Re: Layout Room - Basement vs. Ground Level

I suppose ground-level room could be better than below-ground. Remember though
if you erect a new outbuilding, to have to take into account several needs:
electricity (toy train empires tend to need a lot of juice), plumbing (sink &
toilet as a minimum), climate control (heating, cooling, and humidity). If you
have the space and the budget, go for it!
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Corelane advised: ....if you erect a new outbuilding, to have to take into account several needs:
toilet as a minimum), climate control (heating, cooling, and humidity). Sometimes those ads for metal buildings sound too good to be true--and they are. What you may be buying are just the metal parts and a bag of bolts.
I would suggest that you work out the total cost of a new building including concrete floor and foundation, the items mentioned above, extending electrical and plumbing (if wanted) from your residence, insulation, double paned windows if appropriate, building permit, etc. A contractor could help you estimate these items.
Also, compare the cost of a conventional prefabbed wood framed building--say two, double car garages for a 22' x 40' building. You may find conventional construction which is inherently more energy efficient to be the better approach and less expensive too.
My two cents --- hope it helps.
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Basements are fine IF they are new and dry, with finished ceilings, air conditioning and heat, insulation, and carpet. Otherwise, forget them IMHO.
Now, the outside building. Here is my experience
1. the metal outbuilding price is usually with no windows, insulation, or floor, gutters, etc.
2. you will need slab. It has to be smooth finished, level, and high enough not to flood out (drainage)!
3. if at all possible, build a wood structure on a foundation. Get off of the ground. Overall not much worse than a ground building.
4. finish the building FIRST (this means painting, gutters, power, floor, heat, AC, water, etc, etc, before the layout.
5. not garage doors. use a double 5-6 foot door prehung to lead into a workshop. Use a separate wall inside of that with a 3 foot door to get to the layout room.
email me if you want to chat more.
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Having mine in the basement gives me a good excuse on hot summer days to go down there; as it is usually is a few degrees cooler, and a lot less humid.
OTOH: When we moved here, my father chose the worst place to build his layout (IMHO)... the third floor (finished part of the attic). How he was able to work up there in the summer still baffles me.
Chris Curren
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Chris Curren
Boy, that's serious enough!
Make friends in the hobby. Keith Visit Garratt photos for the big steam lovers.
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Keith Norgrove
Now this is precisions!
I have to get me one of those.
-- From the computer of Frank A. Rosenbaum
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Frank A. Rosenbaum
On 14 Jul 2003 18:27:41 -0700, Charles (Charles Bix) shared this with the world:
Yet another thing to think about: temperature.
An un-insulated metal building would probably be an uncomfortable idea in Arizona, or Manitoba. Opposite ends of the temperature spectrum, but equally unpleasant during the extremes of the seasons.
Myself, I'm happy in my basement, although, if I could afford a stand-alone (insulated, heated and air-conditioned) building, I'd probably go for it. That would leave more room in the house for family activities.
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Kent Ashton
One advantage to a basement is that you may manage to get the stairway to come down in the center. That way, the tracks can go around the wall for maximum use of the perimeter with no duckunders. Of course, if you have an external scuttle door to contend with, things can get awkward, but even then you could deal with it by having a removable section.
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John Purbrick
A lack of too many windows and doors is a plus with basement layouts.
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Mark Mathu
Or, you could make Model Railroading a family activity...
Yes, I know...why do you suppose that is?
Jeff Sc. Cave Dweller, Ga.
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I can support the "don't-build-it-in-the attic-if you-can-help-it" position. My last layout was in the basement and quite satisfactory. My present layout is in a finished and A/C attic (basements are a rarity here). I have augmented the A/C, but it still gets too hot when the outside temp is in the mid 90's. Basements are OK by me.
Bill "Chris Curren" all non-solicited commercial e-mail send to this e-mail address is
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Bill McMillan
On Wed, 16 Jul 2003 10:05:34 -0400, shared this with the world:
The smallest member of the family agrees with me on the enjoyment value of trains. Especially if they are blue and have happy faces.
The feminine contingent around here, however, doesn't seem to share our enthusiasm.
I've never been able to figure that out either.
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Kent Ashton

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