New Layout

Discussion in 'General' started by William Jackson, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson Supporter

    To some who have the experiences, I have never tried a layout in a garage before. I have always had a controlled enviorment. So with that said, what are the pros and cons to a layout in the garage? We are moving to Springfield, Mo. I could partition some of the garage and heat and cool it, but what about just leaving it to the normal garage enviorment. What Say you? I will be using DCC, any issues with that?
  2. paul slavens

    paul slavens Member

    I did that when I was in my early 20s, the issues I had were lots of dust, the cat would end up walking around on the layout, hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It also turned into a place where stuff got thrown. Was not a good experience, but if you partition it like you mentioned it might work pretty well.
  3. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    What Paul said.

    I can't think of a garage layout I've viewed over the decades that didn't have uncomfortable conditions and excessive dust/critter (cobweb) issues, et al. I would never build a layout in a garage. FWIW: Springfield, MO will be hot (HOT) in the summer and c-c-c-cold in the winter.

    IF you enclose and essentially make into a spare room: Minimal issues. Best of luck whatever you decide!
  4. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    I had my double track layout in the garage and had problems with small spiders. They liked trees. I referred the spiders as N scale eagles. I didn't have a problem with dust though because the car was never parked in the garage.

  5. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    I'd find another location.

  6. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson Supporter

    Thanks to the good replies, I guess that's why we got a 4 BR home. Now for the Game. We'll see, it may be the super bowl or the toilet bowl.
  7. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    I'm sure none of us intend to "dog pile on the rabbit" (said in reference to a humorous Bugs Bunny skit).

    For me, I've learned the hard way that for long term enjoyment, a layout environment really needs the following essentials:

    * To be climatically comfortable. That is, pleasant to be in during the hot and cold months.

    * Have pleasing surroundings. Clutter piled on top, behind, hither n' yon among the layout space is a true detriment to enjoying working on the layout, to say nothing about how it does NOT encourage one to work on the layout.

    * Good lighting. Dark, inadequate lighting tends toward the depressing, and is not conducive to layout progress.

    * Low levels of natural "filth", such as dust, cobwebs, etc, etc.

    * Comfortable to reach all hands-on intensive areas for working and/or operation thereon.

    There's no doubt more that could be added to the above, but in my opinion, the above are some of the most IMPORTANT considerations when it comes to deciding where to build a layout.

    Unfortunately, a garage typically fails on all the above criteria.

    If the garage is the only option, then your idea of building a stud wall to fully enclose the layout area (thus essentially making it a spare room) has the most merit.

    Again, the I wish for you the absolute best success at whatever you decide.
  8. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson Supporter

    Good stuff to remember, Thanks Andre
  9. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    I'll weigh in echoing most of what's been said. If you don't mind; being uncomfortably hot or cold when in the layout space, constantly cleaning everything due to the dust that will migrate into the uncontrolled climate, dealing with track that kinks due to moisture absorption of benchwork and roadbed or intense heat, dealing with cracks in scenery and huge gaps in track due to lack of moisture and/or low temperatures, then you will be okay with using a garage for a layout. Sorry, Bill.
    I know most houses in Springfield do not have basements, so I suspect that is not an option. Will your new house have enough property to add a room to the rear specifically for layout space?
  10. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    If you convert part of your garage to a spare room that can be heated and cooled it will work. I recommend an around the room shelf layout with a peninsula or two.
    With a new room if you bring in only the things that you need to build a layout and nothing more you will be glad afterwards.

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  11. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    "Don't pile on the rabbit, don't pile on the rabbit." One of my favorites.

    At any rate, Bill, I was once where you are. I'd gotten as far as building benchwork before we moved. And, while I was doing okay with dust, lighting and other factors which I felt I could reasonably and cost-effectively control, what I could not cost-effectively remedy was the temperature fluctuations. While I could tolerate the extreme heat in the summer or the severe cold in the winter, I found that both extremes were a very powerful de-motivator.

    Ultimately, I would have borne it all and would have been happy to have it, but if there's a spare, interior room available, I'd start the real estate negotiations now.

    Best Regards,
  12. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson Supporter

    Our new home has a trip car garage, that could be made just like a room, heat and air. You know we would make it like a normal room in a house. Insulated and the full Monty. A bed room is a option, we have 5. We are on a half acre so a out building or addition is possible. At least I no a normal garage is not a option.We are on a half acre, so good things are possible.
  13. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson Supporter

    Yes that may Verry we'll be th way to go. Thanks, for your input.
  14. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Oh... so other options besides a non-climate controlled garage are open to you?

    Then go for what you consider the best option!
  15. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Great Bill, you have a good concept to build the layout room. Are you done yet? LOL
    We will look forward to seeing progress soon. Be sure to take a lot of photos you will be glad you did.

  16. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    My layout is in a storage room, built as part of the house, at the back of our carport, with a breezeway between the house and the storage room. Everything is under one roof. Essentially, the original owner built the room with 4 brick walls and a door, in the back corner of the carport to match the rest of the house. When we moved there, the room was not climate controlled. I live in Alabama. I've seen temps in the single digits and over 100... and let's not even talk about humidity in the south. However, with no other place to go, that's where I built my layout. With no windows, I mounted a window unit A/C at the top of the doorway and made a short door for underneath the A/C. I got the A/C from my parents when they had a central heat & air system put in their house. In other words, I got the window unit at no cost to me. In the winter, I use one of the cheap, infrared, electric heaters I bought at Walmart. I only heat and cool it when I know I'm going to be out there and when temps are mild, I leave the door open and sometimes use just what I call a portable "boxed fan." It takes a little time to heat up or cool down the room so I try to start that hours ahead of time. It's not ideal but I have done the best I can with what I have. I would do more but we rent so it's not like I can just knock out a hole in the brick wall of my landlords storage building for one of those nice "heat/cool," 240v, window units. I built a "surround" layout. 5.5' x 11.5'. The depth is 20" all the way around with a duck under on the end near the door. I take that back. The duck under is only 8" deep.
  17. gbnf

    gbnf Member

    I'll put in a word for the garage layout. I've built ho and n layouts in two basements, one upstairs spare room, one family room, one large upstairs bonus room and two garages. Both the garage layouts were industrial shelf layouts along a side wall with two cars regularly using the garage.

    Some disadvantages of using a room in the house, especially one occupied by a family, are paint and glue fumes/odors, noise, and the debris from sawing, drilling, plastering, painting, etc. If the home is well caulked and insulated you will find odors persist. There tends to be more issues with static electricity which is a problem for electronics. You need to keep tools and supplies locked up and out of the way. Running a completed railroad in the house isn't too bad, but creating one is another story. Moving modules back and forth between a work area in the garage or basement and an upstairs room leaves dings on the walls and pains in the back. Same for tools which are used in more than one location. You tend to track dirt through the house, and use a bathroom or kitchen sink for cleaning up.

    The basement layouts had moisture problems, and people walking on the floors overhead caused dirt and debris to drop from above onto the layout. Although the garage has moisture, the ventilation is better. Going up and down the narrow basement stairs got old. Working in a basement can feel chilly. If you don't heat and dehumidify, glue, paint and plaster may not dry well. Attics and basements accumulate stored items, which need another location if the layout is large. A basement or large room tends to result in a large layout which is never completed. I'm no John Allen, and large layouts have left me gory and defeated.

    When I moved into this house, I went through all the photos from the past and realized that the shelf layout in the garage was the one that I had enjoyed the most. I built one here with an industrial theme, along one wall, 30 inches wide by 13 feet in length. It's right by the electrical panel, with plenty of power available. My workbench and all my tools are close at hand. It does get hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

    Insulating the walls helps a little. I did that in the first instance and not in the present one. Making a pull down cover will help with dust and insects. I didn't do that either. Rubber mats help a lot with standing on the concrete floor. My wife bought me those. A wash sink in the garage is very desirable. I have an outside shed for garden stuff and that helps a great deal. The biggest disadvantage not mentioned above is that people driving or walking by can see into the garage when the overhead door is open.
  18. Tony D

    Tony D Member

    Coming into Frisco country from the north, well, basements just don't exist do they? If a garage is what you got, it will do. It did well for millions of modelers for a couple generations huh? Module club guys prefer a garage don't they? Ya got to have some sort of heat, ac, de-humidifier.... for the layout- and you. Jacket sleeves and sweat don't make for good model railroading do they? N scale eagles and dust are going to be everywhere, but buttonin up the place will help with the whole project in the long run. Have fun!
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  19. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    Hi William,
    Well my friend. You can do as all the above have mentioned. I have seen a few garage layouts myself. Unless they were sealed off, there are always gonna be problems.
    Your best bet is to have a dedicated space for your MRR. Anything less is going to be a compromise, and by definition a problem. It is just that simple. I look FWD to seeing your new home and it's model RR come to life!! I remain confident, you will add your personal touch as only you can...

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