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threeReefs

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I am (finally) coming out the other side of bringing up kids, running a small business, etc etc and this year's (summer) project is to properly sort out the workshop. I say "workshop", this is actually the brick-built single garage that we no longer use to keep cars in :
garage1.jpg

It's single-skin, built in the 1930s, no damp-proof course. The nature of kids/business/etc has meant that I've simply done little bits and pieces to it over the last 20 years, preserving a corner for a workbench and (more recently) fighting a defensive action against an ingress of bikes and bike components resulting from my wife's hobby :
garage2.jpg

Please don't judge me on the untidyness. You should have seen it a month ago before I started my cleanout. Of course, once you start a project like this it's OK to buy new toys even if you've nowhere to put them yet :
fobco1.jpg

So the plan is to start by emptying the whole thing out when the weather is warmer, and make things more damp-proof and insulated. With the usual catch of not losing too much volume. You can see from the picture that there are brick piers so I'm thinking I might do something like this :

  1. Get the walls as dry as possible (fresh air, dehumidifier)
  • Liberal application of sealant. Some of the walls have soil against them (due to level differences) outside.
  • 100mm insulation against the walls, between the piers, bringing the whole surface out to levels with the piers (some 100mm battens in there too, so that I can...
  • ...put some thick ply or similar across the whole thing, suitable for fixing things to.
I can see there's some kind of damp-proof membrane missing there, and probably a need to allow air circulation.
Hence, the main question (or first one, since there will likely be a goodly few more) : would that approach work ? what insulation / membrane ? how should I damp-proof this and make it a suitable starting point for a better fit-out ? I don't want to do major brickwork so I really have to live with the existing structure.
The floor is good, thick, screeded concrete, dust-free. The ceiling I'm preeety sure is asbestos sheets, so they'll need to be covered over or go - but that's for another time, and will involve negotiation with the swarm of bumble-bees who have established something between a nest and a summer theme park up there.
Any replies much appreciated. And yes, the bench drill is kind of over-sized for this sort of workshop but it's so beautifully made I couldn't resist it.
Richard
 

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MikeG.

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Sealant?! Really? That's almost never a good idea, if you mean a brick/ masonry sealant.

Have you got a leaking gutter over the door?

Personally, my priority would be to sort out the ground levels around the building, making sure that they were at least 50mm below the floor level, and more if possible. I would also sort out any issues with the gutters. Your approach to insulating the walls seems OK to me (OSB will be much cheaper than ply), but you really don't want a membrane. The ceiling or rafters will need insulating, too. If the asbestos sheeting* is unbroken and not crumbling, then leave it well alone. If it's a mess, get someone in to sort it for you. There's not much point dehumidifying until you've done the above.

The other approach, of course, is to hand the building over to your wife for her bikes, and to build yourself a new workshop elsewhere on the estate.

* If your photo colour is to be trusted, I doubt that is asbestos. It may even be fibreboard. If you know a builder, get him to have a quick look.
 

Bm101

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I have my own ideas what I would do with that beautiful space. I would say you need to heed the advice of a couple of forum members like Lons or Mike G if they answer. Get space dry and so on. Wired up too.
That Fobco is the exact right size. Never apologise for a bit of kit like that. You monster.
(hammer)
 

MikeG.

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Another quick thought. With a timber gable like that, instead of an internal loft hatch in the ceiling, an external access door into the loft through the waney-edged boarding would give you easier access, and the chance to store full length pieces of wood.
 

johnf

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I would use 25mm celotex on the walls tape the joints this will provide insulation and damp proofing in one go then fix 11mm osb over the celotex stagger the joints use 100mm masonry screws through both layers no need for any battens you finish up with a nice boarded wall perfect for fixing on

I have done this on my own workshop it has solid walls some of them are below the external soil levels I did this some ten years ago and have had no problems with any damp keeps the place warm as well
 

threeReefs

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Appreciate the suggestions, everyone, thank you. Except the one about giving the whole place over to my wife for bikes - thanks so much for that one, talk about putting ideas into peoples' heads. I now need to do some resetting of her expectations.

Yes I do have a leaky gutter. Amazing how you don't notice these things till someone points them out.

I can clean up / dig away the ground level so it's below the floor on all sides of the garage except one, where it's about a foot above. That one will be tricky but in the scheme of things it's not too big a task to dig away the soil and maybe put a small retaining wall to hold it back.

I will ask a builder about the asbestos/fibreboard in the ceiling. The bees will be pleased if it's not asbestos. Will post some updates when I have them.
RT
 

gmgmgm

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Looks like a beautiful building!

I had some "maybe-asbestos" - it was simple to send off some samples to a lab to be tested. Google "asbestos tests" to find many suppliers. I think it was about £20 per sample. It turned out one building was asbestos and one was not. They looked very similar. But note that asbestos is a very practical and safe material when it's in a wall/ceiling, so best to leave it there.

French drain against the wall will be easier than a retaining wall.

In mine, I found that once I'd fixed the gutters, and put in some decent lighting, everything felt lighter and dryer. With these storms, it's a great time to be airing the building!
 
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