You may be thinking about starting to weld as a hobby or setting up a part-time welding business at home in your garage. Or maybe you own a rental property with a garage and have a renter who wants to do some welding in it. Well, we have thought this through before, however, several important things come to mind before setting up your home welding shop.
So, can you weld in your Garage? Yes, you can weld in your garage and many have a welding shop setup for daily use in their garage. We will go over a number of important issues and things you will definitely want to consider if you are going to be welding in your home garage for the first time.
Ok, some may think this is a weird question but there actually are a number of things you should figure out before you start welding on projects at home. In this article we will go over legitimate questions like types of safety precautions and fume control, but what about homeowners insurance? We help answer these questions and more helpful safety tips and ideas.
Questions to consider before welding in your garage:
Are you going to be welding in an attached or detached garage?
Is it legal to weld in your garage or residential area?
How much space do you have to dedicate to your welding projects?
If you are doing other types of projects, like woodworking, can you keep them in their own designated areas?
Do you have a ventilation system in your garage? Will you need one?
Does your homeowner’s insurance have any stipulations or clauses about welding at home?
Before answering these questions you will need to know:
What types of welding jobs will you be doing or hope to do?
What type of welder and tools you will need for the jobs you hope to tackle?
If your welding jobs will be for personal use, business or both?
Is It Legal To Weld In Your Garage?
Yes, it is legal to weld in your garage as long as its for personal and not harming others. If you are welding for business clients, you will need to check with your local zoning to make sure you are in compliance with your local regulations. If you are welding for business you may need a permit and don’t forget about local taxes.
Do I need extra Insurance for welding at home?
We made a call to our local Farmers Insurance agent to ask this question –
Does an insurance customer need to inform their insurance agent if they are going to be welding in their garage?
Our Farmers agent said – no, not if you will be welding for yourself as a hobby and not business. However they stress to their customers the following 2 important factors – safety and setting up a clean welding environment.
But There’s A Catch
Our Farmers Insurance agent noted that if a client planned on welding at home for a business that they would need to contact them and get business insurance. NOTE: Play it safe and contact your homeowner’s insurance and determine what is best for you. You don’t want to find out after the fact that your insurance has different requirements. Be proactive and plan ahead!
Welding protection for your garage floor, walls, and vehicles.
If you have a nice finished garage floor you may be thinking of how you can protect it. Maybe you are leasing or renting your garage workspace and don’t want to worry about a garage floor repair bill. Welding sparks and splatter can even stick to and melt auto glass and windows causing permanent damage. There are several different welding blanket options available online from Amazon and other places that are priced economically starting around $25 and up depending on size. If you want something more heavy duty for just the floor, Rhino Mats and Hog Heaven are more expensive but a good option for protecting the area you will be welding around.
Made from different types of fiberglass: 100% fiberglass, silicone-coated, Vermiculite-Coated, Carbon-Fiberglass Composite and Neoprene-Coated.
Good for protecting benches, equipment, vehicles and other areas from welding sparks and hot metal.
Can be purchased with grommets and hung from the ceiling like a fireproof curtain. Partitions off and protects other areas of your workspace from flying sparks and hot metal.
Made from heat resistant type rubber. Can be purchased with closed cell construction which eliminates absorption of liquids and fluids.
When purchasing for floor use purchase ones with anti-slip / anti-fatigue. When purchasing mats for floor use find ones with beveled edges for ease of wheeling around tool carts and welding carts.
Choosing a welder for home use, MIG, TIG or Stick Welder, differences to know:
All three welding methods have their pros and cons especially when it comes to fumes and clean up of welding slag. Many different models are available in both 110v – 220v standard outlets to dedicated 220. The information below will help you choose the right welder depending on the types of jobs you plan on welding. The breakdown will also help you decide on how much ventilation, and ways of keeping your home welding space safe and clean.
Arc – Stick Welding – Pros & Cons
The cheapest of the three types of welding to start out with and some argue is the easiest to learn. Approximate entry-level cost for an Arc Welder being around $275, not including all consumables. The least amount of consumables are needed to start out welding on a Stick Welder (basically just electrodes). Excellent for welding rusty dirty metal and very portable for working in the field with windy conditions.
Is Stick Welding The Cheapest?
If you are a beginner or a hobbyist, a stick welder is the cheapest route for starting out. Plus, with a stick welder, you can weld anything from cast iron, steel, aluminum and more, you just need to buy the correct electrodes. Finished welds are not as clean as MIG but as you get more experienced you can get pretty close results. Long welding runs take extra time due to frequent change of electrodes. With stick welding, you will also be dealing with more fumes and welding splatter. This is something you will have to deal with welding in shop areas that are small. Stick welders are not good for welding thinner metals or auto body type projects.
MIG Welding Pros and Cons
In our opinion MIG welding is the easiest to learn of the three but some say it takes more time to master then stick. We think it’s up to each individual but starting out cost wise it is definitely more money. The entry level cost to purchase a MIG welder being around $550, again not including all consumables. MIG can weld a wide range of material thin metal – like auto body work to thicker heavy-duty welding jobs. MIG Machines will run Self Shielding (Gasless) or with Gas.
• We wouldn’t recommend self-shielding (gasless) wire on auto body work or thinner metals as it has its limitations on this type of work.
• Self-shielding (gasless) wire produces way more smoke and way more clean up on your finished welds so keep this in mind when making your decision.
Both are great for production runs and longer welds because there is no stopping, starting, and changing of electrodes. MIG Welding with gas is less messy then stick welding but you may need to prep your weld area some before beginning. More consumables are required for MIG like different wire sizes, gas, contact tips, and nozzles.
TIG Welding Pros and Cons
The cleanest of the three welding processes. Very little fumes, no splatter with way less noise and superior looking finished welds. Very precise and great for auto body projects and any project you want a clean cosmetic looking finished weld. Little to no cleaning of finished welds and TIG welders can also be purchased to set up for stick welding too. TIG can be configured to weld just about anything. Not good for production runs or long welds. Two-handed operations (torch and filler rod) plus your foot pedal which controls your electricity/heat. TIG welding takes longer to set up your welding projects and has a much larger learning curve compared to MIG Welding & Stick Welding.
Beginner Home Welding Shop Safety Tips & Ideas
If you are just beginning to weld and looking for free scrap to practice on or create a project, stop by a local fabrication shop and see if they have some scraps laying around you can have for free.
If you are not up for asking a place of business for scrap, hit up your local dump. You would be amazed what you can pick up for free to bring home and practice welding in your new garage welding shop.
Place a free ad on Craigslist or local online Facebook Community that you are looking for scrap steel, will haul away for free. Many people are just happy to get scrap hauled away saving them time.
Do You Need A Respirator When Welding?
We recommend always wearing a respirator even if you are welding part-time or as a hobby! More importantly, when welding anything that has paint on it as it can be very toxic. A good quality economical brand respirator is the 3M 7503 with 2097 or 2297 filters. This respirator fits under your welding helmet, great for welding fumes, dust, and particulates.
Welding Prep hazard – Never clean your welding areas with brake fluid or chlorine. The fumes that are given off when welding can be deadly!
DIY Garage Welding Fume Extractor Ideas
It’s not too expensive or hard to set up your own Welding Fume Extractor, here are a few ideas that are inexpensive and relatively easy to set up.
Simple Box Fan or 2 set up in front of your garage windows to keep the air moving out. A quick and inexpensive one we have set up and used many times, and not just for welding.
A little more industrial and the permanent fix would be to buy 2-3 – 50 CFM bathroom fans (wired together) with an on-off switch. Mount them together on a plywood box with the manifold.
A little more expensive but a quick and even movable vent system would be an 8-inch portable ventilator like this from harbor freight. https://www.harborfreight.com/8-inch-portable-ventilator-97762.html – Add some flexible ducting to connect to existing vent system or vented garage wall, then viola a portable shop ventilator.
We know how it is when you get excited about starting a new hobby, a part-time welding business or anything else that’s new and you are passionate about. There are many others out there welding in their garages and doing it safely and enjoying it at the same time. That’s how we started out our family-owned manufacturing business that grew into a large business with many employees.
Do you have a home welding shop? Share some of your tips, helpful information or even what you build in your shop in the comments below.