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Garage to Workshop Conversion

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ByronBlack

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Fellow wood-butchers, I require some of your insight. I've been pushing the boundaries of my small shed too far and now i'm in desperate need of more workspace.

I have a garage that's in my back-garden, and its a fair size, a little larger than a single-car garage, and I wish to convert this to a workshop. The construction of this building as it currently stands is a breeze block frame with timber roof joists, clad with asbestos roof-sheeting.

The floor is just concrete and there is currently no insulation. There is electric however.

What I need to know is, what is the best way of converting this to a workshop so that the temperature remains consistent and are there any issues I need to think about with regards the floor (I don't fancy working on concrete).

The roof currently just overhangs the walls, so there is a 2-3" gap between the walls and roof, how should I board and insulate this without removing the asbestos roofing sheets and putting on a proper roof?

Also, are there any resources that can help me work out my layout as i've not really got any idea of how to space things out to make a comfortable working space.

Any hints and tips will be greatly received.
 
A

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Good luck BB
Can you just fit a ceiling across and insulate that or do you not have the headroom.
My workshop floor is concrete and I find it OK to work from/on.
I would think that humidity is the main thing to keep constant. Insulating will make it easier to keep warm whilst working, although its a bit of a balancing act, I dont have any insulation on my block built w/shop and find the sun , even in the colder months, heat up the walls enough to keep the chill off. But then its hotter down here in the swamps.
 

ByronBlack

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Hi JMT

The headspace is a little low, and with only a single side-facing window there isn't much light, so i'm having to use strip lighting, and if I put a new ceiling in, the lights would be just a foot or so higher than me - not sure how safe that is.

My garden is sheltered by a number of large conifer tree's and the garage doesn't get much sunlight, so i'm worried about cold, damp conditions, would a small heater/dehumidifier be the best way to go?
 

Adam

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ByronBlack":91bnjkcc said:
so i'm worried about cold, damp conditions, would a small heater/dehumidifier be the best way to go?
I'd suggest you start with the search facility.

Try entering words individually such as:

Garage
Dehumidifer
Concrete
Breeze
Asbestos
noise
insulation

Then try combining some - and ticking the "search all terms" box with terms all the combinations of above.

I think nearly every aspect of your question has been answered somewhere or other already.

Heres just a small selection that came up when I typed in a few terms:

https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6370
https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5931
https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2385
https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4962

You probably want to allocate a bit of time to it as theres loads of valuble information already.

Adam
 

ByronBlack

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Cheers Adam, I have spent the last hour or so going through search results, some not so useful as others, hence why I posted specific questions. I appreciate the links you have posted.
 

woodshavings

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Hi BB
My workshop used to have a concrete floor but have recently fitted a wooden floor which has made a big difference both to standing comfort and heat insulation.

I loose laid 50 x 50 mm bearers, at 300 mm centres, filled gap with fibreglass insulation, and fixed water resistant chipboard floorboards.

HTH

Joh
 

ByronBlack

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Joh - i've read from adams links that it seems to be a popular method of flooring, but here's a real newbie question for you; how do you actually fix the joists/bearers to the concrete floor?
 

Mcluma

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ByronBlack":1saxj1jo said:
. The construction of this building as it currently stands is a breeze block frame with timber roof joists, clad with asbestos roof-sheeting.

.
You are absolutely sure its asbestos???????

If so you are in deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep expensive trouble, and I would NOT work or would come near your shop :twisted:

And if you think of just putting or drilling one hole in asbestos, you are going to be in for it :twisted:

Not to scare you, but if you would like to live a bit longer,............. have it removed by a specialist company

McLuma
 

ByronBlack

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Mcluma, its perfectly safe as i'm not drilling or even touching it. My girlfriend works for an asbestos removal company, so i'm well informed on this sheeting, but appreciate your thoughts.
 

sxlalan

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How much of this asbestos fear is based on fact these days and how much on paranoia? From what I understand it is more people who worked in mines breathing in tons of dust a day that were at risk from asbestosis etc. My family lived in an asbestos house for years and are all going strong (apart from my grandparent who died well into their 90s from non-asbestos related issues!)

Alan
 

StevieB

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Asbestos comes in two common forms, namely white and blue. For roofing sheets, guttering etc its usually the safer of the two forms. Its perfectly legal and safe to remove and dispose of - your local council should accept it at a waste site (not all waste sites so check first) without needing a permit or specialist procedures. Recommendation is to keep it in as large a piece as possible, and generate as little dust as possible ie dont cut or smash it into pieces that will fit in a sack. Wear protective overalls and dust mask as well as eye protection but apart from that you should be fine.

This was the advice from my local council when I was considering buying a house that had asbestos guttering and was worried about the cost of replacing it. (I didnt buy the house in the end but not for this reason).

If the roof of the garage is sound at the moment, I would leave it be. I assume the sheets are over rafters such that you can see the joists from inside? If so I would simply reboard the roof from the inside with plasterboard or similar, then fix lights to this. I would definately enclose the soffit gap you say you have, probably completely to start with but if necessary I would then add vents at a later date.

With regards to the floor, the wooden floor over concrete is usually free floating - that is not fixed to the concrete. In my shed, which is on a concrete slab, I just laid tannelised 2X4 on the floor at 300mm centres and put sheets of OSB over this. The OSB was screwed to the 2x4 but the whole lot simply sits on the concrete slab. I also put a DPM between the slab and the joists in case water crept under the edge of the shed, which you may not feel is necessary for your garage.

HTH,

Steve.
 

Les Mahon

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Dragging this back on topic :D

I fixed the bearers to the floor using hammer fixings - quick and simple. Drill straight through batten and into floor push in fixing - hit with hammer :p

Only problem arrises if you drill through your concrete floor, but that is another story.

Les
 

Adam

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Mcluma":1vwtqllm said:
You are absolutely sure its asbestos???????

If so you are in deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep expensive trouble, and I would NOT work or would come near your shop :twisted:
There is more than one variety of asbestos, as mentioned already, white and blue, and the white is normally impregnanted to a cement based substrate. Many buildings even now use this are roofing matieral - and its not expensive or difficult to remove. Of course sensible safety precautions should be taken but most local authorities have a local waste disposal site (i.e. tip) which takes it. Its normally just a skip with a roof and a closing metal door.

Now if its the blue stuff, you will probably have men in space suits wandering about!

Adam
 

ByronBlack

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Thanks for all the info guy's. Just to calm some nerves, the asbestos roof sheets are the normal safe type, as mentioned these aren't particularly dangerous and they aren't going to be removed anyway - i'll do what was suggested and line from the inside.

With regards the floor joists - my floor is extremely uneven, other than adding 'shims' to the joists to create a straight platform, is there other ways to correct this?

Is self levelling concrete particularly expensive and difficult to lay?
 

StevieB

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Define uneven for us :twisted: Self levelling compounds typicall only level out minor fluctuations, say in the order of several mm - I am basing this on the latex type for spreading prior to laying linolium which is the only type I have used. I am not aware of any self levelling concrete product - although technically a liquid concrete doesnt find its own level very well, and would need to be laid quite thick to prevent later break-up say at least an inch thick, possibly more.

I would think shimming with ply or wedges of timber would be easiest but it depends on the discrepency you are trying to level I guess.

Steve.
 

woodshavings

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ByronBlack":pdqfnykt said:
Joh - i've read from adams links that it seems to be a popular method of flooring, but here's a real newbie question for you; how do you actually fix the joists/bearers to the concrete floor?
The bearers are not fixed to the concrete, they are simply laid on it. When the floorboards are screwed to the bearers, together with their weight, it keeps everything in position.
John
 

ByronBlack

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Steve, by uneven i'm talking in terms of inches over the length, so from what you have said, shimming is probably the best way to go.
 

SketchUp Guru

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Byron,

As much as I'd like a wood floor in my garage shop, I can't afford the lumber so I live with the concrete.

I live in minnesota where average January temps are well below freezing. I find that by keeping the large door closed starting about the end of October the slab doesn't get too cold. I have a ceiling-hung gas heater and keep the thermostat set at about 40°F all winter. The floor stays dry and I have no problem with moisture. The heater is vented outside which also helps prevent moisture build up.

If you are going to insulate make sure you put up a proper vapor barrier and leave some attic airspace above the insulation. You might check and see if it is possible to place insulation on the bottom face of the rafters if you ensure air can circulate between the insulation and roof sheathing. A ridge vent would probably be needed for that which may or maynot be workable depending on the asbestos situation.

G'luck. I hope you post some pictures of your shop as you go.
 

JFC

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You could always hire a tool that cuts 50mm trenches into walls and floors ( forget the name of it now ) but ive used them when fitting wooden floors over concrete floors and head height or a big step has been an issue , you run it along the floor and it cuts 2 grooves then you snap out the concrete with a crow bar and drop your batten into the groove , then fix your flooring to that . don't forget the dpc when putting timber on concrete .
 

ByronBlack

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Dave, Thanks for all the pointers, I think i'm going to go for a wooden floor, mainly for comfort and secondly in the long-run I think it would be cheaper than running a heater throughout the winter - SWMBO also has a heater for her greenhouse, so I would like to keep the energy bills down.

I appreciate the point about ventiliation in the roof, the way the roof is, that should be quite possible to do.

I will most definitly keep a video/photo diary of the entire conversion, I will also be building a bench, cabinet and router-table to finish it all off, so should be an exciting set of projects.
 
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