When we decided we were going to turn the workshop into a gym we had planned for it to take 6 months tops…I’m not sure how we came to that time frame, I think we might have just thought it was a nice round number or seemed like a decent amount of time, either way it was wildly misjudged and has taken us over a year so far!
The first thing we had to do to change the workshop into a more functional room was block up the old wood store door (the door on the left used to have racking going across to the back wall and could hold lengths of wood a bit longer than the length of a full scaffold board, you’ll see in other photos that the back wall actually extends out a little bit to accommodate this) half way up to be able to put a window in…
…and also block up an old internal window that looked straight out onto our fence line. In hindsight it probably would have been best to leave this window and just replace it with a new UPVC one and obscure glass as it would have let more natural light in but we didn’t really think that through at the time!
June & August 2017
We got new doors and the window put in in June, they were fairly expensive (just over £800 if memory serves me correctly) as they were made to measure to fit the gaps we already had, they let in a lot of light which is great since we then took down the old lights and plasterboard ceiling and insulation in August.
The ceiling came down fairly quickly but was a very messy job, we saved the insulation to reuse in the new ceiling so spent a good few months working around a big pile of ‘dusty fluff’.
The next part of the project was raising the ceiling from just over 6.5 foot (it wasn’t very high before as it didn’t need to be and the ceiling space was used as storage for other building materials) to just over 8 foot high. We had to hand cut the beams, cut the angles and reattach them one at a time, it wasn’t necessarily a hard task but it was a lot of up and down the ladders and very repetitive – we managed to get it all done over the August bank holiday weekend though!
In September we learnt how to do stud work! This felt laborious and never-ending, it involved a lot of measuring, adjusting and mess from all the saw dust. It was done ‘here and there’ over the space of about 8 weeks and we finished it all just before Christmas. Once all the stud work was up we removed all the old electrics (we left one active socket so we could plug-in a light and phone charger!) and my Dad came and ran the new cables through for the sockets and lights.
On Christmas Eve Dean finished insulating the walls and ceiling with a mixture of the old insulation (the yellow stuff), new Rockwool insulation and some polystyrene for the ceiling angles. Luckily this wasn’t too expensive as we were reusing some insulation, got the Rockwool on offer from Wickes and bought it through a cashback site and Dad was working on a job where he was removing massive slabs of polystyrene from a floor so we got that for free too. You could really notice a change in the ambient temperature with it all being fully insulated, it still wasn’t warm but at least you couldn’t see you breath anymore!
Dean and our friend from work managed to get the plasterboard ceiling up in one weekend in mid January. It was another messy job but as soon as it was done the room looked so different, it’s amazing how much light something like plasterboard can bounce back into a room.
Putting up MDF walls is fairly simple if your room is fairly square, this building was built nice and square, however, if you are putting MDF on to studwork that was installed by people who have never done stud work before you start to realise just how much small errors can compound and a mm here or there can translate into 10-20mm in other places. This was definitely our least favourite part of the build so far as some of the maths and angles (the top edge of the boards are angled to fit in with ceiling slant and the egress are all routed as part of the design) were a bit beyond us so good old Dad came and saved the day to help us finish it off.