My wife and I moved into our current home around 6 months ago. This not only gave us more room to work with both inside and outside the house, it also gave us a garage!

To many a garage is a place where cars are kept safe and cozy, to others it is effectively a store for tools, paint, lawnmowers and a host of possessions that are kept out of necessity rather than desire.

For some of us though, the garage is a magical little corner of the world where we can steel ourselves away and design, fashion and tinker to our heats’ content. A magical corner known as a workshop!

So after a few months of settling in, I decided to turn my attention to converting the garage into a usable workshop. This meant adding insulation for warmth in the winter and also adding plywood lining to the walls to allow me to add cabinets and hanging wall storage for tools and other items. Much easier than affixing to standard brick walls.

Basic Garage Layout and Dimensions

Basic Garage Layout and Dimensions

There are several ways to go about lining and insulating a garage. In the end I chose to use conventional loft insulation along with plywood to line the walls. The plywood would be affixed to a wooden frame that would allow the insulation to be sandwiched between the plywood liner and the brick walls.

Garage Layout Including wooden frames - concept

Garage Layout Including wooden frames – concept

The reason for choosing this method is two fold.

1. It will produce a very robust and solid finish that will easily support tool or wood storage as the frames will be screwed directly into the brick wall.

2. By virtue of the fact that this can be completed in stages, it can fit in around my work and family schedule and also around available funds. I can buy the timber for the frames first then followed by the insulation and plywood. Rather than having to buy it all in one hit.

For the frames I opted to use 3″ x 2″ lengths off “Scant”, which is essentially a planed softwood that is generally considered for constructional use. The finish of the wood is not great as it can contain rough sections, sap, knots and even some distortion. However, if you go to the timber merchants yourself, you can pick through their stock and select the best pieces for your needs. I chose 3″ x 2″ after taking advice from a few family members and also because, even with 1/2″ Ply affixed to the front of the frames, they would not protrude  past the central brick columns of the garage.

In total I purchased 40 x 2.4m lengths at around £1.70 ($2.55) each from Travis Perkins.  I also needed to buy some 3.5″ screws for assembling the frames, these cost around £15.00 (for a box of 200 screws) from B&Q.

I borrowed a mains powered DeWalt drill for drilling into the brick work. The rest of the frame construction was completed using tools I already had, a panel saw, an 18V Cordless DeWalt Drill, combination square, spirit level and a claw hammer.

It took a couple of weekends to get the frames constructed and installed. An issue that added to the task was having to clear out the garage each time I wanted to do any work in there. So as part of this conversion, part of of the objective will be to dispose of some of the clutter that has built up in the garage so that I can actually use it as a workshop.

Shot of the rear of the garage before the frames were installed

Shot of the rear of the garage before the frames were installed

I also used a layer of damp-proof sheet beneath each of the frames, pure to ensure that should any moisture get in, it would not easily be absorbed by the timber and cause any problems later on.

For the frame construction I tried to position the upright beams every 600mm (24″). This is a standard measurement and by keeping a level of continuity it means that when the time comes to hang items of the walls. I know exactly where the supporting beams are and where the weaker areas will be.

Garage with wooden frames installed

Garage with wooden frames installed

Once the frames were in and completed, the next step was to get my hands on some insulation and some suitable sheets of plywood for lining the walls.

I’ll cover this in Part 2 of the conversion……..

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