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When we sat down to red-line the plans for our house years ago, we realized that while the builder had constructed hundreds of homes, this was our first. So we asked him: What would you do if this was your house? He immediately recommended a couple of changes (some of which we’d already put on our list), like moving the hot water heaters from the attic to the garage. But my absolute favorite — which I’d have never considered: Add plumbing for a sink in the garage.

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Since we made the change prior to construction, my prized garage sink cost a whopping $125. ($75 for the plumbing and $25 for the plastic sink, pictured.) It’s easily the best $125 we spent on the house.

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Besides the obvious ability to wash my hands in the garage before dragging whatever filth I carry into the house, I also use the garage sink to clean up the grate on my grill, fill buckets to mop the garage floor, and about a hundred other things. I’d hate to be without it, and I’d really hate to think about how difficult it’d be to add a sink later.

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33 Responses to Building A New Home? Add A Garage Sink

  1. Pete D says:

    I like the idea, but it would need to have inside shut offs for winter shutdown in many places (anyplace I’ve ever lived). And, no, I’ve never had a heated garage.

  2. Chris says:

    When I bought my first house and speced it out I never even thought about putting in a utility tub. I figured the kitchen sink would work. If I could go back in time I would kick my 25 year old self in the but and make me get the sink put in…plus about 10 other things I’ve realized I “wish” I had done over the years.

  3. Toolhearty says:

    Great. Now I have sink envy. Well, actually, I’ve had it for some time.

    (detached garage in Great White North)

  4. Will E. says:

    Even better, we bought a house with a bathtub in the basement!

    It was mounted a couple of feet up off the floor. (The previous owner had used it to wash dogs.) We’re moving soon, and that tub — plus the neighbors on our right — are what i will miss most about that place. The new house doesn’t have a tub or a sink in the garage, and I might spend my winter evening scheming about fixing that…

  5. browndy says:

    Better yet, our contractor suggested a urinal. Turned out to be one of the few good ideas he had, but we didn’t take him up on it…he had one in his garage, which allowed him and his buddies to play poker on Saturday night while his SO sealed the door against their cigar smoke…

  6. Rick says:

    I have one in my garage and in the basement (walkout). They are worth every penny and then some. One piece of advice is to get a good strainer that can easily be removed. We use ours in the garage for filling watering cans for flowers, cleaning hands after working on cars/yard/etc…..I hook the garden hose to the faucet (another key feature) and then I can use hot water to fill my bucket…who likes washing a car with cold water??? The sink was in my house when we bought it so cant take credit…but use it a lot!

  7. Colby says:

    I see your corny keg there.

  8. Fred says:

    Great idea unless your upscale community doesn’t allow you to have water in garages or that shed your architect designed for the solar power installation. I did say upscale didn’t I?

    Seems that the zoning board is afraid that if there is water there for the gardener then you might someday be hosting illegal aliens or something.

    Waukesha.

  9. NickC says:

    I second Rick with the value of a hose hookup. If you are hooking up a sink I would put a secondary dedicated hose hookup over the sink (so it leaks into the sink) since it seems like a really cheap addition to the overall project costs and would let you use both the sink and the hose at the same time. It would also let you just keep the hose attached as opposed to threading and unthreading it from the faucet. As for a urinal I would also make sure there is a hose hookup near by to make cleaning much (more likely) easier. Interesting, urinals are more expensive then I had guessed (Amazon has them $250-500+ depending on features).

  10. Chris says:

    Fred: You mean to say that associations can actually regulate what happens *behind closed doors*?

    I think I’d tell them to go f*** themselves and install it anyway.

    cl

  11. Jim K. says:

    @ Toolhearty

    At least you just have sink envy. I still have house envy out here in the sf bay area.

  12. MeasureOnceCutTwice says:

    Never got around to building the house, but had plans for a year-round sink in an unheated garage. Garage would have been below the level of the house, slightly above the basement level. Planned to put two freeze-proof outdoor faucets through the wall above the sink, one for hot & one for cold, and running the drain into the basement with the trap in the basement so it wouldn’t freeze. Would have boxed in the bottom of the sink with insulation to help even more.
    Also wanted a urinal in the garage – even useful when working, so I wouldn’t track muck into the house. Would save the nearby bushes as well!

  13. Old Coot says:

    Garage urinal? Any reason I shouldn’t be whizzing in my garage sink? It does end up in the same place, doesn’t it? And please don’t tell me you’ve never tinkled in the shower.

    • Jennifer Asselin says:

      Ha! I would have no problem if someone wanted to tinkle in my often used garage sink, as long as said person did a good job cleaning it up after every use. I don’t relish the thought of having ammonia scented urine hit me in the face everytime I want to fill up a bucket, or clean the paint brushes. My guess if is if my husband is too lazy to go to the bathroom inside, he’s not going to want to keep the outside sink clean for the next person to use it.

  14. Kurt says:

    Great idea, had one in my old house next to washer and dryer. Very useful. The place I have now has a separate workshop with a bathroom, so I pulled out the little sink and squeezed in a washtub. Again, well worth it.

    If I was building a house, I would put in extra electrical outlets, have every room wired for Cat 5 cable and tv, and include some string in each of those conduits to pull whatever future connection I will need.

    Central Vacuum is nice too, with the little kick open sweeper vents, but that falls into luxury additions.

  15. rob says:

    put a toilet and a utility tub in a small room in the corner

  16. Chris says:

    People actually put their water heater in the attic? That seems like the stupidest thing ever. They must make a lovely mess when they fail, and changing them must be even more of a pain in the a$$ when you have to rope it up through a hole in the ceiling.

    Also, heres one thing to add to your list of things to put in a new house: wide basement stairs. In my area most utility stuff like washer/dryer, water heater, furnaces/boilers, whatever are in the basement, but it works for a finished basement family room too. Wide basement steps makes bringing stuff up/down SO much easier.

  17. Brau says:

    I got tired of the kitchen double sink being full of my wife’s dainties soaking in Woolite, so I installed a double utility sink in the basement for her. Of course, now my wife won’t let me use it, so I had to install another utility sink for my own (dirty) uses.

    1 toilet, 5 sinks!

    I plan a basement bathroom/shower next.

  18. matt says:

    Not sure if it’s been covered here, but I’m gonna be putting in one of those moen, outdoor hot/cold water spigots. It’s nice to have hot water outside.

  19. Toolhearty says:

    NickC Says:
    …Interesting, urinals are more expensive then I had guessed (Amazon has them $250-500+ depending on features).

    Features?

  20. Toolhearty says:

    So long as we’re talking about desireable features for a home, here’s one I might actually work on this winter:

    A circulating hot water system using convection current.

    Hate wasting water in the second floor bathroom waiting for it to get hot (from the water heater in the basement). Should just be a matter of adding a return line to the water heater from the highest fixture in the house.

    Actually saw this done once in a model home (the plumber left a section of copper pipe out at the water heater for a pump, seemed he wasn’t sure if it was going to work or not).

    Yeah, I know there are point-of-use instant water heaters, but I like the simplicity of the gas-fired heater in the basement.

  21. I’m not sure if a garage sink is legal where I live. It’s illegal to have floor drains because they’re afraid people are going to dump oil and other hazardous waste down it. I can see them saying the same about a garage sink. Plus it freezes 4-5 months out of the year here, so unless your garage was insulated and heated full time, I’d say you’re opening up a can of problems.

    In addition to Chris’ wide basement step,s I’d add 36″ doors throughout the house. One it’s really hard to get bigger furniture into a room with 30″ doors and two if you every have anybody with a wheel chair in the family it’s way easier to maneuver.

  22. jmudler says:

    Plumbed air lines on each level of the house so I dont have air houses running up 3 stories.

    Wife mandated a sink in the garage and full bath in garage and/or basement (my shop).

    Outlets in the garage/basement above 36″ for easier access and lights on a separate circuit to avoid being in the dark if a breaker gets tripped. 120v and 220v.

    I put a ball valves on the main water feed into the house (in the garage) and after the hot water heater. In case of a emergency I dont have to walk down 30+ steps (live on a mountain) to the street to turn off the water. Plus I can turn off the water, throw the breaker to hot water heater when I go out of town. In my previous house I returned from vacation to a flooded house because of a failed water hose under the kitchen sink.

  23. Chuck Cage says:

    I’m fine with heading inside from the garage to take a leak (there’s a ceramic tile path all the way from the garage to the guest bathroom — also the builder’s idea), but my Dad had a separate shop. It *didn’t* have a bathroom, and that trapsing all the way (through mud sometimes) back to the house kinda sucked. If my garage was separate, a bathroom would be high on my list, I think.

  24. Davo says:

    Here is the problem, with garage utility sinks…I recently installed one, and the only one I could find, after visiting ALL the home improvement stores in my area was the lame plastic one that you see in the picture, which sucks, because it is made of lightweight, cheap plastic, and it wasn’t even cheap!

    The legs snap into place, and are prone to getting dislodged, if you accidentally kick it, which tends to loosen the plumbing that attaches it to the pipes…then it leaks.

    I would love to replace it, with a sturdier sink, preferably made out of steel…anybody know where you can find one, that isn’t too expensive?

    • Jennifer Asselin says:

      I priced out stainless utility sinks several years ago for a client through my favorite local plumbing supplier. They have access to many companies, and can probably give you several quotes. They aren’t cheap though.

  25. Toolhearty says:

    Davo Says:

    I would love to replace it, with a sturdier sink, preferably made out of steel…anybody know where you can find one, that isn’t too expensive?

    Try a place that sells restaurant equipment, or a place that sells stuff from demolished buildings (hopefully commercial buildings).

  26. MattR says:

    Even if you don’t have an obvious need for a sink, having a washing machine drain into one of these utility sinks is a good idea. Many washing machines are over engineered and have pumps that can put out 20 gallons a minute, enough to quickly overwhelm your drains and make a mess.

  27. fred says:

    In my neck of the woods many folks will put a plastic sink like this behind the garage – and not plumb it up at all. Plant it on top of a deep gravel bed for drainage – and make it up (cold water only) with a length of hose from a hose bibb

  28. Brew says:

    I have one in my garage and I still consider it one of the best things I did when I built the house. As mentioned above, really no need for a urinal when you already have the sink. :)

    I have an old washing machine next to it that I use to was the dirty rags from the garage/shop and sometimes my really dirty work clothes or hunting clothes. My garage is heated (I keep it at 40 when I am not in there working) but it is also on an inside wall, so it should be ok unless it gets REALLY cold out.

    I too just have one of the cheap plastic ones (mounted in a cabinet) and have been checking all the local auctions for a stainless one. You can buy the stainless ones new for about $300.

  29. Mac says:

    Put a sink in the last two garages I had. The current one I picked up at a flea market – $25, over twice as wide as the plastic thing in the pic, and porcelin. D@mn that thing was heavy!

    Have a cheap plastic basin in the basement too. Don’t use that one as much, but it is nice when needed.

    I have the same ideas on the wide steps and doors. Taking it a step (ha!) further, I’m thinking my next (probably last) house will be built to handicap specs. I’m not getting younger, nor is my family.

  30. Davo, we ended up adding some wood reinforcements to the legs to keep them sturdy against kicking, and bolting the sink to the wall helped a lot. Otherwise anyone who bumped it would cause a drain leak.

  31. Drew says:

    From the wide door idea –
    My parents volunteered for Hospice for years. We all get old. She convinced my aunt and uncle to make their first floor bathroom with wide doors and a walk in shower with a curb low enough to install a reasonable ramp to. All designed around a wheelchair which no one at the time needed.

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