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Converting industrial building to woodworking workshop

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johnelliott

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I've been to see a 1400 sq ft building, the location of which would suit my starting-to-thrive kitchen-making business. Trouble is, it's at least 14 feet to the eaves, 16' to the ridge, has a large roller shutter door and no windows.
Anyway, what I have in mind is to lay damp proof membrane on the reasonable flat concrete floor, then lay 8'x2' t&g sheets of moisture resistant chipboard on the floor (£5 each Wickes, have done this in my current workshop, excellent) . So, floor sorted. Next I plan to construct an internal partition wall with windows in it behind the roller shutter door. The idea is that when I arrive in the morning I raise the roller shutter and my workshop is flooded with daylight, but the window wall keeps the cold out.
Anyway, to the questions--
How should I construct a suspended ceiling so that I can keep my working area warm?
What would be a good and not too expensive way of constructing a window wall, ideally one that can be moved in order to allow goods in etc.

John
 

Chris Knight

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John,

Congratulations on finding what sounds like a proper sized workshop! Also on your business which seems to be going very well - you must be doing somethng right! :)

It may be off the wall (that's a drive-by pun for those only used to gloatish drive-bys) but the thought of stage scenery immediately popped into my head and like any craft there seems to be a wealth of literature around it like this http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0911747389/104-6838934-3691155?v=glance

I have no idea if it would be useful for your purposes but if you are actually to sell anything you make in the new workshop then indeed some way of getting your suff out of the shop will be essential and moving walls sounds just like what goes on on the stage.

For the ceilings, again I know little about it but the usual fix for shops and offices seems to be a sort of suspended aluminium channel hung by wires from the roof and into which plastic tiles slot. If this is too expensive, it may be that a grid of say 1x1 inch timber could be hung and some thin ply tacked to it. It would be plenty strong enough to also support some insulating material above if need be, also some lighting.
 

Neil

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Hi John,

If you go down the conventional suspended ceiling route using the aluminium channel & polystyrene tiles which Chris suggested, there is a very neat way of getting some heating in too. A Swedish company called Energostrip make radiant panel heaters which match the size of the standard polystyrene tiles (60x60 and 120x60) and so can simply drop in to the same support system. They are completely dust-proof (you can even paint them I think) and so they are ideal for a workshop. They are called Energocassette and if you're interested, contact Erik at this address:

Scanlock (UK) Ltd
Erik Bengtsson
192-200 Pensby Road
Heswall
Wirral L60 7RJ
Tel: 0151 3424022
Fax: 0151 3426530
Mob: 07775 500790
sales@scanlock.com

You can see more details on http://www.energostrip.co.uk/ecass.htm - it also has a picture at the top showing the suspended ceiling Chris mentioned.

NeilCFD
 

CYC

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Okay the ceiling is covered so I'll give my idea for the window wall :D

You could build a sliding wall (which has windows in it). You make a partition wall out of 2x4, include your window openings and have this partition on a rail. You can slide it open when you need to move large peices in or out. Just like a patio sliding door.
 

Aragorn

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Congratulations on the new workshop space and the business success to warrant it!

Suspended ceiling - if you don't want the office type polystyrene panels, what about the obvious? A standard stud and board ceiling? 3x2 or 4x2 wall plates and beams spanning the width (add some upright supports from the purlins/ridge if necessary). A few noggins and screw up some boards - insulating as you go. Leave an access panel and you can climb up there if you ever needed to, lighting for example.

The glass wall is a good idea, and will bring a lot of light into the building. Is noise a factor with this wall, or security?? If so, perhaps a fixed wall would be the ticket. Planed 4x2 framework for example with folding French window style doors giving you have as much access space as you would with the original roller shutter?
 

Adam

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Are you allowed to alter the building at all? Could you put in some windows - really high up even, if you are worried about security - or a few skylights, or light pipes down from the roof? Even with a suspended ceiling - you can still let the light from skylights through - by using opaque panels under the light source.

Another way to do a really cheap suspened ceiling is to stretch some plastic across - at the appreopriate height, and then heat it gently to stretch it tight.

Adam
 

Shadowfax

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Speaking with 30 year's experience of fire and firefighting I get a little worried when people mention polystyrene, especially where ceiings are comcerned. And mixing heating with the stuff would be even worse!
I doubt if there are any polystyrene ceiling tiles available for suspended ceiling systems these days but if you come across any - avoid them at all costs!
The stuff makes good insulation but can be a firefighter's nightmare and the resulting fire damage can be out of all proportion to the size of the original fire, especially if it has been painted (the polystyrene that is!)
Don't go near it for use in or near a ceiling.
Scarey stuff!

SF
 

Alf

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Good news, John. :D

I visited Scott Woyka's w'shop last year, and he had a pretty similar problem. His solution was to, in effect, build a workshop inside the space, leaving a lobby area for waste, off cuts, junk etc. He has double doors into the area (basically a box turned upside down) leaving most of the concrete floor exposed and just building a ply platform for the benches. Bit of a different solution perhaps, but he seemed very pleased with the results and said it hadn't been too pricey. I like the idea of the "window wall" though, could be easily adapted to the upside down box idea...

Cheers, Alf
 

Neil

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Yes, sorry Shadowfax - I wasn't very accurate with what I was saying, and should have said 'polystyrene-like substance' as I've no idea what they are made of nowadays. The heaters will certainly be fine with whatever is used for the tiles now, as they are designed specifically for this application and have all the relevant certifications.

NeilCFD
 

SimonA

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I think the best and simplest idea is to just build a solid exterior grade partition wall with two large double glazed doors,say around three feet by eight feet each. I don't know the size of your enterance, but you could add a tall window on either side of the doors too. This adds light, a large enough enterance for all you needs, a general enterance/exit, insulation and then last thing at night you can pull the shutters down to give you that extra security.

SimonA
 

johnelliott

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Thanks for the replies and the interest shown, I appreciate it. Since I posted the original query I have learned that a conventional suspended ceiling will probably cost about £500 installed, so that is what I am going to have done. Its important for me to follow convention as far as possible because I hope to employ somebody eventually, and insurance and other types of regulatory bodies like to see conventional stuff. The radiant heaters sound like a good idea too (thanks Neil).
I liked Asleitch's idea about the light tubes, I had thought about that but my main problem is to get some directional light. My current workshop is lit entirely by neon, and many times I have taken stuff out into the daylight only to see a load of imperfections that couldn't be seen under the highly diffused light.
I shall certainly continue to run ideas past you guys, and it will help to get Shadowfax's input on fire prevention and appropriate materials for the job.
I have in mind, for the window wall, to maybe use standard cheapo joinery stuff, including Simon's idea about the glazed doors (french windows), with ordinary windows either side. Being able to roll the metal shutter down at night is a major plus, funny thing, up til I thought about the window wall I assumed that the big roller shutter door was a bad thing, now I realise that it is a good thing. Makes me wonder what other good ideas I'm not having!
John
 

Pete W

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johnelliott":2u05k66a said:
Makes me wonder what other good ideas I'm not having!
In my experience, you'll have most of your best ideas about a week after you finish the conversion :roll: :eek:
 

Drew

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At 14' to the eaves I would be thinking of putting some floor area at about 8' up to allow for storage or space to grow into. It's easier doing it now than in the future

Drew
 
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