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I'm building a small woodshop inside my pole barn and would like to have a loft above. Shop is 15 x 25 if I use 2x6x15 how close do they need to be? Or should I use 2x8 instead? Not wanting to store anything heavy just a spot for all the "stuff".

A. Spruce
Re: workshop/Loft

If you're trying to span 15', you're going to want considerably more than a 2x6 or 2x8. All that "stuff" will quickly add up to a great deal of weight, and you won't want that thing coming down on your head or bowing under the load. Something else to consider, you'll want a minimum of a 9' ceiling, 10' or more would be better. Anything less and you can't handle sheet goods too easily, and what about the rest of your woodworking lumber? How easily will you be able to handle that in a restricted ceiling space?

I'm currently working in a garage with a 7' ceiling, which is way too low for even the modest of projects. My last garage had 8' ceilings and I was constantly banging the darned thing while handling the raw lumber or when working larger projects on the work bench. A shop that I used as a teen had a 20' ceiling over the table saw, but only about 8' under the loft which was about 3/4's of the shop. Again, way too low for a great many projects and material handling.

Just my experience, hope it helps. I can't offer a joist size for your application.

Re: workshop/Loft

For a 15' span in a living area with a live load of 40 psf you need 2x10 @ 16" o/c for most species.
I agree w/ spruce that all that stuff adds up.
In commercial projects if you mention storage in desribing a loft or mezzanine, the floor design loads get bumped up to 125 psf.
Commercial isn't the same as a house, but I would design for at least the standard living space load.

Re: workshop/Loft

Fifteen feet is a big span. You may want to consider also what you might want to do in the future. It may be that you need to store heavy stuff up there. I wouldn't do anything less that 2x8 at 16" on center. I worked on a project where the roofs were built with 2"x8" but the first and lat 8 feet of the run were12" on center. I'm not sure how this altered the load capacity but you might be able to do something like this if you are having height restrictions.

Re: workshop/Loft

What if I would use engineered lumber? Could I use those wooden I-beams? As for weight and spanning distances, would this be a better choice?

Re: workshop/Loft

this may sound like a dumb question from someone who knows very little, which it likely is.. but why wouldn't you use some type of really strong metal and then cover it with wood for aesthetics?

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