outlet, furnace, hot water heater heights - 18" min) if cars are still being parked inside. lower 18" is hazardous. outlets are normally 48" high.
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post #15 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 02:47 PM
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You could read this if you'd like

http://www.crownpolymers.com/article....3%20Final.pdf

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #16 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 03:04 PM
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I put all my shop and garage cabinets on rollers so I can move them around for cleaning. Plus, it makes it easier to reconfigure things if I get a new tool.
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post #17 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 03:12 PM
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Y'all have got me worried about my workbench. Maybe I should tear it down and rebuild. It has only been sitting on the concrete floor of my garage for the past 26 years with no damage. :-)
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post #18 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 03:22 PM
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There have been a few times in my 8 years since being in this shop that I have seen water on the floor from being pulled up from the ground. It is not very common and happens only on extremely humid days when the temperatures change suddenly. I have no AC so there is no real humidity control. I put my benches up on PT shims just in case. I have other benches that are smaller and don't have the shims, they get moved around a bit. They don't really get damaged from the water.

But when you say cabinets that means kiln dried wood and plywood. Both of which will absorb more water than my 2X benches.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #19 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 03:34 PM
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While more prevalent below ground for water wicking all concretes are porous. The amount of water absorbed from the ground will change with climate and soil type. I've seen wood sit on concrete for years with no ill effect and then i've seen some places where within months things have begun to mold over. Its all relative. I would rather take precautions then risk my health again to mold.

A fellow with the inventiveness of Albert Einstein and the attention span of Daffy Duck
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post #20 of 23 Old 01-08-2013, 06:27 PM
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Leg supports for work bench

Winter time in the "Wilds" of Northern Pennsylvania provides ample opportunity for "Dunging-off" the truck and car. Salt and mud are not easily removed without lots of water. Here is my solution for those permanently mounted benches and shelf posts. Simply bore a hole in the base of the legs (close to the bolt diameter) and insert the bolt, nut & flat washer. The picture shows a large heavy flat washer tacked to the bolt head, but it would not be absolutely necessary. My local Tractor Supply sells hardware by the pound, so this is an inexpensive solution. If you are wondering, the bench top is Spruce, sawed by my local mill, Air dried and planed in the shop. It was screwed together in groups of eight and then run through the (12") thickness planer again to flatten.
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Last edited by Kuh Shise; 01-08-2013 at 06:36 PM.
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