Insulating a shed?

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Buelligan
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Insulating a shed?

Postby Buelligan » Mon Oct 26, 2020 11:58 am

Wasn't sure whether this belonged here or in the off topic section, but thought as it houses my railway, it is model related...

So a quick question for this of you with sheds that you use for more than just storage. If you've insulated it, how have you done it?

I've got a 10'x6' shed with windows all along 1 side, that houses my model railway. It was fine, if a little hot, during the spring and summer, but now the temperature is dropping it's getting a little chilly out there. I had some rolls of foil bubblewrap type stuff left over from doing the roof and door in the garage at our last house, so I've put that on the shed roof, but I've like to do the walls as well.
At the moment I'm looking at using insulation board, such as this: https://www.building-supplies-online...-x-2400mm.html

And then covering it with 3.6mm ply which I can then paint. The insulation can't be thicker than 45mm as that's the width of the shed frame, and the boards for my track is already in place.

I've managed to get the price down to £185 including delivery, but with the time of year, money is tight so I'm wondering if there's any cheaper way I've not thought of. I think I could get away with less plywood, but the place I've found has a minimum order of 5 sheets, and to get less from other places, seems to cost just as much.

I'm not expecting a lovely warm room, but something that's insulated enough to be kept heated with an oil filled radiator would be good. At the moment I have to use a fan heater to get it warmed up and within a few minutes of it turning off, the temperature has dropped and it has to come back on, and costs a fortune to run.

Times like these I wish I'd kept hold of the FBH I had so I could adapt it to heat the shed!

Bigmet
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby Bigmet » Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:33 pm

Sheets of low density foam are the thing, trapping loads of air, whatever you can find most economically. Sealing the joins makes a major difference, and a good idea I have seen used where the available depth for insulation was about 45mm, was 20mm thick sheets with the joints of the two layers that made up the combined 40mm thickness staggered to the centrelines of the pieces. More work to install, but with care taken to gum it all together onto the shed, a near airtight box was produced, which warms up very quickly with very little heat input.

The one exception of course the one side with windows and doors which sounds like yours, these were 'lightweight shed standard' of leakiness, and were left so to avoid overmuch build up of condensation. Neither was there any attempt to put in a vapour barrier which some would say is vital. It was anticipated that this might result in a relatively short life for the shed, but the owner constructed it very cheaply as his teenager's band practice space cum den and wasn't overly concerned about longevity. But twenty years after the build, it was still standing and the new owner used it as his hobby shop for woodworking projects, and it looked like it had many years life yet in it. And considering this was up on the North Yorkshire moors where cold and wet is plentiful...

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RailwayRobbo
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby RailwayRobbo » Mon Oct 26, 2020 2:31 pm

Hi Derrick how's things?
You've been in my layout shed a couple of times I think when you've called to pick up some wagons and coaches you've bought from me.
If you look at the early posts in my PETERSDALE thread you'll see a few pictures of the construction of the shed.
I was lucky having to construct only 2 sides. The remaining 2 sides are actually part of my neighbours house which are partly stone and brick.
The main framework was cls 38 x 63 timber they use for studwork in houses. I put a waterproof membrane on the outside of the frame before putting on the wooden cladding. I just used ordinary polystrene to insulate the gaps, then finished it off the inside with 3mm plywood that I varnished. I also put double glazed units in the windows.
The shed does benefit from where it's sited tucked away in a sheltered corner. One side of the shed is nextdoors house and the long side with the windows in faces directly onto the neighbours face which is about a metre away. The sun rises at the brick end of the shed and moves round in front of the window side to go down facing the door in the west. This means I get very little sunlight through the windows all year round. The shed is also out of any direct winds as well.
I have installed a wall fan to move the air around if it does get a bit warm and a use a portable calor gas heater in the winter, usually on a low setting lighting it about 15/20 minutes before I go in.
I try and give the shed exterior at least 1 coat of preservative every year and it's still looking good and watertight after 15 years.

Pete

Buelligan
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby Buelligan » Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:53 am

Bigmet wrote:Sheets of low density foam are the thing, trapping loads of air, whatever you can find most economically. Sealing the joins makes a major difference, and a good idea I have seen used where the available depth for insulation was about 45mm, was 20mm thick sheets with the joints of the two layers that made up the combined 40mm thickness staggered to the centrelines of the pieces. More work to install, but with care taken to gum it all together onto the shed, a near airtight box was produced, which warms up very quickly with very little heat input.

The one exception of course the one side with windows and doors which sounds like yours, these were 'lightweight shed standard' of leakiness, and were left so to avoid overmuch build up of condensation. Neither was there any attempt to put in a vapour barrier which some would say is vital. It was anticipated that this might result in a relatively short life for the shed, but the owner constructed it very cheaply as his teenager's band practice space cum den and wasn't overly concerned about longevity. But twenty years after the build, it was still standing and the new owner used it as his hobby shop for woodworking projects, and it looked like it had many years life yet in it. And considering this was up on the North Yorkshire moors where cold and wet is plentiful...


Thanks, that's something to look into. I'd dismissed sheets of polystyrene due to the mess it makes when cutting, but that seems to be the only thing I can find in 20mm thickness. I'll do some more searching later tonight after work. I'm hoping to have power put in to the shed permanently, so I can pop out and turn a heater on (or even better, one of those wifi controlled plugs so I can do it from my phone) a little before I go out there so it pre-heats it for me.

The windows are something else I need to think about. When I fitted them I used glazing sealant around the frames, then pushed the glass into that, then another bead of sealant on the outside, and then nailed the beading in place, so the windows are pretty well sealed, (apart from the pane I cracked when fitting) though they are single glazing. I did wonder whether getting some sheets of clear acrylic or something and fitting them over the frame on the inside might help, but could also trap moisture.


RailwayRobbo wrote:Hi Derrick how's things?
You've been in my layout shed a couple of times I think when you've called to pick up some wagons and coaches you've bought from me.
If you look at the early posts in my PETERSDALE thread you'll see a few pictures of the construction of the shed.
I was lucky having to construct only 2 sides. The remaining 2 sides are actually part of my neighbours house which are partly stone and brick.
The main framework was cls 38 x 63 timber they use for studwork in houses. I put a waterproof membrane on the outside of the frame before putting on the wooden cladding. I just used ordinary polystrene to insulate the gaps, then finished it off the inside with 3mm plywood that I varnished. I also put double glazed units in the windows.
The shed does benefit from where it's sited tucked away in a sheltered corner. One side of the shed is nextdoors house and the long side with the windows in faces directly onto the neighbours face which is about a metre away. The sun rises at the brick end of the shed and moves round in front of the window side to go down facing the door in the west. This means I get very little sunlight through the windows all year round. The shed is also out of any direct winds as well.
I have installed a wall fan to move the air around if it does get a bit warm and a use a portable calor gas heater in the winter, usually on a low setting lighting it about 15/20 minutes before I go in.
I try and give the shed exterior at least 1 coat of preservative every year and it's still looking good and watertight after 15 years.

Pete


Hi Pete, all is good here, very busy at work and many other things keeping me away from the railway at the moment.
Yes I have, and I seem to remember it being a cold day one time and your shed was nice and warm! I'm a bit stuck with the windows already fitted, and nice to hear you covered it all in 3mm ply, so I am thinking along the right lines. How did you find cutting the polystyrene? I tried to cut some for some other things and found it incredibly messy. I'd read a good sharp blade should just slice through it quite cleanly, so I got a new decent one from work but I just ended up with little balls of polystyrene everywhere! Hence why I was looking at the foam type of boards, I figured they'd be a bit cleaner/easier to cut straight.

I do intend to install a fan for Summer, there's a couple of air vents in the back wall of the shed, which is pretty much always in the shade. So my plan is to fit a couple of smallish computer fans on the inside of those vents, and connect them up to a solar panel. So whenever its sunny, the fans are running. For cooler air I've got one of those JML Chillmax fans that you fill with cold water, which works surprisingly well, as long as you're sat directly in front of it.

I was trying to stay away from any sort of gas fire in there, as I can see it all going up in smoke! I did have an old diesel pre-heater from my car that I was going to use as a heater in the garage. Then the new house had electric in the garage so I sold the diesel heater, and then realised it would've been great to heat a radiator in the shed. Doubly annoying as it could be made to work from text messages, so I could have sent a text when I left work, and come home to a lovely warm shed!

As for treating the outside, it was treated timber, I then painted it in an undercoat (I think it said it was an Alkyd based paint) then used a compatible top coat of gloss cream, and gloss red. Vastly over estimating how much it would need, I've enough red left to do redo the window frames at least another 10 times, and enough cream for 1 or 2 more coats.

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RailwayRobbo
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby RailwayRobbo » Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:44 pm

I used a very sharp carving knife to cut the polystrene. I also kept sharpening it between cuts with a steel. I used a stainless steel straight egde as well to get a good straight cut. I had quite a bit of polystyrene off cuts. When I was teaching we had a guy from a local company bring us offcuts of the white and also the denser blue polystyrene you can get. We only used the blue so I was stockpiling the white for later use on the shed.
When I light the calor gas heater I don't usually leave the shed with it on. I shudder to think how much the stock in there is worth. I guess I should put it on the contents insurance.

Pete

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Bufferstop
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:51 pm

Check the wording in your insurance. A model railway tends to be treated as a collection of items, in which case you have to list them all, or a single high value item in which case they want to know what security precautions you have. It would be a good idea to make sure that the door and window frames are at least as strong as the ones to the house. Most sheds can be opened by prising the frame away from the woodwork. We have a cabin in the garden with 50mm thick boards and 100mm square frames but it would have been very easy to pull the hinge pins out, so I went along to the agricultural store and bought two pairs of galvanised strap hinges and a box of dome headed 150mm long bolts. They are drilled straight through the timber with washers, nuts and locknuts on the inside when the doors are fully opened a two man lift will get them off the hinges but when they are fastened shut they can't be moved at all and they are locked with the same locks as all of the doors to the house. I covered the floor in insulation board covered with chipboard and an old thick carpet . The roof is insulated with glass fibre wool between the beams held up by insulation board. It would be great if I didn't have somewhere indoors for the railway.
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Buelligan
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby Buelligan » Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:02 am

Bufferstop - Good point Re. house insurance. I really should phone them and see what they say, though to be honest, we moved back in March and it's only this morning I remembered to cancel the house insurance on the old house, when they sent the renewal through for it! So that's 8 months we've paid for, for a house we didn't even live in!

My shed isn't the most secure, with the big windows it'd fairly easy to smash a pane and get in. The door is fairly secure, heavy duty piano type hinge that got all the way from the top to the bottom.

It's surprising how much these railways add up without realising. I've got a tiny collection compared to most of you, but when I think about it, added up its still easily £2000+. Really I'm planning on not keeping stock in the shed, I want to get some of those storage trays so the locos and rolling stock is taken inside the house each time, but with all good intentions, this wouldn't happen every time, and you can guarantee the 1 time I don't bring it all in is the time something happens.

I haven't got the roof height to put anything thick on the floor, being a pent shed my head already hits the roof on 1 side, most I'll manage is some thick carpet. The glass fibre wool that you used, is that the stuff that comes in rolls? I had a look at that initially as I though it'd be easier to fit and squash in to place, but when I looked most of it said it was 100mm thick, so only having 45mm I assumed I wouldn't be able to use it.

Pete - Ah right, it was a snap-off stanley type of knife I tried, maybe it was too flexible. I've not really got any room for anything as big as a gas heater in my shed, I've got an oil filled radiator that should do the job and not take up too much space.

I think it's going to have to go on hold for a little while now anyway, I got a quote for putting power in to the shed, and it's quit a bit more than I was expecting, So insulation will have to wait until at least next month.

heda
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby heda » Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:27 am

It might be worth fitting a motion sensor light and alarm in the shed, you can also pick up a wi fi camera and recorder quite cheaply. All act as a deterrent to would be thieves and may well reduce your insurance premium.
Dave

Bigmet
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby Bigmet » Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:50 am

Buelligan wrote:...It's surprising how much these railways add up without realising. I've got a tiny collection compared to most of you, but when I think about it, added up its still easily £2000+. Really I'm planning on not keeping stock in the shed, I want to get some of those storage trays so the locos and rolling stock is taken inside the house each time, but with all good intentions, this wouldn't happen every time...

This is an 'evolution' that will be familiar to many of us.

One of the good features of this hobby is that relatively small expenditures on good items that are well looked after, will over time build up into something quite significant, which can be used and enjoyed with no further expenditure over the long term. Forget the money, the same way you don't keep account of expired sports season tickets or club memberships, rounds down the pub, television packages, and most other hobby/entertainment spends: whose only physical remains tend to toward aching joints, liver damage and an ever larger dent in the sofa.

Moving the stock off the layout tends to become a drag in time, unless you devise an extremely efficient system of 'lift off trays, stack on a trolley and wheel away' to the secure location, and vice-versa. A common progression if this hobby interest persists and develops, is to find a way to have a secure location as and when the opportunity allows.

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Free_at_last
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby Free_at_last » Wed Oct 28, 2020 1:14 pm

On my 16x8 shed I ended up removing the windows and installing extra studs and boarded them over after many times trying to stop water ingress. They were blanked out anyway to stop the sunlight.
I also removed the feeble double doors and installed a single frame and more robust door with mortise lock.
I will have to install an air vent as I can hear the 12" extract fan struggle when the door is closed.
1 window.jpg

2 window.jpg

3 door.jpg
4 door.jpg
5 door.jpg
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Bufferstop
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Oct 28, 2020 5:43 pm

You make a good point about blanking the windows, to keep the sunlight off the models. The alternative is to raise the models to chest height and put your work bench below the window with just its top part blanked off.
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Buelligan
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby Buelligan » Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:25 pm

Thought I'd already replied to this thread...

The windows are covered by venetian blinds, so the track stock is protected from sunlight, but I can angle the blinds to allow light in when needed.

As for insulating the shed, that is still the plan, but I need to wait until I've got the garage tidied up enough for me to store and cut the materials in there. At the moment I can just about get in to the freezer in the front corner, the rest of the garage being a complete mess.

I have however found a heating solution that I'm happy with. On the car forum I'm a member of I'd read about using the fuel burning heater from the car in a shed, linked to a radiator, basically a little standalone central heating type of thing. While looking in to this I found you can get fuel burning heaters that are complete units with a blown air system. I got some Amazon vouchers for my birthday, and then as a thank you from work, as they can't do the usual Christmas party, panto, and allowance for a team get together due to social distancing, they gave us all £50 Amazon vouchers too! So I found a complete kit on amazon and got it ordered. It arrived last week but I've only just got around to fitting it.

I'm very impressed with it, a bit noisy at first when its initially warming up, but once up to temperature it all calms down a bit and is just a lovely warm air. Previously using a fan heater or oil filled radiator, I seemed to get a lot of condensation on the inside of the windows. But with this diesel heater it cleared it all nicely and warmed the whole shed rather than just being warm in front of the heater.

Fitting it was very easy. Put it on a couple of blocks of wood to raise it enough to allow the air intake and exhaust to connect to the bottom of the unit, drilled 2 holes in the shed wall, 1 for each pipe, filled it with diesel, and connected a battery, then randomly pressed buttons until something happened, as the chinglish instruction book had nothing that related to the particular control panel on my unit.

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mjb1961
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby mjb1961 » Sat Dec 26, 2020 3:45 pm

Looks and sounds like a good solution but what is the fuel consumption like ,also did you know that you could use red diesel instead of regular diesel ,it's almost half price .

Buelligan
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby Buelligan » Sat Dec 26, 2020 8:18 pm

mjb1961 wrote:Looks and sounds like a good solution but what is the fuel consumption like ,also did you know that you could use red diesel instead of regular diesel ,it's almost half price .


I've not used it enough to really know for sure, I've had 2-3 hours use out of it and at a guess looking at the tank, I'd say its used maybe half a litre. The thread I found the suggestion on, on the other forum, said that it used around 0.2l an hour. I believe it uses more when heating up, and then less when keeping a constant temperature. I was aware of the possibility of using red diesel, but I've no idea where around here sells it, and my car is diesel so easy to just fill a couple of cans when I fill the car. Though if it's as low as half price, I'll look in to it more.

mjb1961
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Re: Insulating a shed?

Postby mjb1961 » Sat Dec 26, 2020 8:28 pm

You can get red diesel from a canal boat yard .


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