Layout in a unheated/cooled garage

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by LocoIndy76, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. LocoIndy76

    LocoIndy76 Member

    I hope this is the right place to post this, but I have a question.

    I don't have a lot of space in our house and I wanted to make my layout in the garage. My garage is NOT heated, but it is insulated. It gets cool to cold in the winter, but is definitely warmer than the outside. It gets warm in the summer, but never really hot...

    is this OK for making a setup and for the train itself?

  2. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    Sure, that shouldn't be a problem in the winter as long as you can handle it (just don't go licking the rails, haha) but in the summer could be a different story. The heat will cause the track to kink if it gets too hot, so I would plan for a few expansion joints in your track work.
  3. LocoIndy76

    LocoIndy76 Member

    Thanks for the reply... It never gets too hot. usually it gets 85-95 in the summer outside, so I'd say it'll get a bit over 80 in the garage. Is that too hot? Never have the SUN, but it might get the humidity. Like I said, it is insulated so it does pretty good keeping the worst OUTSIDE.

    Thanks again!
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Usually what is more susceptible to movement in a case like this is the wood that the benchwork is made from. The plastic and metal tracks stay relatively stable, but the wood moves from heat, cold, and/or humidity.

    The solution is partly the same - leave expansion gaps in the track to allow for movement. But also make sure your benchwork is as stable as possible. Plywood is more stable than dimensional lumber (like 1x4 pine, for example). Always paint all surfaces to help seal it from outside moisture.

    Another option for benchwork is steel studs and extruded (pink or blue) styrofoam. For some pictures of what this looks like, check out my friend Andy's layout -> Click on the various picture links within the text for some shots of various stages of construction.

  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Probably the thing to be more concerned about would be dust. You can be sure that the garage is not sealed as well as the rest of the house and dust has a tendency to blow in, mostly through the garage door, but also through vents that are there for things like water heaters. I would suggest that it might be a good idea to cover the layout when it's not in use. I had my layout in the garage for about two years before we moved, but it was N scale an on a door so that there wasn't much movement because of climate changes.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    It depends on your climate. Here in Southern California, the humidity is pretty constant, so benchwork doesn't change dimensions much summer or winter, but the metal rails will expand and contract with temperature changes. In fact, at one of our modular club set ups in a mall we were told to set up under some skylights. One member had been very vocal about how we should cut our joiner tracks precisely so that there would be no gaps between the joining rails between modules. He was in charge of the set up for that show and showed us "how it should be done" at the friday night set up. Everything worked fine until the sun hit those skylights. As the sun coming through the skylights started hitting various parts of the layout, it would take less than 10 minutes to start seeing rails kinking! We ended up removing all of the joiner tracks and trimming them to allow for expansion. Since then we try to install joiner tracks with at least enough space on both ends of the joiner to allow a businees card to fit between the joining rails.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    True... and good story too!

    It is really the changes (no matter what they are) that are the problem. If it is always humid, or cold, or whatever, as long as it stays the same you'll be fine. It's the change in the environmental conditions that wreaks havoc... hamr

  8. Relic

    Relic Member

    I have had my empire in an unclimate controlled garage for about fouf years and have had pretty well no climate related problems{I do have a trapline for mice,they use my buildings for grain storage}I bring all my engines in the house but otherwise have taken no special precautions.With about 70ft of mainline and no joints soldered there is no kinking.
  9. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    When i had my layout in the garage, my main problem was mice eating my mountains. The mountains were made up of chicken wire, paper towels and spackle... nothing very appetizing, but to them it was a buffett - lol no more garage layouts for me...
  10. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    More likely, they were using it for nesting. Chewed up paper becomes a nice, warm little mouse bed and you have non-paying renters living in your mountian.
  11. Relic

    Relic Member

    For some reason my meece don't destroy anything.All my trees are natural but painted, the buildings are all paper of some kind and all the little critters do is,as I said use the buildings for storage and once in a while knock something over{I don't fasten down a lot of details so I can change the look even a little, like it doesn't take a lpp a month to walk accross the yard}
    AND I have no shortage of mice,last week eight were "captured" eventhough the garage is patroled by my 15lb natural tomcat.
  12. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    My non-climate controlled train room experiences temperatures from the low-teens to a maximum of 110+. Based on experience with a past layout in the same room, I now lay track during spring and fall when the temperature ranges between 60 and 80. I leave expansion joints and attach the track with Atlas nails in every hole in the flex-track. I still have some slight buckling in the summer, but nothing that causes derailments. MasonJar is also correct about the changes in conditions and its effect on wood. My greater problem is Mother Nature's creatures. Like Relic and hooknlad, I have mice eating scenery and littering. Worse are the spiders and wasps. Spiderwebs everywhere that attract dirt (another issue), and foul running gear. Occasionally they spoil an otherwise excellent digital picture. In this part of Texas we have a wasp called a "dirt dauber". They build multi-chambered nests out of mud and prefer to squeeze through tight holes to conceal them. On my layout their favorite is the round cut-out holes in the ends of ACF covered hoppers. A large nest attached to one inside side of a hopper can cause them to topple on curves.
    If that's your only space. use it. Careful tracklaying, regular vacuumings, mouse-traps and observation, will overcome most of the resulting conditions.
  13. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    :wave: Does the tomcat ever decide to sit on your favorite building? They do have tendency to do things like that!:D
  14. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    :eek: :eek:

    That space I would consider unuseable!! For the cost of a loco, one could get a 110v
    air conditioner or an electric heater. Insulation and hole-filling is relatively cheap.
    I think that attention to these utilities would greatly multiply one's enjoyment of the
    layout!! :D :D

    We could maybe come up with some sources and/or suggestions to assist our members
    in making some of these spaces habitable! As long as it's for a layout, it's "train related"!:D

Share This Page