Server Room Build

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by jmck, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. jmck

    jmck Member

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    I lurk here quite a bit and post once in a while but thought I'd share my server room build.

    Last summer I added a mini-split to my home office to help with the heat but with some new server additions and 40GbE switches, my 24U rack is full and too loud to sit near. I picked up a 48U 750mm x 1200mm rack for an incredible price and decided to build a room around it. I had a 150amp sub panel installed in the garage which will make adding 3x L5-30R's in the room for my battery backups quick and it's near where the condenser for the mini-split will sit outside. I'm not good with construction but I wanted to learn so I'm doing everything but the power and mini-split myself.

    I went with 2x6 framing with a double layer of Roxul Safe n Sound insulation to help keep the sound in. I won't be adding any vents for outside air, so the room will be sealed up the best it can be. I live in the desert, (It's 113F out right now) so there would only be a few months a year where outside air would help anyway. And with all the sand and dust, it's just easier to not deal with the hassle.

    Currently, I'm working on the drywall. All my joints and corners are done but I'm working on skim coating everything. I'd like to go the flat, non-textured route and I'm working on figuring that out.

    Next up will be the flooring. I've been going back and forth about adding a grounding layer. The room is small enough it wouldn't be expensive. I'm going to be using vinyl flooring that is anti-static. Anybody have a thought about that? Would you do both or just using the vinyl flooring?
     

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  2. BLinux

    BLinux Well-Known Member

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    smooth wall is definitely the way to go. it takes more work if you're a perfectionist, but i really like it. also a lot easier to clean your walls later on.
     
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  3. Patrick

    Patrick Administrator
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    I wish I had space like that!!!!
     
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  4. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    Looking good!!
    Throw an anti-static mat around the rack if you want, but the floor is likely fine as-is.

    I would raise it 1-4" just in case of a burst pipe or something in the house affecting what's sitting in that room on the ground.
     
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  5. jmck

    jmck Member

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    I'm not too worried about flood damage here. Nothing will be on the floor and the UPS will be a good 3-4" off the garage floor after being installed. My water heater is located near by but the garage has a slight angle to it and would flow out under the garage door. I actually tested this by letting a water hose run free in the garage before selecting the spot. There's also no overhead water or gas pipes near the room.

    It's taken a week but I've finally got one wall done and perfectly flat. I've learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn't so hopefully the other walls go quicker. I'm limited by the temperature now, it's 10:30 and already 106 so the mud just sets too quick.
     
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  6. Blinky 42

    Blinky 42 Active Member

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    If you didn't commit to 120V yet consider wiring it up with 240 instead and L6-30's (or L14-30's)
    Most of the 208 equipment you can get you can run @ 240V and it is a bit more efficient overall, also if you want to get some serious computing going on it is easier to power it up. I have several of the 5kVA and 6kVA APC Smart UPS's that you can setup to work with 240 in software from the default of 208 (or set it up to output 208V from 240V input)
     
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  7. BLinux

    BLinux Well-Known Member

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    are you using a setting compound or drying compound?

    this is what worked for me when I did the 1st floor of my home with smooth walls:

    1) use a drying compound, not a setting one. you need time to smooth things out and applying in thin layers at a time
    2) especially for the final or top coats, use a thinner mix. either increase the water in your mixing ratio, or put some of the pre-mixed stuff into your pan and add water and mix thoroughly. not only does this buy you more time with a drying compound, but it makes it much easier to smooth out with your blade.
    3) for the first coat, it's okay to use a 12" or larger blade, but I found it easier to smooth things out on the final coats with a 6" or smaller blade.
    4) if you're a perfectionist, get a work light/lamp and shine the light at an angle from the floor upwards; it'll help reveal any imperfections you can fill in with your thin mix from #2.
    5) when sanding, have a box fan blowing out a nearby window or door
    6) when the wall is done and ready for paint, put a primer on first, then paint.
    7) when painting, if you use a roller, it's going to leave behind a very very slight texture on a smooth surface. if you want super smooth, you'll need to spray. primer is hard to spray, you may need to dilute it and use a larger nozzle in your spray gun. paint is much easier to spray, but you still need to dilute it. with latex paints, I just add water.
     
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  8. jmck

    jmck Member

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    I already have the UPS's so I'm committed to 120. The power runs will be in conduit the entire way so if I ever upgrade to 240, it should be easy.

    I'm using a drying compound. I did add more water this morning and it bought me some extra time. I also started using a spray bottle to keep the compound on the wall wet while I work with it. I set 3 corners this morning and sanded my 1 completed corner. Later today I'll sand down the inside wall with the door.
     

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  9. fsck

    fsck Member

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    I wouldn't bother with an antistatic precautions around the rack. I'd probably make sure the rack itself is grounded though.
     
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  10. T_Minus

    T_Minus Moderator

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    Nice looking work. I don't have the patience for that kind of work that's for sure but really appreciate it!
     
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  11. mackle

    mackle Active Member

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    That room looks nice - what are the internal dimensions? 6'x8' or so?

    I've skimmed eight rooms of lath & plaster walls - working on my ninth now - using slightly watered down joint compound because it's pretty easy to use. Each room gets easier & better quality, thankfully I started upstairs in the bedrooms.

    I could probably get away with just two coats, but the little stones from the original plaster create what I term 'shooting stars' when they get caught by the taping knife/sanding screen and the horse hair tends to require special attention. So that requires a final go-over with a good oblique light source.
     
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  12. jmck

    jmck Member

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    Very close, 6' x 9' inside. I can't imagine doing 8 rooms. I'm still trying to figure out the top of the corners. I'm not happy with the 1 I've been working on so far. I chipped it out a bit and reset compound this afternoon. Hopefully tomorrow is better.

    I've also got a few small bubble holes in part of 1 wall I can't seem to get rid of. I fill them in, let it dry for a day, then sand it down and they're back. They're very tiny, maybe 1mm, wondering if primer will fill them in before painting.
     
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  13. marcoi

    marcoi Active Member

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    So is the outside fit and finish for form or does it provide a function? IE could you have left it unfinished sheetrock? Also roughly how much have you spent on structure so far? If you care to share, might help those of us thinking of doing this with making the decision.
     
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  14. turgin

    turgin Member

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    I admire people that can undertake something like this and work it out. For myself, my abilities in that regard don't measure up to my standards. I would have went with plywood and paint because I know I would never be able to finish drywall to my satisfaction. I've tried already on a remodel and I know the outcome :)

    @marcoi I would be concerned about the dust from unfinished drywall for a server room.
     
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  15. marcoi

    marcoi Active Member

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  16. mackle

    mackle Active Member

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    Conservatively I'd suggest the drywall for a build that size would around $150, plaster ~$20-40, lumber ~$250 or so (as he went 2x6 for sound proofing). Soundproofing would be more expensive but you don't get that with the shed, which is also half the size. Would be cheaper if it was in a corner (as two walls would be pre-existing, or at least single sided, rather than one).
     
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  17. jmck

    jmck Member

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    I had thought about the shed approach as well but sound proofing was the most important aspect to me. Finishing the room was for both function and form. I could have just sealed up the joints and left it. That would have cut out leaking air and dust from the corners and joints. But when I decided to add some vinyl flooring for it's anti-static properties, I decided to just finish it all the way.

    I did have 1 adjacent wall but didn't use it, so I actually put up 4 walls. I put the 4th wall up so that I could have the sound proofing all the way around. I probably won't take any pictures but it'll be going up in the ceiling above the room as well. I also plan on building a sound baffle box to place in the ceiling for all the cabling. It should help cut down on sound leakage into the attic.

    The door I had to custom order to get an exterior, 2x6 fire rated door that opens outward, it was just under $300. The insulation was about $350 since I had to buy double, lumber was around $300, and plaster was about $100 (4 buckets of pre-mixed). Door hardware, screws, nails, shims, corner tape, joint tape, corner guards, etc was about $150. So without power or A/C right now, about $1,200 excluding the sub panel I had installed. I probably won't ever count that cost since it's used for more than just this.
     
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  18. Klee

    Klee Well-Known Member

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    In your garage?

    Shut the garage doors and no permit needed, just be quiet with the skill saw!! :p
     
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  19. jmck

    jmck Member

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    It's not permitted. I talked with my buddy who is a GC and was told it wasn't needed. I'm not adding any livable space, it's basically a closet.

    I did my 3rd and hopefully last coat today. In the morning I will go over the top corners one more time. If it drys quick enough, I can do my final sanding tomorrow night and primer on Sunday.
     
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