Help me design my finishing room


markhochstein
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The attic of my shop is an unfinished space that is 30' long by 12' wide. I'm in desperate need of a finishing space so I'm seriously considering erecting a wall across the space to make a 12' x 12' finishing room on the far end. It's less than optimum because I have to carry projects up the stairs to finish them and it's not climate controlled (yet), but it's my only option so it will just have to do. There is a window on that end of the attic that will allow me to exhaust overspray. I'm just beginning to formulate my plan and I would love to hear any lessons learned you guys have or pointers to online resources relevant to this subject. This will be done on a shoestring budget so please keep that in mind.

Things I'm wondering about:

lighting

electrical provisions

physical design

dust inhibition

Thanks!

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Oh, no....Loogie, say it ain't so! Is there no other place you can spray? Have you considered setting up a temporary both inside your shop floor main area? If not on to your questions:

Lighting would be of great concern so you would need in my opinion, general lighting, more of those $$$ fluorescent's, plus a few sources of raking light to check finish build, look for sags, etc.

Electrical - probably one circuit for your lighting and one for some recepts, possibly another for a/c and if you plan on dragging your air compressor up there too, you'll need one for that as well. Do you have room in your existing panel to add circuits?

Physical design - is your attic conventionally framed or trussed? Will you be able to place loads on these members? If yes, I would probably deck out an area with 1/2" ply or better. Is this an A-frame or hip roof, how much head clearance do you have? Will you even be able to bring large carcases up into the attic?

Dust inhibition - this really depends first on the insulation already in the attic. I am assuming that you have either fiberglass bats or blown in. Either way, you will be stirring up these small glass fibers each time you spray.... this reason alone would preclude me from going this route....

If you are spraying waterborne, I really can't see why you wouldn't want to move your bench and create some open floor space, put down a canvas drop cloth to protect the floor, install a track or two on the ceiling, hang plastic sheeting, don a respirator and have at it :)

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Chop, I've been spraying everything in my shop for quite a while. I go thru a whole ritual of vacuuming everything, then wet mopping the floor putting down the drop cloth etc, etc. I'm tired of doing all that and then I have to go into "finishing mode" which means that I can't use my shop for anything until I'm completely done finishing - which can be weeks with my travel schedule.

The attic of my shop (I'll take some pictures tomorrow when I get home) if framed with "storage" trusses, so the it's wide open and the floor is about 12' wide and 30' long. The side wall area about 4' high before the 12/12 roof pitch starts and the ceiling is about 8' high. If I build a wall across the attic and put in a set of french doors then I will be able to seal off that are quite effectively to build the finishing room. I plan to insulate it really well so that I can just leave a small space heater running in there if need be to keep it warm. As for cooling I can buy a portable air conditioner if need be.

Right now I'm thinking about just using 1/2" drywall for the walls and ceiling. As for the electrical, I do have open space in my panel, but I already have two outlets wired up there on two separate 20A circuits so I'll probably just branch off of them. I know in automotive paint shops all the lights are on the walls. I'm wondering about that. I will not have running water in this room so I'll have to go back down to the shop for that.

Hopefully if I spray the floor which is wood and paint the walls I should be able to create an area that stays pretty much dust free. I even though about laying down some of that plastic flooring material, but the wood is probably just fine.

I stumbled on this idea a few days ago and my mind has been racing ever since...can you tell!? :P

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Loogie, I am envious of your new found spot. I have no finish area right now and have to sanction a corner of the shop for finishing. Now really a big fan. I know now, that the next shop that I build will have a bathroom and a finishing room. One thing that you may want to check is the drywall thickness for the ceilings. I think that if you are going to finish the area, you may need to use thicker to meet fire code. Best of luck with the new area, and make sure to take lots of pics along the way.

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Your plan sounds like it will work, it may not be the most convenient but you work with what you have. As far as ventilation, if your shop is climate controlled, you could draw air from your shop through high quality filters to a fan/blower exhausting into you spray area. If you put another set of filters in the door leading to your spray area. As long as the area of the discharge in your door is smaller than your blower CFM you will create a positive pressure in your spray room. This is the principal used in “Clean” rooms for delicate electronic assembly. This will keep dust from filtering in through any cracks in the floor and walls as you work down stairs. You mentioned you had a vent to the outside; this could be opened during spraying to exhaust the fumes as needed. This would minimize your heat/ air condition loss and keep your project from going from one temp extreme to another.

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Understood :) What is your method of access to this area? Do you have a walk-up ladder or a stairwell? If you have 12' wide roof area with a 12/12 pitch then your center height is 7' (with stated 4' sidewalls). Sounds like a good amount of headroom even if you are 6', you would have a 3' area to stand in w/o knocking your head! Thinking of codes and all, you may need 5/8" ply for the floor. As for your double doors, they come in 4'-6' wide. Using a 6' wide double door, you would have to cut off about 2'4" to allow for the doors to swing. That would make your entrance height only about 4'8". A standard 3' door would have to be cut as well, but only by about 1'7" leaving you with 5'2" entrance height. Your door options are somewhat limited. You may have to go with an insulated roll up type door. Not exactly your typical residential install. Its a metal slat insulated with some type of foam inside and is either chain or electrically operated. That would be pretty cool :) As for heating and cooling, would you be able to branch off your existing shop's hvac? Ask your installer if your unit has the capacity to include the extra sq. ftge your thinking of. And yes I totally agree, once you seal the wood and drywall it should be pretty dust free. You may want to use the expanding foam type insulation - there would be no dust with that option. Branching off the electrical should be aok. You may want to include an air cleaner up there, no?

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I have a 12x12 finishing room in my shop with 2 8' lights which seems perfect for me, I don't like shadows when I'm spraying. I had also considered the lights on the walls but when I was building my shop I was able to get 2 36" wide glass entry doors that are low E dual pane argon filled for a great price so I framed them in as windows. I would say the most important thing with a finish room is ventilation especially if you are spraying. As I am sure you know if you are going to spray anything solovent based you should have an explosion proof fan, that is one of the main reasons I only spray waterbased. For my finishing room I have a 18" fan in the door with filters and on the other side of the room I have a 12" fan exiting outside. I set the 18" fan at it's lowest setting, the 12" fan is not variable speed but this seems to work out perfectly. If I have a lot of spraying to do I also have a squirel cage fan with a couple filters that I put in the room with me to help out. Just some thoughts.

Nate

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OK guys, I went and took a couple of pictures of the attic to give you an idea what I'm taking about. I also took some measurements. The floor space is 13' wide and the sidewalls are 5' 5" before they hit the roof pitch. The ceiling is 8' high.

You guys all bring up some good points - that's why I asked!

Sac, since this is a standalone building which cannot be occupied as a living facility (by county zoning regs) the fire code apparently does not apply. We didn't need to use any fire code drywall in the original construction. So, to save $$ I'll probably go with 1/2" or so.

Glen, You are spot on with convenience, but better to have a facility even if it's not too convenient than not. As for climate control, I plan on insulating this little room well so that I can heat/cool it on it's own as required. My shop has heat/air but I don't use it unless I need it. There may be times when I want the finishing room kept warm without heating my entire shop - and vice versa. My plan right now is to exhaust out that window on the end of the building and pull in air through two filtered return air grates on either side of the door. We have some of these return air vents in our house. I can cover them with some magnetic sheet material when I'm not in the room to keep warm/cool air from escaping. Each vent is 14x14 so that would be 392 sq/in or intake so I'll size the window exhaust appropriately.

Chop, With the measurements above I think that standard doors will work. I might just go with one 36" door. That would cut down on air/dust leaks. If I can't fit it through that door then I'm probably not going to cart it up those stairs anyway :huh:

Nate, That's good info. I might put in four light fixtures on two circuits. two on the walls and two on the ceiling then at least I have the option of a raking light. I'll have to think about a way to mount the side lights so that I can move them up or down as required. I like that you said "should" have an explosion proof fan. I read that every time someone talks about spraying solvent based finishes. I have been on shop tours of many professional shops with my local guild. Of those shops only one had a formal professional spray booth that met all the EPA requirements. The rest all had some kind of spray booth mock-up and of those only one guy had an explosion-proof fan - he was spraying lacquer and shellac. Most of the guys were just spraying varnish and never seemed to have a problem. I spray mostly water-based with only the occasional varnish spray so I won't be forking for an explosion-proof fan.

Here's the pictures (there are more pictures of my shop in my gallery):

This is the end where the room will be.

DSCN0868.jpg

If you look here you can see the door on a pulley that covers the stairs when it's down.

DSCN0869.jpg

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Not only an explosion proof fan, but all your electrical should be rated explosion proof, including sealed lighting fixtures. That gets quite spendy, then on top of that, dealing with hazmat is a hassle and can be expensive, also. For all these reasons, I will stick with waterbase.

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Not only an explosion proof fan, but all your electrical should be rated explosion proof, including sealed lighting fixtures. That gets quite spendy, then on top of that, dealing with hazmat is a hassle and can be expensive, also. For all these reasons, I will stick with waterbase.

I'm wich u.

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Wow Loogie, that is an awesome amount of space you have up there! And you are absolutely right, a standard door will fit without a hitch. Make sure you leave enough room between your landing and your partition wall for bringing up your parts. Is the stairwell to the attic permanent or retractable?

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Wow Loogie, that is an awesome amount of space you have up there! And you are absolutely right, a standard door will fit without a hitch. Make sure you leave enough room between your landing and your partition wall for bringing up your parts. Is the stairwell to the attic permanent or retractable?

The stairs are permanent (see pic below). I rigged up a plug door with pulley's that drops down to fill the hole. My plan is to build the room on the opposite end of the building from where the stairs come up so there shouldn't be any problem with maneuvering room.

DSC_0141.jpg

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Guest Mahoganus

I built my own paint booth for painting cars years back. Ventilation and lighting are key to a good spray booth. Being you are upstairs you might consider some type of down draft system. Also you might want to put a couple hooks in the ceiling and floor for spraying hanging objects or come up with something good to hold your work. A nice little work bench to set stuff down on is always handy but for the most part you dont want a lot stuff in the booth,, makes it hard to clean.

Is this going to be a finish only room or do you plan to sand in there to?

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I built my own paint booth for painting cars years back. Ventilation and lighting are key to a good spray booth. Being you are upstairs you might consider some type of down draft system. Also you might want to put a couple hooks in the ceiling and floor for spraying hanging objects or come up with something good to hold your work. A nice little work bench to set stuff down on is always handy but for the most part you dont want a lot stuff in the booth,, makes it hard to clean.

Is this going to be a finish only room or do you plan to sand in there to?

That's all realy good info, thanks. I think I'm going to install 3 four foot florescent tubes vertically on each side and two overhead. I'm still thinking about the ventilation aspect. I can't/won't go down thru the floor so I'm trying to figure out about possible blowing the air into the room through a filter and then out through the window. I can open the window varying amounts to adjust the airflow volume. Hopefully this way I could create a slight positive pressure inside the room to help keep any dust from entering. I'm still trying to figure out the math about fan CFM vs makeup air.

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  • 2 years later...

Sadly, the finishing room never happened for me. I simply couldn't overcome the HVAC issues to make it a useable space for finishing (the attic of my shop). So, I still have to switch from construction mode to finishing mode in my shop. I also wasn't looking forward to lugging projects up and down the stairs to do the finishing. Ultimately I was trying to do a bit too much with the space.

labig, The mini-split ductless heat pump heats and cools my shop just fine. During the heat of the summer, if I'm running the cyclone for a long time then the temperature can rise a bit, but when I turn it off it cools down pretty quickly again. It's a 24,000btu unit. I also have a blue flame propane heater, but the price of propane has more than doubled since I built the shop while the price of electricity is down about 25% making it more economical to heat the shop with the heat pump as long as it's above about 38 degrees.

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Sadly, the finishing room never happened for me. I simply couldn't overcome the HVAC issues to make it a useable space for finishing (the attic of my shop). So, I still have to switch from construction mode to finishing mode in my shop. I also wasn't looking forward to lugging projects up and down the stairs to do the finishing. Ultimately I was trying to do a bit too much with the space.

labig, The mini-split ductless heat pump heats and cools my shop just fine. During the heat of the summer, if I'm running the cyclone for a long time then the temperature can rise a bit, but when I turn it off it cools down pretty quickly again. It's a 24,000btu unit. I also have a blue flame propane heater, but the price of propane has more than doubled since I built the shop while the price of electricity is down about 25% making it more economical to heat the shop with the heat pump as long as it's above about 38 degrees.

we get very cold here in Canada so I have these 2 to heat that's it hope its enough for small shop ?small baseboard heater also

post-14310-0-30654600-1383531939_thumb.j

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Mark,

 

For everyone's general info, ductless heatpumps come in wide ranges of efficiency.  My unit will keep up very well into the single digits.  Below that, I start losing efficiency.  I've yet to have to employ my 95+% efficient LP gas furnace.  I'm hoping it won't be long before the models sold in Scandinavian countries make it to the US market.  They will heat down to 17 below 0 F.  Pretty impressive!

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Vic, which model split do you have, I am in the market for one right now.

Freddie, I have Mitsubishi in both my shop and house.  I have a multi head unit in the house and a single 2 ton in the shop.  Daikin and Fujistu are both also very good units that have a solid track record.  I believe Daikin recently introduced a unit that you can control from a smart phone, which is cool.  I'm a huge fan of the Nest thermostat, which doesn't currently play with split systems.  

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Hey Vic, my system has an HSPF rating of 10.3. I just looked in the technical info and it says it's good down to 5f. My unit has a backup strip heating element and I'm always leery that it's going to kick in when it gets really cold and I don't have any indicator that it's using it. In the past when it's been in the 20s I've felt some really warm air coming out of it and figured it was using the strip. Having said that I just had my refrigerant topped off because I apparently have a really slow leak that they can't find. So, it may have already been losing efficiency when I experienced that. I'll check it out this winter and report back.

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