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Layout Room Questions

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Layout Room Questions
Posted by MGAMike on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 11:08 AM
Hi There!!  I am going to be building a room (second story of garage) dedicated for my new model railroad.  I have a few questions regarding some of the characteristics of the room I would like to get your options on.

1.       Flooring – What type of flooring should I use?  I have been reading about using interlocking rubber or foam mats.  Would carpet or laminate be better?

2.       Lighting – Since I am planning to install dimmable recessed lighting in a suspended ceiling in a pattern to match that of the track plan and layout footprint, is it necessary to build a valance?

3.       Backdrop – The layout will be an around-the-walls shelf layout with a center peninsula.  Should I put the backdrop directly on wall of the room on the finished drywall, or include a separate dedicated hardboard for the backdrop?

Thanks in advance for you help!!
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Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 4:56 PM

Hi,

I can comment on 1 & 3, but not # 2..........

The flooring is gonna get a lot of traffic and abuse during construction.  I would suggest linoleum as it is easy to clean and will withstand a lot of wear.  After the layout is up and running, then I would get some carpeting and cut in around the benchwork.

Assuming the layout room walls are vertical, I would put the backdrop directly on the walls.  However, for corners I would get 1/8 inch masonite and bend to form a curve at those locations.

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 5:07 PM

I went with 2’ x 2’ carpet tiles after I finished my basic layout construction.  They are easy to clean and look good on the floor.  If you want to do some heavy work after words they come up easily.
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by bogp40 on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 5:28 PM

For the lighting in or attached track, to a dropped ceiling, you shouldn't have any problems just running the track and drop in the panels when finished. Some do perfer to use a flowing upper valance the follows the benchwork. That is more your choice for final asthetics of your RR. When you layout the ceiling grid, you may want to consider the rough footprint of the layout as to have most of the ceiling tiles positioned to work better with the lightininstallation as well as looks; ie. recessed landing on a grid and have to skew off installed position to work. 

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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Posted by nealknows on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 5:29 PM

Hi,

I would take into consideration a couple things. First, how are you accessing the room, from inside the garage or thru your house? I ask this so you should keep in your mind that when it comes time to move and sell the house, the room you're adding gives value to the house.

Also, if you are adding value to the house, put down a laminate or hardwood floor. I did just that and around the walking area of the layout are the square rubber/foam pads you can buy at Harbor Freight or Home Depot. Very reasonable, no need to glue them down and the room is intact. I have two peninsulas. Also the legs on the layout have adjustable leg levelers and not the lag bolts others use. 

I finished the room we added to the house with sheetrock and painted it white. I'm adding flats around most of the room and printed backdrops. When it comes time to tear it down to move (or worse), some spackle and paint will put the room in pristine condition.

As for lights, I put in high hats in rows with CFL lights. Very cost efficient. I didn't make mine dimmable, but with the new LED bulbs out, anything can be done.

I did all this to add value when the tme comes to get out of the place.

Good luck!

Neal

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 5:40 PM

nealknows
I have two peninsulas. Also the legs on the layout have adjustable leg levelers and not the lag bolts others use.

I use lag bolts screwed into T-nuts, what are you calling leg levelers?

Thanks

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by Onewolf on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 6:33 PM

1) Flooring - I went with 2x2 "random" carpet tiles because they were the least expensive flooring option that are 'easy' on the feet. They are also easy to replace should an ugly accident occur.

2) Lighting - You need to think about room lighting for construction and layout lighting as two separate systems.  I went with 4ft T8 flourescent fixtures for room lighting which is quite bright. I am using 2835LED strips for layout lighting.

3) I painted my backdrop directly on the drywall and used 1/8" masonite to cove the backdrop corners.

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 6:35 PM

2. Lighting

Having light fixtures follow the track plan is a good idea . . . but, the ceiling lights will be installed first (presumably), and once installed they will become hard fixed points that will be difficult to change if you change the track plan.

I made a mistake and did not give enough thought to placement of lights relative to a skyboard scene divider on the Wind River Canyon peninsula of my layout. I installed track lighting with 14 wide-dispersion LED spotlights, but there were too many strong shadows I couldn't eliminate (even with movable fixtures), so I removed the scene divider. I'm satisfied with the results, but it could have been worse. 

Good luck.

Robert 

LINK to SNSR Blog


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Posted by nealknows on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 10:24 PM

BigDaddy

I use lag bolts screwed into T-nuts, what are you calling leg levelers?

Thanks

Henry, these are flat furniture leg levelers sold in HD. They come 4 to a pack and I use the T-nuts to hold them in the wood legs. I'm traveling so I can't get you the name of them. In Home Depot they're down the aisle that has all of the chair and furniture leg protectors. Sorry I don't have the name. Made not to scratch the floor. 

Message me here and when I return next week I can get you the manfacturer..

Neal

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, May 10, 2018 6:18 AM

Onewolf

1) Flooring - I went with 2x2 "random" carpet tiles because they were the least expensive flooring option that are 'easy' on the feet. They are also easy to replace should an ugly accident occur.

I like this option.  I suppose the only down side is with plaster and other messy things replacement might be necessary in numerous places. 

In my last home there was carpet in the layout room when I built the layout.  It was water damaged when the sump pump failed so it was ripped out while the layout was in-place.  I installed stick on floor tile while the layout was up and it was easy to lift the legs here and there to slide the tile in place.  I'm thinking I might do the same thing, build the layout and add tiles floor tiles in afterward by lifting legs up just a tiny bit and slide them in place (either carpet tiles or standard 1x1' floor tiles).

2) Lighting - You need to think about room lighting for construction and layout lighting as two separate systems.  I went with 4ft T8 flourescent fixtures for room lighting which is quite bright. I am using 2835LED strips for layout lighting.

Did you consider some form of 4 ft T8 "style" LED lights?  They can be bright and use less electricity and in my experience, the T8's can burn out in as little as 2-3 years.  I bought 4 fixtures for my last layout and later added 4 more LED (in the 2 4 ft formate) and they are brighter and supposedly have much longer life. 

In the photo, the far left fixture is conventional fluorescent, the one in the middle with the pull-chain is LED

I'm currently thinking about a drop ceiling mount version of those if I can find an economical option for the new layout room.  Anyone explore that option and have recommendations?

3) I painted my backdrop directly on the drywall and used 1/8" masonite to cove the backdrop corners.

I plan on painting directly on the drywall as well.  There are areas where I plan on a view-block-divide which I plan on using masonite or hard-board at least 2 feet high, maybe 3.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by joe323 on Thursday, May 10, 2018 6:41 AM

Avoid thick carpet as small parts will disappear only to br swallowed by the dog (choking hazard) or by the wifes bare foot ouch!

During the recent move of the SIW we went with laminate flooring which has worked well.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, May 10, 2018 7:55 AM

My only caution with Laminate flooring is if it gets wet and not wiped up quickly, it can swell and deform; at least that happened one the first floor of my townhome.  Building a layout and especially scenery "may" be messy at times so it's best to plan for that.

For a layout room for sure don't use thick carpet - what onewolf recommended is more like an indoor/outdoor carpet and the 2x2 squares seem to be almost universal in offices these days and I'm guessing you can find it economically.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by bogp40 on Thursday, May 10, 2018 8:12 AM

riogrande5761

My only caution with Laminate flooring is if it gets wet and not wiped up quickly, it can swell and deform; at least that happened one the first floor of my townhome.  Building a layout and especially scenery "may" be messy at times so it's best to plan for that.

For a layout room for sure don't use thick carpet - what onewolf recommended is more like an indoor/outdoor carpet and the 2x2 squares seem to be almost universal in offices these days and I'm guessing you can find it economically.

 

Doesn't pertain to the OPs 2nd floor room, but to explain the water/ moisture issues with laminate flooring.

Install these laminate floors from various manufactures on a regular basis. Most now are offering water proof versions in interlocking T&G vinyl. May be something to look into for damp or floors prone to water/ moisture. Many basement floors even sealed and using flooring foam underlayment can still be affected my moisture in and within the slab.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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Posted by SouthPenn on Thursday, May 10, 2018 8:46 AM
South Penn
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, May 10, 2018 9:06 AM

bogp40
Doesn't pertain to the OPs 2nd floor room,

So what?  My comment was not aimed at the OP.  I was in response to a post just above mine regarding using laminate and assume posted as option for layout to readers in general.

but to explain the water/ moisture issues with laminate flooring. Install these laminate floors from various manufactures on a regular basis. Most now are offering water proof versions in interlocking T&G vinyl. May be something to look into for damp or floors prone to water/ moisture. Many basement floors even sealed and using flooring foam underlayment can still be affected my moisture in and within the slab.

In my last townhome, one room in the basement had laminte flooring installed a not long before we bought it, possibly earlier in 2013 or 2012 - so fairly new.  I don't know if it was waterproof but it got soaked when the sump pump failed and we ripped it all out and threw it away.  Otherwise we could have had a mold problem develope - and we wanted to be proactive.

As many know, basements often have a potential for water issues so it's best practice to plan flooring for that possible event.  I would guess even water-proof laminate, even if it resists issues with water, what about all the places water can under underneath and how do you get it all dried out if flooded and no mold?  As you say, many basement floors can be affected by moisture to some degree.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by bogp40 on Thursday, May 10, 2018 6:25 PM

riogrande5761

 

 
bogp40
Doesn't pertain to the OPs 2nd floor room,

 

So what?  My comment was not aimed at the OP.  I was in response to a post just above mine regarding using laminate and assume posted as option for layout to readers in general.

 

 
but to explain the water/ moisture issues with laminate flooring. Install these laminate floors from various manufactures on a regular basis. Most now are offering water proof versions in interlocking T&G vinyl. May be something to look into for damp or floors prone to water/ moisture. Many basement floors even sealed and using flooring foam underlayment can still be affected my moisture in and within the slab.

 

In my last townhome, one room in the basement had laminte flooring installed a not long before we bought it, possibly earlier in 2013 or 2012 - so fairly new.  I don't know if it was waterproof but it got soaked when the sump pump failed and we ripped it all out and threw it away.  Otherwise we could have had a mold problem develope - and we wanted to be proactive.

As many know, basements often have a potential for water issues so it's best practice to plan flooring for that possible event.  I would guess even water-proof laminate, even if it resists issues with water, what about all the places water can under underneath and how do you get it all dried out if flooded and no mold?  As you say, many basement floors can be affected by moisture to some degree.

 

Nothing to do with your posting any off topic, just making statement that my following comments don't pertain to the OPs original post of 2nd floor room. My post was to continue your explanation of newer waterproof flooring for wet or damp locations.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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Posted by kasskaboose on Thursday, May 10, 2018 8:50 PM

Let me answer 1 and 3 since I had that added to my new layout:

1. Interlocking rubber mats (like they have in some gyms, classes, etc.) is perfect.  I plan to get them once all done with stuff falling and banging into things!

3.  Your description is exactly the type of layout I have.  I would not put the backdrop directly on the wall.  Instead, put 1x2's every 16" vertically  around the layout.  Then, drill the masonite to the 1x2s and use drywall patch to hide the seams. 

Good luck!

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Posted by NittanyLion on Thursday, May 10, 2018 11:13 PM

I use a cheap area rug from Ikea, like 5x7, in my work area for my modules.  Just a black and white checker pattern.  Its pretty low pile, so stuff doesn't really disappear into it.  Bitty parts show it pretty well on the white squares.  I've had glue, plaster (both dust and mixed wet), paint, India ink-alcohol mix, whatever you can think of...geez molten solder even drip on it.  No worse for wear, surprisingly.  If it ever gets ruined, well, no big deal.  It was bought with potential destruction in mind and I'm pretty sure it was only $40 in the first place.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, May 11, 2018 6:44 AM

kasskaboose

Let me answer 1 and 3 since I had that added to my new layout:

1. Interlocking rubber mats (like they have in some gyms, classes, etc.) is perfect.  I plan to get them once all done with stuff falling and banging into things!

I am pretty risk averse and found a bunch of dark gray interlocking rubber mats at charity shops and have them ready for use in a new layout room. 

Regarding stuff falling, like models, I cringe when I see layouts with track near the edge and nothing to stop derailed trains from falling to the floor.  I prefer to have some sort of guard rail, even if that means having a masonite fascia extend a little above the edge, something to stop trains from going over the edge, but not sticking up too high as to block the view much.

3.  Your description is exactly the type of layout I have.  I would not put the backdrop directly on the wall.  Instead, put 1x2's every 16" vertically  around the layout.  Then, drill the masonite to the 1x2s and use drywall patch to hide the seams. 

I did exactly that in a basement which had no drywall but with drywall, I prefer to paint on it.  You can always primer over it and paint it a neutral color if you need to sell the home and make it appealing to buyers.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, May 11, 2018 6:56 AM

I did the same, covered the basement wall (poured concrete), using 2"x2" furring at 16"o/c, rigid insulation between, covered with dry wall, back drop painted on the finished drywall.

Mike.

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Posted by bearman on Friday, May 11, 2018 8:00 AM

I dont know if you have considered this issue, but climate control is important.  Depending on where you live, an air conditiioner and/or a heating duct connected to your central heating may be in order.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by joe323 on Friday, May 11, 2018 5:42 PM

I think I need to clarify a bit the SIW is located in a spare bedroom so it is climate controlled and not near any major water source.  However had I known about waterproof laminate before the remodel I would have used it.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by Santa Fe all the way! on Friday, May 18, 2018 10:19 PM

If you go with LED strip lights, get 5050 or larger. When I started they only had smaller ones available and they didn't put out enough light, even though my backdrop is only 20" high. 

Come on CMW, make a '41-'46 Chevy school bus!
PED
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Posted by PED on Saturday, May 19, 2018 8:17 AM

For lighting, I used hanging LED light fixtures from Home Depot. I discovered that placement was critical to avoid shadows. If they are too far back from the front track, the train on the front track can have a strong shadow that is very ugly. I wound up hanging my lights just above the front track so there are no shadows on the viewing side. The trains toward the back side may have shadows but the hadows are on opposite side of the viewer.

Paul

Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Circa 1970's in south central Oklahoma

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, May 19, 2018 8:41 AM

So many good comments!

I think I would not put any carpeting in the room.  It collects dust, smells, and small parts.  And can re-release the first two.

I would have a smooth cleanable floor.  Wood.  Linoleum. PAINTED concrete.  We actually have porcelain tile on our main floor.  No, not little 4" white squares.    

If you want/need foot cushioning, those rubber mats sound real good.  That's why you see them in work places.  They'll still collect "dust" (just observe one when you pick it up), so you have to be a bit careful when you remove them for a good vacuuming.  Which, by the way, you would ideally do with a LONG hose, and the vacuum exhaust outside the room.  Actually, one of those whole-house vacuuming systems would be PERFECT for a train room.

 

Ed

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Posted by willy6 on Saturday, May 19, 2018 10:03 AM

Lighting, I used 3 track light fixtures each having 4 LED floodlights and wired them to a dimmer switch. Looking back, I should have wired each track light fixture to indiviual dimmers. Someday I might get enough energy to get into the wall and change that.

Being old is when you didn't loose it, it's that you just can't remember where you put it.
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Posted by MGAMike on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 1:53 PM

Thank you all for your advice and opinions!  Alot of information here to stew over and I appreicate it.

We will be breaking ground on the two story garage in the first week of June and I hope to be starting benchwork sometime early this fall.  I have to finish the inside of the garage first.  

Thanks again for the info!!

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Posted by E-L man tom on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 8:03 PM

I'm building a dedicaed train room too.

For flooring, I'm going with an engineered vinyl that looks like wood. Its very durable and is stain and scratch resistant. I'll use throw rugs on the floor when layout construction is done.

For a backdrop, I'm undecided on whether to put it on the walls or go with a tempered hardboard, which I have done on my previous layouts.

For lighting, I will definitely go with LED strip lighting. Not sure how I will connect/control them yet, but they will have dimmer capability. I definitely would not put the lighting in the same foot print as the layout, as was previously mentioned, if you want to change the layout you're stuck with the old pattern.

Construction on my new layout room is a couple of months away. completion will probably be done by mid to late summer. Hopefully I can get the benchwork built before the weather gets nasty this fall.

 

 

Tom Modeling the free-lanced Toledo Erie Central switching layout.
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Posted by carl425 on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 10:26 AM

E-L man tom
I'll use throw rugs on the floor when layout construction is done.

Throw rugs are a trip hazard for someone that is distracted by something like a cool model train passing through nice scenery.

Never mind the potential for injury, you don't want some clumsy old dude crashing down on your layout.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by MGAMike on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 1:47 PM

If you use LED Strip Lighting, how will you mount them, and how far above the layout will they be mounted?  I can see them being really useful to light lower decks, but if you mount them on a 96" ceiling and your layout is at 50", that seems pretty far away for the strips.

My intention was to use LED recessed can lights in a suspended ceiling in a pattern to match the layout footprint.  But, a few good points were made about what happens when I decide to change up the track plan.  If I light the room for just being a room, then add a valance and valance lighting to light the upper deck of the layout, it seems to me to be overkill, but I do understand the idea behind it.  Oh well, lots more thinking and planning to do!!  Of course, sometimes, that is part of the fun!!

Thanks! 

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