A New Railway Room

Making room for a layout, where and how?
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Penrhos1920
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A New Railway Room

Postby Penrhos1920 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:30 pm

Planning permission has been granted for the (detached) garage to be converted into my Railway Room by HWMBO. It is currently 28' x 14' external, and 8'6" floor to wall plate. Single brick walls with asbestos tiled ridge roof, 4 windows in the sides and end. At the moment it is divided with a brick internal wall and has a 6' square nuclear fallout shelter in one corner.

My plan is to get a enormous shed to store everything that is not railway related and then to remove the internal wall and shelter. The question is what do I really need to do to convert it into a room suitable for the layout? Obviously the garage door needs to be replaced. Would it be best to brick it up and have a pair of french doors in the middle? Should I replace the windows with uPVC double glazing, should I insulate the wall and floor? Should I put in a insulated ceiling?

Have you converted your garage or a similar building into a railway room. What did you do? Do you wish you'd done something extra?

Thanks
Richard

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Bob Ellis
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Re: A New Railway Room

Postby Bob Ellis » Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:04 am

Nobody can tell you what you should do (that's up to you), but I can tell you what I did in similar circumstances - and I am very happy with the results.

My primary concerns were to eliminate damp (the garage was very damp before I started) and to create a comfortable and stable temperature in which to work. Firstly, I put in a false ceiling with fibreglass insulation above. Then I installed double-glazing in the windows. I left the up-and-over garage doors in place and 'bricked' them up on the inside using breeze blocks, leaving the side door as the only entrance.

I put insulated plasterboard around the walls and then installed a raised wooden floor (not forgetting to leave a well for the door to open!). The floor was installed for four reasons: (a) to provide a level surface for the baseboard supports to stand on; (b) I find concrete cold and hard to stand on; (c) it enabled me to install some floor-mounted electrical sockets beneath the layout as well as wall-mounted ones; and (d) I had decided to install under-floor heating rather than wall-mounted radiators so that I had an even heat throughout the room rather than 'heat spots' around the radiators.

Next came the lighting - daylight strip lights and plenty of them so that I wouldn't have to work in my own shadow. Having plastered and painted the walls and ceiling, I lay industrial quality carpet tiles of a colour that would show up anything small that was dropped on them. I chose carpet tiles because it is easy to replace any that get damaged.

Finally, I bought a dehumidifier to dry out the room. Et voila! :D
Bob Ellis

Modelling Hawes (NER/MR) c.1905

andrewnummelin
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Re: A New Railway Room

Postby andrewnummelin » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:53 pm

I'd agree with almost everything Bob said. Here are few of my thoughts.
Go for lots of insulation (floor and walls as well as the ceiling).
Do the walls have a damp course? This may influence how you do the insulation.
I've got 3" PS foam with a laminated "wood" floor over it and carpet runners on top. Easy to clean (I tramp dirt in from outside! See below.)
Double glazing may well not be financially justified (how often will the room be heated?) but reduced condensation and noise are benefits.
Double the number of electrical sockets you think you will need. ( I did and still I run short sometimes. )
Try to get sockets (& plugs) with neon lights - easy to spot when closing up at night if you've left something on by mistake.
Do you intend to spray paint models? Fit extraction now - I didn't and wish I had.
Will a DECT phone or wireless router reach inside your new room? If in doubt, get a phone line installed. I'm glad I did!
Have an outside light with proximity sensor so you can see to lock up. (I don't have this and I regret it.)
Check your insurance needs/policy - an outside railway room is not a standard item! You may well need approved door and window locks.
Do you need an alarm?
Think about a time when you may want to sell - a garage may be more valuable than a railway room. Hence don't do anything that will prevent it being used as a garage. (We once rented a house that had a "play room" that could be used as a garage or hobby room. The floor was tiled - only disadvantage was that it was cold to touch.

Have fun!
Regards,

Andrew Nummelin

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Mark Tatlow
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Re: A New Railway Room

Postby Mark Tatlow » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:33 pm

A caution if I may Richard, followed by a little advice.

If you start to use this room in a more than an occassional manner, you could find that more than domestic planning permission is required...........the real planners and particularly building control will be after you. Thus, I would be a little cautious in what you describe is happening in this room, especially if there is any intention to start occupying it more than for a few visits at the weekend or leaving heaters on it for any length of time. You will find it a challenge to get consent if you precipitate their knowledge of what you are up to in it.

Putting aside the regulatory points, the points of keeping it dry and warm already mentioned are all appropriate. The existing construction will not be designed to do either, so you will need to make sure that the walls and floor are improved to deal with the damp. Ensuring that what ever you put in has an air gap behind will probably be all that is required.

The heat loss on a building such as you describe will be terrible, I would line the walls with an insulation board (on battens, so that air gap is formed) and then a layer of ply or something durable and "screw-inable" - you want the modern high performance board insulations such as Kingspan, as their insulation value is much better for their thickness and they are easy to use (shop around for these, as a DIY seller will be v expensive). I would put the ceiling insulation in that Bob described and go "large" on the amount of insulation. Then make sure that there is a degree of ventilation into the ceiling void, so any moisture can escape. Insulation on the floor will be worthwhile as noted, but I would not put underfloor heating in, especially if it were to go below this - you will heat the ground up rather than the room.

As Bob said, these are your decisions but be careful of the regulatory points. If you use your room to the degree I would like to use one (if I had one), I think you would strictly speaking be into the area of planning development and certinly building control.

The final thing to do is plan what you can fit in 28 * 14 feet; now that should be a "proper" layout!


Mark Tatlow


PS, be careful with asbestos roofs - do not put weight on them. they also have a realtively finite life (30 - 40 years) and if they look brittle it may be worth changing them now, rather than waiting for the layout to be finished inside.
Mark Tatlow

davebooth

Re: A New Railway Room

Postby davebooth » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:19 pm

My garage is now insulated with Kingspan for roof, walls and floor. There is a dpc sheet also floor-wall-ceiling,this is battened over with battens whose thickness matches the Kingspan thickness, and with the Kingspan wedged between battens. Next follows a second DPC sheeting floor to ceiling and then the final cladding of MDF, 15mm for walls and 12mm for ceiling with water-proof chipboard for floors. The car still 'sleeps in there but the floor in that area is tiled without insulation. Personnel door and windows are white PVCu and sealed double glazed. All achieved by DIY but guided by a builder friend who tiled the floor.
One significant problem with KIngspan is that it has aluminium foil sheeting on both surfaces which for some weird technical reason (it's called a Faraday Cage)makes the interior impervious to radio waves; so no mobile, or DECT 'phones, nor wireless internet!

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Bob Ellis
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Re: A New Railway Room

Postby Bob Ellis » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:14 am

Mark Tatlow wrote:If you start to use this room in a more than an occassional manner, you could find that more than domestic planning permission is required...........the real planners and particularly building control will be after you. Thus, I would be a little cautious in what you describe is happening in this room, especially if there is any intention to start occupying it more than for a few visits at the weekend or leaving heaters on it for any length of time. You will find it a challenge to get consent if you precipitate their knowledge of what you are up to in it.


I live in a National Park where planning regulations are more stringent than elsewhere. There are also two planning authorities to satisfy: the National Park and the local council. I checked with both. The attitude of the national park was that I did not need planning permission if I did nothing substantial to the outside of the garage, which I didn't. The local council sent round one of their planning officers who said that an application for "change of use" would be required if I was going to live in the room, but pursuing a hobby was something that many people did in their garages anyway and therefore I would not need to apply for change of use if I wasn't going to live in it - so don't put a bed in there. ;)

Apropos the underfloor heating, I took advice about possible heat loss through heating up the ground and was told that putting in a visqueen membrane with a couple of inches of sand on top and then laying the heating pipes above the sand would minimise heat loss downwards.
Bob Ellis

Modelling Hawes (NER/MR) c.1905

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Penrhos1920
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Re: A New Railway Room

Postby Penrhos1920 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:39 pm

Gents,

Thanks for your replies. I've had a look at the Planning Portal and for garage conversions it says
"Under new regulations that came into effect from 1 October 2008 the permitted development regime covering garage conversions changed and planning permission is not usually required, providing the work is internal and does not involve enlarging the building."
So apart from changing the garage doors to French doors I'm ok. I can't leave the doors and put in a false wall as they are sliding doors that slide left and inside.

I've had 4 builders around and they generally agree with your suggestions. So I'm waiting for the final quote and we'll see who gets the job. None were clued up on under floor heating so I've shown them some leaflets. But looking at the price of the specially shaped polystyrene floor panels, I think I'll be carving grooves with a hot wire and save £600.

I hadn't thought about floor sockets, but they sound a really good idea so I'll see how they can fit in with the heating pipes.

I've bought the first part of the conversion, saw it cheap in Ebay. A contactor so that I can switch off all of the power, except the heating, at the flick of a light switch.

Finally
Mark Tatlow wrote:The final thing to do is plan what you can fit in 28 * 14 feet; now that should be a "proper" layout!


That's planned have a look at http://www.penrhos.me.uk/PenrhosLayout2.htm. I'm going with Option 2 as it is more likely to get finished. Once it's built I can just add a small 12' extension to the end of the garage and include the parts missing from the first idea.


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