Ever longed to work from home and thought you might convert your trusty shed into an office?
If the answer is yes then you’re in very good company as at the last count over 3 million of us had the same idea and are now enjoying the benefits of working from home.
Did you know Roger Waters created the early demo tracks for the album Dark Side of the Moon in his garden shed outside his Islington home! … and not a lot of people know that. :)
Of course working from home is not for everyone but if you are able to maybe spend a day or two working from the comfort and familiarity of the home the benefits to your health are significant.
Well, this year we’ve decided its time to get off the fence and we’re going for it! I can’t tell you just how excited I am about what we have planned for the new office … so much so I just had to share it with you.
- Invest in a ready made structure. (Expensive)
- Spare room in the house. (Never quite the same as having your own kingdom)
- Renovate an existing building. (Cheaper option … And you get to do some diy!)
Rather than simply writing about the whys and wherefores of working from home we thought this project offered a great opportunity to look back at how the construction has stood up to the test of time and if there is anything we would have done differently so anyone building their own shed or outbuilding in the future could benefit from the insight.
Its a solid enough building made from quality pressure treated timber and has stood up well to everything we’ve chucked at it over the last few years.
If you’ve read our original series of posts on the build you’ll be familiar with the construction. Timber frame made almost entirely from pressure treated softwood. We based it on a workshop Tommy Walsh built on TV a few years ago.
The interior walls are clad with OSB board which is ok but I prefer a clean uninterrupted surface so have decided to line with plasterboard and get a plasterer to plaster the walls. Only you know how much insulation you’ve stuffed in the walls or how well the building was constructed … but the finish on the walls will be seen by everyone so it needs to be right hence employing a plasterer.
If there is one thing we’ve learned after many years of DIY is know your limits.
Don’t be afraid to get the professionals in when you know its beyond you.
We’re going to need power and heat if its to function as a warm cosy space.
We already have an approved electricity supply which used to service the workshop. I’ve had it safety checked by Tom (my son the electrician at ENL Electrical Services Ltd) and we have plenty of power for a computer, printer, kettle and few other home comforts.
I’d like to power it with Solar but budget is tight so for now I’m going to have to stick with the grid.
Four inches of insulation in the walls and ceilings should keep it nice and snug!
For the cold days heating will come from a modest electric wall heater.
We’ve moved the entrance to south facing to capture the morning sun.
The side facing the lawn will now have two glass panels which has meant a bit of a restructuring but as the stud walls were fixed using screws so simple enough to sort.
If you’re one of the 50,000 or so readers that read our series on How to build your own workshop we’ve noticed a couple of things we’d change about the original build.
Keeping The Roof Water Tight
When we took a closer look at the roof we noticed it had been leaking which was as a result of the roofing felt starting to perish. On closer examination I had to replace a couple of sheets of plywood where the damp had penetrated the layers of ply. Definitely worth checking once a year.
But hey it didn’t take a lot of effort to fix. Simply removed the screws swapped the ply for new replaced with new felt.
One of our readers sent in a great tip for anyone thinking of felting a roof.
Paint the roof timbers with bitumen before laying the roofing felt. That way if the roof leaks it won’t damage the wood. Excellent idea!
The floor is a basic slab of concrete which would be fine for the new office but I’m worried about the floor being cold so I’ve decided to lay some standard chip board floor on a layer of thin super efficient insulation. It means I’ll lose 15-20 millimetres of off the floor to ceiling but still leaves minimum 2.2 ceiling height which is recommended.
Doors and windows
John made the doors on the original workshop which were fine for a workshop but will not work for the new shoffice. So we’ve invested in a ready made frame and a hemlock door which will be fitted with all the usual security considerations. As you can see the door has been moved which to be honest has greatly improved the overall aspect of the building. The original window will stay where it is and a couple of extra laminated glass panels have been added to take advantage of the view across the garden and to the fields beyond.
Cladding the exterior
We’re replacing the feather board as it’s not as good as it was and has warped in places. Im pretty sure this is down to the the fixing. I read somewhere at the time you should nail feather board an inch from the thin end of the board. Well that’s crap idea in my opinion. Always nail through the thickest part of the board and ensure at least an inch of overlap over the next board. If you can afford it use cedar boards as they will weather to a beautiful silver colour and they will last a lot longer.
So to summarise here are the key learnings from the original build:
1. Pay a little extra and use treated (tantalised) timber and the structure will last a lot longer.
2. Ensure feather board is fixed firmly and treat once a year with a good quality wood preservative.
3. Inspect the roofing felt at least once a year.
4. Concrete floors are fine but add a layer of chipboard or something similar to improve insulation.
5. Don’t scrimp on insulation as it really does make a difference on those cold winter days.
We’re planning on finishing the bulk of the construction work this weekend so will post an update next week … so if you’d like a gentle reminder when the next instalment is posted simply register for our newsletter here and we’ll drop you a note.
… still living the dream.