Author Topic: Shed for layout room  (Read 1912 times)

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vt_railroad_guy

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Shed for layout room
« on: August 27, 2014, 06:55:17 AM »
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Due to the demands of my family and the modest size of our home, I don't have a place for a layout.  I had a HCD layout I was building in our guest room, but we have since moved my daughter into that room leaving me no place for a layout.  That said, I want a layout.  What do you think about using something like http://www.homedepot.com/p/Handy-Home-Products-Princeton-10-ft-x-10-ft-Wood-Storage-Shed-18250-1/100350323#certona_recommendations for a layout?  I was thinking of the Burlington Northern layout that MR built back in the early 90's and that was 9x10, so I think the size would be alright.  I live in Vermont, so I would need to insulate it.  Realistically I would be keeping the room at 50 degrees in the winter using electric type heat when i'm not working on it, so I'm thinking the insulation I can squeeze between the 2x3 studs would be suffiicent to keep the shed heated without breaking the bank.  There may be a cheaper option for heating an outbuilding, but I haven't really gotten that far.  Money is an object, so I need to keep it simple.  Does anyone have any experience with sheds for layouts or advice they will share?

Thank you in advance.

JDB

LV LOU

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2014, 09:22:14 AM »
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 I'd do it..If you insulate it well,a small electric heater should easily heat it..I'd use styrofoam,put some paneling over..The most important thing is gonna be insulating the roof. I used a big shed for a shop years ago,in the summer,I had a small muffin fan mounted on the way as high in the peak of the roof as I could get it, left it running all the time to suck the heat out,had a small vent on the other end.
  One thing your really gonna have to watch..Don't put the heater anywhere where the heat will rise up,and make a hot spot on the layout..That will screw you track up quick..Put it under the platform somewhere where it will blow out into open space,maybe add a small fan next to it to really blow the heat around..

mcjaco

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 09:23:22 AM »
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I don't have any advice on layouts in sheds, but that's the shed I have.  It came with the house we bought last September.  I just put up plywood walls to make it a bit more friendly for hanging hooks, etc. for all the yard gear.  Adding insulation would not be tough, but you'd probably need to add more studs, and the corner post construction is a bit lacking.  Still, lumber is cheap and it would not be a tough project.

My neighbor ran electrical and cable to his shed (it's a playhouse more than anything), so I don't see why you couldn't.  I also have a friend that double insulated his to make into a practice room for his drum set.  Lots of possibilities!

C855B

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 11:10:01 AM »
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Since insulation for my own train building is my life these days...

2x3s will not afford sufficient depth for insulation. If you pack regular R-13 household fiberglass insulation into the smaller spaces, losing that inch will compress it down and result in an effective R-8 or R-9. Dealing with winter temperatures in Vermont, your resulting electric bill will be huge. You can probably use firring strips over the studs for more depth to restore to R-13, but I suspect you will find that the reduction in available floor space might be an issue, making that 10x10 shed a real-world 9'3" or so inside. DO NOT consider insulation without paneling over it - the paper vapor barrier is contact-flammable.

Don't overlook that this shed has no floor, just framing for one. You will need to supply your own ply or OSB. And you will need to insulate under the floor, which will have to be something like pink foam, adding another $100 or so to the project. Unless you put it up on blocks, fiberglass insulation have a problem with ground contact (bugs and vermin), even if you were to use a sheet of plastic on the ground.

The door has no weatherstripping and no real jamb, and will need something. That it is a double door will, well, double the work. You could seal one side closed, however, making it a continuation of the wall.

Electric heat only because of the confined space, and I strongly recommend a permanently-mounted baseboard-type heater. Freestanding electric heaters in a small space like that are a fire hazard. Don't forget that heating uses a lot of juice, so between heat, lighting and layout power, you're going to need two 15A circuits to the shed. If you were thinking about running an extension cord or cords from the shed to the house "semi-permanently" because of the need for heat... don't. Very dangerous.

If I were in your shoes and handy with tools (and remember this shed arrives unassembled), given the amount of modification this kit needs to work as a freestanding layout room I would start looking for shed plans instead. You could probably do up to a 12x14 with a single-pitch ("shed") roof for roughly the same money. Since you're planning to heat it, be sure to budget for permanent wiring.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

tom mann

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2014, 11:37:21 AM »
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I think a shed would work if it was on a concrete pad, made out of 1/4"s, had insulation, big windows, and a source of heating and cooling.  If you had the cash (and time), a stone shed would probably be the way to go.

In either case, I can't imagine anything smaller than O scale working in that environment.

C855B

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2014, 11:46:34 AM »
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... lumber is cheap ...

My wife will take issue with that sentiment. She was along on our most recent trip to Menards. 2x4s are cheap-ish, everything else... not so much. :(
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 12:08:57 PM »
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If I were in your shoes and handy with tools (and remember this shed arrives unassembled), given the amount of modification this kit needs to work as a freestanding layout room I would start looking for shed plans instead. You could probably do up to a 12x14 with a single-pitch ("shed") roof for roughly the same money. Since you're planning to heat it, be sure to budget for permanent wiring.

Good advice in all these posts, but ^ is perhaps the best of all.  If you are handy enough to assemble this shed, you would be handy enough to build one from plans.   A few other random comments:

* The side walls and door are only 6' high, so it will feel quite cramped and you might bang your head on the door header.
* The double door is mainly just a hassle.  You'd be much happier with a standard human door if you could swing it (no pun intended).
* When I set up my garage as a layout room, I had a 30A/220V power line run out to the (free-standing) garage, mainly for baseboard heating.  220V is much safer for heating, and you can tap off 110 V circuits from a sub-panel in the shed.

In my case, what started out as an inhospitable space has become very comfortable and inviting!  You can manage it too, but I'm guessing it will cost you at least $1500-2000 to make it a space you want to spend any time in; and a space you don't want to spend time in is worth nothing.

mcjaco

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 12:10:20 PM »
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^ Well, relatively speaking.  :)

Like I said, I have that shed.  The doors are plywood with exterior framing.  Very flimsy, and that would is a weak point.  At least this newer version has decorative framing around the top of the door.  Mine lack that, and as such the top of the frame on the door is rotting from weather sitting directly on it.  I added weather striping to the inside of the doors, more for hornet hive prevention, than anything else.  Mine sits on a pressure treated foundation. 

Like I said, it's doable, but I'd at least double the cost of the shed to do it right. 

And follow C855's advise, since he's neck deep into a project like this on a very large scale. 

alhoop

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 12:41:46 PM »
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If you are handy with tools you could build one of these( depending on your code).
It is considered a pole building using ground contact rated  4"x4" and 4"x6"  treated timbers.
It is 12'x24' with 2"x4" stud construction. the farthest 1/3 has a concrete floor using Quikrete
and treated 2x4s in a 2 foot grid pattern and the nearer 2/3 has treated 5/4" plywood floors and is my train 'room'.
Completely insulated and cost $2200 in materials in 1987 dollars.
No deterioration other than paint and one piece of siding in 27 years .
You could probably build something about half the size for about the same cost. IMO much better than a shed.

http://s1110.photobucket.com/user/alhoop1/media/building.jpg.html?sort=3&o=9

Al
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 02:24:13 PM by alhoop »

mmagliaro

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2014, 01:36:15 PM »
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This can work, but there's a lot more work and expense involve than it appears at first.


Before we moved to our current home, I had my layout and workbench in a shed in the yard.   We live in Oregon, and the winters here are very mild.  Remember, I used to live in central Pennsylvania, and I went to school in upstate New York, so I know what cold winters are, and that is what you are facing in Vermont.

The shed was not insulated, so even though the winters typically didn't see temperatures below 30, and I had an 18,000 BTU propane space heater, it was cold in there and it took a good half hour to heat that room up to a comfortable level.   The shed already had electric
power run to it from the breaker panel, so that saved me a lot of trouble.  But honestly?  That propane space heater was not
the safest thing even though it worked well.

Example 2:
My previous layout in Pennsylvania was in an attic floor of the house.  This WAS insulated, but the heat was not left on all the time - only when I went up there.  It was COLD.  I had to turn on the electric heat and wait a good 30 minutes before it was reasonable.
50 degrees may not sound like frigid winter temperatures, but you can't really stand or work in a room that cold for very long.
You will need to heat it up quite a bit each time you go out there before you can work on the layout.   My layout did survive those temperature swings, however.

//////////////////

Based on this experience, I agree with other posts that are recommending that you fir out the walls and add a lot more insulation.

My second suggestion is that you get a shed much larger than the 10x10 if you want a 9x10 layout in it.   It will just be impossible to
work on, or move around in there otherwise.  And remember, even a 12x14, if you pushed the layout against one wall, would only leave you 4 feet of breathing room.      Rooms feel VERY uncomfortable when there isn't a good amount of open space just to stand and sit in them.
If your benchwork design allows about 50% of the floorspace to be empty, I'd say that's about right.

Add WINDOWS.   You will need fresh air and a view to the outside or it will feel very uncomfortable.  And although we are thinking about the cold winter, you are going to need some serious fans or even a window air conditioner or that shed will be like an oven in the summer.  It will not only be uncomfortable, but those hot temperatures will ruin the layout.

Think about workbench space.  You will need it somewhere.  If you rig up something portable that can roll out from under the layout,
that might save on your shed space.

Electric power: How will you get power out to the shed?  (Yes, I know... you could string a drag cord extension out there, but that is a
really bad idea).   You need lights, layout power, places to plug in a work light, soldering iron, and that electric space heat you are planning on will need serious power, so I agree on the other post for putting a permanent 220v/30A circuit out to the shed for this.   A small
subpanel in the shed would be the way to go, so you could have some 110v for outlets and lights, and a 220 circuit for a serious space heater.

Fire protection:  Simple enough, just don't forget it.   A fire extinguisher permanently mounted on the wall.



//////////////////

Having said all this, I am not down on the idea.  I think you can make it work, and I well know what it's like to be short on living space
and to still want a layout.  So I'd say build the shed, but think about all the heat, power, insulation, and space issues involved.

Dave Schneider

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2014, 02:00:26 PM »
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I realize that you are trying to do this in an inexpensive manner, but in my opinion you will be throwing money away and will be frustrated unless you can afford to do it right. No use plowing $1000 plus into a project and not having it meet your needs. Many good points here regarding light, power, foundation, insulation, etc.

Another option, depending on your lot and zoning/covenants (if any) is some sort of trailer or portable office building. This is what I went with (your mileage may vary). You might take a look at Craigslist for something like this. In Alaska we call these things Atco trailers, but there is likely a New England term for them.

Photo from the roof of my garage during roofing project.


It came insulated, baseboard heating, lights, etc. I had to build a pad and install a 220v/50 amp "extension cord" (with heavy duty wiring installed to code). I got a good deal on the trailer as it was in rough shape, but the total project is somewhere in the neighborhood of $5000. That is a bunch of money, but I have a dedicated 12x20 ft building of my own and really love it. Best thing of all is that my wife thought it was a good idea.

Best wishes, Dave
If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

Wardie

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2014, 07:11:03 PM »
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I bought one of those Home Depot shed kids about a decade ago, before I knew better. Let me point out one design aspect, the pre cut roof rafters were made out of 2x4's that were a tongue  and finger glued construction in the exact same place on every rafter about two thirds of the way down from the peak. During one heavy wet snow here (15-16" in 24 hours) in Maine every single one of those rafters came unglued and then one side of my shed laid down flat in the snow. I will never buy another shed kit in my life again. I agree you would be better off to buy and cut lumber yourself. And those kits still need a LOT of nails driven to build them. If I build another shed I am buying a framing nailer.

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2014, 09:55:19 PM »
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Max hit on so many key points...


I'm in western New York, so I know the conditions, and my layout is in an outside building.

While the building is insulated and does have heat, I do not heat it all winter long.  I put in 15,000 BTU natural gas wall furnace WITH a fan.  And yes that fan makes all the difference in the world as far as how quickly the room heats up.  I can take the room from 20 to 60 in about an hour.  Generally speaking I don't go out there when it's less than 20 degrees.   I agree with Max that a 50 degree working temp is not comfortable.

That wall furnace has been worth the investment many times over.  And the room is well insulated.

The second best thing I did?  Windows.  Yep, just like Max says with the lights on a layout room in June can get awfully warm awfully fast.   

And for July/August heat?  You better have an AC.  I have a portable unit that I roll out at the end of June and then roll it back usually the beginning of September.  Great investment.  Here is was a 81 degree day in western NY and I wouldn't have been able to stay out there longer than 15-20 minutes due the heat buildup, but that portable AC unit cools things down very quickly.

I've never had a problem with temperature swings.  The room has seen outside temps as low as minus 25 and as high as a 100 degrees (which we hit 3 years ago) and nothing has moved, shifted or come out of alignment. 

Bottom line– Don't skimp on the construction or the "niceties" like proper heat, ventilation and AC or you'll find yourself creating all sorts of reason why you don't want to be out there.

Scottl

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2014, 10:04:21 PM »
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Quote
Another option, depending on your lot and zoning/covenants (if any) is some sort of trailer or portable office building. This is what I went with (your mileage may vary). You might take a look at Craigslist for something like this. In Alaska we call these things Atco trailers, but there is likely a New England term for them.

ATCO stands for "Alberta Trailer Company" and those buildings are the bread and butter of the mining and oil patch camps.  They are not likely to be found in more industrialized areas like New England, even under different names.  Maybe from a gas driller in New York or the like. 

However, I do agree with Dave, it is worth doing right to make it worth your expense and to get a comfortable space for spending time.



Dave Schneider

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Re: Shed for layout room
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2014, 10:47:54 PM »
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Although these see a bunch of use in mining and drilling ops, all the big general contractors and subs up here use them at big construction projects as well. Other options are insulated containers, old 20 ft semi trailers, or old camping trailers. Hard to now whether these are options for your house location. In Anchorage people do this sort of thing right in the city. I did paint mine to match the house, which adds a touch of class!!

Best wishes, Dave
If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.