new train room. Ceiling needed.

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by csxengineer, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

    After moving into the new house, I have a 12' x 21' unfinished garage I can use for a layout. It is a wood framed building with t-111 walls on the outside and a truss roof. I just started putting in insulation in the walls, and will drywall them, but am unsure about the ceiling. I have trusses spaced 2 feet apart. Should I drywall ceiling too, or put in a drop ceiling? Which is easier, warmer, etc?
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If you drywall it, you can put insulation in the attic which should make it warmer.
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I've gotta agree with Russ here. Insulation is very important. Your enjoyment of your trains is directly proportional to your personal comfort.

  4. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I'm sure at 24" the spacing will be fine. If you are concerned about the weight of the drywall, I'd screw some 1x2's (or even 2x4's if you are really into overbuilding structure like me) as strapping on 16" centers and screw the drywall boards into that. Drywall standing on end is heavy enough, imagine it hanging from the ceiling. Maybe overkill, but that's what I'd do.
  5. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

    drop ceiling

    So than, a drop ceiling wouldn't really provide any insulation, it's more cosmetic?
  6. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Actually a few more were you planning to heat the "Man Den"?

    Wood Stove? Hydro? Natural Gas/Propane? Nothing?

    If you want something that is really going to trap the heat instead of blowing it out the roof top, then R20 with drywall is the way to go. If you just want to keep the draft out and aren't too worried about how cold it gets, then a drop ceiling would be fine.
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    5/8" drywall will work fine for your ceiling, as 24" centres are pretty standard for truss roofs. Make sure to plan for your lighting needs ahead of time, and it'd be a good idea to ensure that you've plenty of electrical receptacles around the room, too. If you're not planning on walling-off the overhead door area, how are you going to insulate it? If you're not going to tap into the heating system for your house, electric baseboard heaters are a safe option for heating: you can set them fairly low so that the area never gets too cold, then crank them up when you plan on working on the layout.

  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think a drop ceiling can be insulated, but I don't know if it is as easy as it is to insulate a drywall ceiling. The drop ceilings are usually constructed with an aluminum frame work that the ceiling tiles "drop" into. Aluminum is one of the best conductors of heat known to man which makes it extremely difficult to insulate.

    What sort of garage door do you have? If it is a one piece wood door, you could probably glue some foam to the inside of the door to insulate it. You would still have some heat loss, or gain depending on the season around the perimiter of the door, but foam insulation on the door itself would help some.
  9. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    You can insulate a drop ceiling but it's difficult to install a proper vapour barrier, and without that, your insulation will quickly become useless. And if you've got the option, go for a wall in place of the garage door. It's much easier to insulate, and if you have to store the car inside, bring it in and then put up the wall anyway. :rolleyes::p:-D:-D

  10. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Herewith my two cents worth, having done several conversion jobs on structures including garages:

    1. First step: determine your electrical needs, including whether or not you will need a subpanel to provide them. If you plan on using electrical baseboard heaters, be sure that a) your electrical system will support them and b) your wallet will too. Newer homes usually don't need subpanels - older homes usually do. Really old homes need a licensed electrician. Baseboard heaters can get expensive to operate, depending on your area. Here in Colorado they seem to run on money, but sometimes you don;t have too many options, either.

    2. Install all electrical outlets, ceiling light fixtures of whatever type, light switches, etc., onto the bare studs. Leave the proper spacing for the thickness of your drywall. Apologies for the emphasis, but this is too often overlooked by DYI'ers. Now is the time to consider where to place electrical service outlets and switches relative to your model layout, so that the crucial switch is not buried behind a mountain or just out of reach. Been there, done that and done it over again to get it right. As the guy said in The Last Samurai - "...too many minds..."

    3. Insulate with the highest R-value you can afford. There is no such thing as too much insulation. Vapor barriers are a must if the area is heated, and be sure the barriers face the right way. Alternatively, there are pray-on wall insulations that are easy and efficient to apply, either by yourself with rental equipment or by a contractor. The advantage to the spray stuff is that there are no gaps at all if done properly, especially around those pesky electrical boxes.

    4. Drywall: check local codes. Many areas require fire-resistant drywall and a specific thickness for garages. If you use electric baseboard heaters, put in fire-resistant drywall even if it is not required. If you can handle it, use the 12' sheets and install them horizontally on the walls with the proper joint overlaps. This works a lot better than vertical application. For ceilings, rent a drywall lift which is a gadget that holds the sheet and pushes it up against the ceiling, leaving you free to work without strain using both hands, or build a simple holder out of 2x4's. Attach drywall using drywall screws. Most places require this by code now, but in you have seasons, nails will pop due to expansion and contraction - screws won't - and screws are easy to put in properly without damage to the drywall that you will have to repair when you do the nasty part - tape and mud part. Screws are also handy when you goof up and have to remove them, thus leaving olny little bitty holes to cover up. :rolleyes:

    5. Garage door: frankly, I would take it out and stud in a standard wall, thus allowing for insulation, electrical and so forth. If you think you need access through that side, consider putting in an insulated door. You are unlikely to move in anything larger than your base unit lumber, unless you do modular modelling in which case consider a double door such as shops use. If you want/need a window, plan for it ahead of time.

    6. Ventilation: I know; here we are discussing keeping the place warm and suddenly I'm talking about blowing cold air through the place. Don't know what your climate is like, but things can get stuffy, and good air circulation in warm weather is a major comfort item. I mention it here because you might want to consider a filter system to keep dust to a minimum, as modelling layouts hate the stuff. If you plan to have groups inside during warm weather, a/c might be somethng to consider.

    7. Just a passing thought, but when planning benchwork, consider catilevering it off the walls, easy to do, thus leaving the space below unhampered. There is also no sauch thing as too much storage space.

    8. If your garage is stand-alone, consider if you want an intercom while you're doing the intial conversion work. This allows you to call the "Big House" and order another cold beer without taking your hands off the throttle of your favorite loco! It also prevents that "I can never get you when I need you because you are so wrapped up in your hobby" speech. :cool:

    9. Don't forget a work space for yourself for creating all those terrific models, and consider if you need special lighting or other requirements for that before you set it up.

    Forgive me if this sounds innappropriate in any way - did I mention that I have made all of the possible mistakes myself while I was learning how not to do it right the first time? It's just like modelling - if you get the basics and the first steps right, things go a whole lot better later on.

    Good luck and many years of enjoyment! I envy you- you have the makings of a dream layout.
  11. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Lots of good advice there, Mountain Man. :thumb: The only disagreement you'll get from me is concerning the size of the drywall sheets. For an amateur, it's a lot easier to get a good finish on the joints by utilising the tapered edges. I know that most drywallers like to put up the sheets horizontally, and while it saves a few seams, it's a lot fussier work to get a really good finish on a butt joint. Of course, it depends on the height of your layout, too, but if it's under 4' and you're planning on using the wall as part of your backdrop, you'll get a nicer finish if you install the sheets vertically. It's also a lot faster to finish, despite the few extra seams.
    If you are going to use the walls as your backdrop, consider "coving" the corners. This makes them less obtrusive for both viewing and photography, and is easy to do if you plan for it when finishing the walls.

    Not surprisingly, I installed the drywall vertically, ;) using 1/2". To accomodate the cove, end the 1/2" drywall one stud spacing from both sides of the corner, whether the corner is an inside one or an outside one. If the space is much less than the standard 14 1/2", end the sheet an additional space from the corner. Now, board the uncovered spaces with 3/8" drywall (if your local code specifies minimum 1/2" drywall, then use 1/2" at the corners and 5/8" for the balance of the
    room). This technique will work regardless of whether you install the drywall vertically or horizontally, by the way.
    Now, using a sheet of regular 1/8" Masonite, (you don't need to buy the "Tempered" stuff, which is more expensive, but it will work too) cut a piece 5" or 6" narrower than the total width of the pieces of 3/8" drywall at each corner - you may have to trim more off this to get it to fit, but better to start too big than too small. :rolleyes: Align one edge on the surface of the 3/8" material and butt it against the adjoining 1/2" sheet, then push against the centre of the face of the Masonite towards the corner until the other edge "pops" into place. If it won't "pop" into place, you may have to trim the Masonite a little narrower. For outside corners, the procedure is the same, except the Masonite should be about 5" or 6" wider than the combined widths of the 3/8" pieces. Use drywall screws to fasten the Masonite in place, but pre-drill clearance holes in it, and use a countersink, as it won't compress under the screwheads like drywall does. Tape and finish the seams as you would regular drywall. You can curve Masonite down to at least a 12" radius, although a broader curve will look less noticeable. In the first two photos, the gap is to allow for installation of a second level of the layout.



    And a couple of views of the finished corners - inside:

    And outside:

    And a couple more where the cove is not too noticeable:


  12. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Another excuse just to show off your awesome layout eh there Doc.

  13. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Drywall; and other curses

    Actually, Tetters,, , it is easier to put up the twelve foot struff, and there is a little trick that homeland security would prefer not to give ou,t but I will willimgly introduce you to tre arcane tricks amd spels of the mudslingers. Simply take a legth of 2x4 and lay it at an angle along the butt end of the drywall sheet. Now tap firmly along the front edge of this board, cmpressing tre gypsum material and and making a perfectly tpered joimt.!

    Be sure to mix your own mud...:cool:

    HOOO-Aaah! :thumb:

  14. kpolak

    kpolak Member

    Definately insulate the ceiling, make sure your roof is ventilated at the soffits and with roof or ridge vents. Also make sure you have air space above the insulation at the outside walls to allow outside air to pass by your new attic insulation. Styrene ventilation supports are available to place between the rafters to keep an open air space between the soffits and the attic. Attic insulation should extend over the stud wall to the outside of the outside wall above the soffit.

    Lay in ceiling will be easier (less mess) and will absorb the sound, and make the room quieter. Lay-in will make attic access easier, and you won't need a deadicated access panel.

    If you use recessed lighting, and have the ceiling as close to the joists and insulation as possible, make sure your light fixtures are rated to be in contact with insulation.

    Hope this helps.
  15. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    Thank goodness we are in Western PA where we still don't need a permit to put a ceiling in our garages. Well the truth be told since mine are farm buildings I am exempt from any government rules. Yeah the state did adopt a minimum building code regulation a few years back.

    So you have the traditional T-111 garage. I would stay away from the drop ceiling if you intend to open the garage doors. No matter what you use a quick strong wind will displace the ceiling tiles. In addition unless you plan to heat it year round the metal strips will rust in a few years.

    I suspect if you are going to drywall the walls you don't need any expert tips to do the ceiling. Tapered or non tapered the only way to do a good job is to take your time and use the least amount of compound as you can. The dust can be a killer to deal with.

    If your not going for the additional room look to the house you might want to consider particle board. The other thing I don't like about a drop ceiling in that location is that is gives a lot of room for the mice to run.

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