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By CMax
Hey all,

I'm new to the forum, despite being a long-time lurker. I'm hoping you guys can help steer me in the right direction. I'm getting back into woodworking after a dalliance a decade ago. I have a small, single internal garage (8' x 16' approx.) that has never had, and will never likely have, a car in it.

I intend to use mostly handtools with a bandsaw perhaps eventually being the only machine. As per the photo below, it's block construction with a course of bricks on the outside of the cavity. It has a flat concrete floor. Above it is an unpopulated guest room.

The questions I'm looking to solve are:

1. If I batten and insulate this, should I leave all the wiring on the outside in trunking? If not, how do I handle the wiring with regards to the insulation -- is it okay to cover it? Are there specific methods for this?

2. What would be the best boarding and insulation materials? My initial thought was a Rockwool kind of insulation covered with plasterboard. But then I considered Kingspan/polystyrene covered with OSB. Is there a consensus on the right way to do this while keeping the budget as low as possible?

3. What kind of lighting would you suggest? Given the small space, I presumably don't need much but wasn't sure if I should go for overhead strip lights, or have specific lighting for the main working areas.

4. Should I insulate the floor? I think it could help in the winter, but not sure if my assumption would make much of a difference.

Your thoughts and ideas are greatly appreciated!

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By bourbon
I have the same sort of garage, attached to the house. TBH I wouldn't bother with insulation, the house will keep it warm enough. Maybe some of those cushion tiles from the likes of Aldi if you are only doing wood work. I weld in my garage as well, so they aren't an option for me.
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By Phil Pascoe
TBH I wouldn't bother with insulation, the house will keep it warm enough ...

That was why I insulated mine - it was heat sink for bedroom and kitchen. :D are usually worth a look, especially if you're not committed to a particular material or size. Why bother with trunking? Surface wiring is easy to add to and alter, and it's not exactly in an industrial environment.
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By Phil Pascoe
I did mine with 90mm PIR then 18mm shuttering for the same reason. No battens, the ply was stuck to the PIR but also hung from the top to carry any weight.

I did comment before on insulation, but the value or purpose of this depends on the age and construction of the property. Mine has a single 4" block wall between the garage and the bungalow - it was built on the cusp of the building regs changing to insist on a cavity walls. Obviously with a cavity wall there's much less reason to insulate it from the rest of the property.
By CMax
Hi all, thanks for your thoughts on this.

Bourbon - When you say cushion tiles, do you mean the rubbery ones that go on the floor, or are you referring to wall tiles? I currently have enough anti-fatigue mats to cover half of the garage so if I don't need to insulate the floor, I'm hoping those will be all I'd need.

Phil.P - To be honest, this garage is a bit of a heatsink for the adjacent dining and living room and the upstairs guestroom. I recently had a larger capacity radiator installed in the latter to combat this. If I were to insulate the garage, presumably that'll cut down on the amount of heat reaching it from the surrounding rooms, making it colder? Would it be worth my while having a radiator or two installed in the garage?

Also, when you say you stuck the ply to the PIR, is that just with a builder's adhesive? And what do you mean hung from the top? Attached to rafters/battens at the top with screws? Apologies for my ignorance, this kind of work is new to me.

Another thought: the rear wall of the garage backs on to the living room. Would it be worth sound-proofing/deadening this wall? Although I won't be running noisy machinery, chopping mortises and sawing might be loud enough to bleed through and be annoying.

Mrs C - rubber mating is looking a sensible approach as I already have some in there (from a failed attempt to set up and use the garage as a gym). Thanks for the YT recommendation. I'll check that out.

Marineboy - Thanks for your suggestion. If I decided to clad the inside to make the room more aesthetically pleasing, could that be added over the OSB? Would it be flat enough? My only experience with OSB was with an extremely warped and knobbly board.

A question about the door situation. I currently have a pretty knackered Up & Over that's drafty and not exactly secure. As I have no internal door to the garage, I was thinking of changing the U&O to regular side-hinge doors. Preferably one with windows at the top to let some natural light in so it doesn't feel like I'm in Prisoner Cell Block H. Would a pair of external painted softwood doors suffice for this?
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By Marineboy
You’re right, OSB is not very attractive, but it’s a workshop, not the Sistine Chapel. Personally I’d just paint it white.

Re doors, timber would be better, and easier to insulate. But I’d avoid windows for security reasons.
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By Phil Pascoe
I was warming the garage/workshop 24 hours a day in the winter via the rest of the bungalow (the main bedroom was bloody freezing) and sometimes only using it for a few minutes at a time. We had only night storage heaters at the time (the bricks from which are now weighing down my lathe) which was less than efficient. I suffer from extremely poor circulation, so my biggest problem is cold hands so I fitted one of these - ... eAQAvD_BwE - if I know I'm going to be there when it's cold I put it on one bar for an hour beforehand. When I feel my hands numbing I just warm them for a couple of minutes and get on. The lighting is all LED so there's no heat to be gained from that.
Yes, I mounted two pieces of CLS together (to make 90mm) around the perimeter at ceiling height to screw the shuttering to - the PIR boards were stuck to the block walls and any that didn't meet or were broken were sealed with gun PU, so all shelves etc. are screwed to the boards not battens.
If had central heating and a better door than an up and over I would consider a radiator.
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By Steve Maskery
CMax wrote:
Mrs C - rubber mating is looking a sensible approach

If you are doing any mating in rubber, make sure that your windows have obscure glass in them, you don't want to upset the neighbours. :)

+1 for painting the walls white. It makes an enormous difference. And I would definitely recommend insulating outside walls, not so much walls to the house.

I don't have it in this workshop, but my previous workshop was attached to the house and I had a radiator installed on the gas central heating. It was only a small rad, but it kept the whole workshop toasty. I wouldn't hesitate to do the same again in such a workshop.

For the floor I can recommend a floating floor approach. In mine I have the concrete base, a membrane, 50mm Jablite insulation, 18mm OSB then 22mm Caberfloor. It is a really nice floor to have, non-slip, kind to falling tools and I never get cold feet.
By CMax
Steve Maskery wrote:
If you are doing any mating in rubber, make sure that your windows have obscure glass in them, you don't want to upset the neighbours. :)

:lol: =D> Obscuring glass it is then! :) Thanks for the information, Steve. That's really helpful. With your floor, why the OSB and the floor panels? Does the OSB serve a specific function here? I'm ignorant of these things so please excuse me if this is a dumb question.

Phil - thanks for the clarification.

Okay, so if I've understood everyone properly, I could be looking at the following strategy:

1. Replace U&O door with regular ones (with obscure glass). I'll find a way to make them more secure as I really want the natural light. The front of the house gets sunshine from about 2pm onwards so it'd be a shame to not make the most of it.

2. Batten and board the walls: insulate the outside wall, don't bother with the inside. Board with OSB (Maybe clad over the top for aesthetics). Potentially soundproof the back wall, and maybe the ceiling?

3. Get small radiator added onto the central heating system. (Easy to do as there's a downstairs toilet with a tiny rad on the other side of the joining wall.)

4. Install a floating floor.

5. Paint ceiling and walls white.

6. Install surface cabling for power sockets. Use LED panels for the lighting.

The only thing left that I'm unsure of at this point is what to do regarding the mains gas pipe and the consumer unit. These are both on the external wall—the meters of which are on the outside of said wall—and I vaguely remember reading somewhere that these shouldn't be boxed in. Is that correct? If so, how do I approach the boarding and insulating of that wall in regards to the gas pipe and consumer unit? Will they have to be moved? Is there a specific way I need to handle this to avoid falling foul of some regulation or another?

Thanks for everyone's input; you're all very helpful.
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By Steve Maskery
CMax wrote: With your floor, why the OSB and the floor panels? Does the OSB serve a specific function here?

It's a good question and I'm not sure of the answer. I'm not quite sure why we did it, maybe to make the floor more rigid. But it has resulted in an excellent floor.