loft boards

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TK421
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loft boards

Postby TK421 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:53 pm

Hello chaps, I've been waiting a few months but finally got my loft insulated today, for free thanks to the government. I was planning to board the loft up, but have read that boards shouldn't touch the insulation as condensation will build up, bit of a problem as the new insulation is thicker than former president bush. I'm also concerned the joists will not take my weight the house is an early 80's build of truss design so the timber is thinner than the 30's style lofts. There is already a recurring crack in the ceiling where I'm sure the joist is bowing.

Even though it is truss there is plenty of space for a layout in the center of the loft (6ftx16ft with baseboards 2ft from the floor) with space for fiddle yards between the truss' and eves of the roof.

I'm looking at making a poor man's storage loft basically, putting flooring down plasterboard the walls but leaving the truss's well alone. I've looked at websites and there are so many different opinions on loft conversion it's making my head spin. My question is, what's the best way to strengthen the joists?

I was thinking of putting new joists on top, perpendicular to the originals raising the floor above the insulation. Will this work? Or should I save the pennies use my spare room and get a professional to do the loft later on.
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poliss
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Re: loft boards

Postby poliss » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:07 pm

I would save up and get professionals in as it seems your loft floor is weak. For a model railway in a loft you really want the insulation above you under the roof, not on the floor.

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TK421
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Re: loft boards

Postby TK421 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:15 pm

I was planning on insulating the eves so that the loft and house are insulated.
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Roger (RJ)
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Re: loft boards

Postby Roger (RJ) » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:18 pm

I'm with Poliss, sounds like your loft floor isn't up to the job.

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poliss
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Re: loft boards

Postby poliss » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:24 pm

Treat it as just another floor in your house. You wouldn't put insulation between your downstairs and upstairs would you? If you're insulating the loft floor then it will get very cold in winter as no heat will come up from the floor below. You'll need some type of heater up there too.

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Bufferstop
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Re: loft boards

Postby Bufferstop » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:44 pm

I'd go for the spare room every time. Unless you go the whole hog with a conversion job, modern lofts are a pain in the neck, backside and several other places as well.
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TK421
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Re: loft boards

Postby TK421 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:49 pm

Very true, although on researching I found that the professionals do put the insulation back on the floor once the new joists are down. Your all saying what I was thinking the joists are weak. The thing that puzzles me is where the water tank used to be. I can't work out what was stopping that from coming through as the it doesn't seem to line up with any supporting walls. The airing cupboard it used to sit above is just a stud wall. I don't know why can't they build houses properly :lol:

Well I think a professional might be needed then just to do the structural work at least. Cheers guys

Modern lofts are a pain but there is so much waisted space up there I could make this 3 bed house easily into a 5 :lol:
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b308
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Re: loft boards

Postby b308 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:28 pm

I agree with the others, if you're not sure then get a trusted professional in to check it out (preferably more than one!)... I always found with the loft that the hassle of getting in and out of the place meant that it ended up as storage rather than a true railway room... That loft ladder is a pain in the proverbials... Now if you can put a proper stair in then it's a whole new ballgame...

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stuartp
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Re: loft boards

Postby stuartp » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:05 pm

The water tank in my last house was directly above the airing cupboard, which was just stud walls too. However, the stud walls were bearing on two loadbearing walls downstairs so I guess the verticals in the studwork were transferring the weight straight down.

I'm with the others, forget the loft. Apart from anything else it's a lot harder to fall out of a garage.
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TK421
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Re: loft boards

Postby TK421 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:23 pm

Well best save the pennies but that leads to the question do I want a posh loft (storage room/hobby room) or full conversion, which would probably add more value to the house (and somehow end up as the master bedroom if mrs tk421 has her way :lol: )
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Bufferstop
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Re: loft boards

Postby Bufferstop » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:48 pm

If your plumbers were as bright as ours it's probably more by luck than good judgement that you didn't end up with the tank relocating itself to the ground floor. Whilst our house alterations were in progress I returned just as the project manager was leaving, about half an hour later I went up into the loft to check the position of the cable from the TV aerial, and discovered the plumber had built the platform for the header tank in the middle of the span above the main bedroom!
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b308
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Re: loft boards

Postby b308 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:56 pm

Would give a whole new meaning to a water bed!!

robhar
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Re: loft boards

Postby robhar » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:14 pm

This is a recurring theme of posts both on here and other model railway forums, and opinion seems to be divided on almost every aspect of using the loft for a layout. From what I understand though, apart from the structural issues, the key differences between the loft as a strorage area and a full loft conversion are a) the building regulations that apply, and b) the cost! It seems as though you can make your loft into as posh a storage area as you like without building regulations applying provided that it is still only accessible by a non-fixed means (eg retractable loft ladder) and no-one will be sleeping up there etc. You can even install 'skylight' windows to let natural light in without having to meet the building regs that apply to windows in a full, habitable loft conversion. Even then though, there are regulations that apply to a full loft conversion that should be followed as good practice if you are lining out your loft, eg maintaing the airflow between the trusses to avoid condensation which could result in rot setting in.

So apart from all this, your main consideration seems to be whether the ceiling joists will take the weight of both you and your layout. The first issue depends how much you weigh, I guess! If you weigh 20-stone then you will almost certainly need the floor professionally strengthened. But equally, if you only weigh 10-stone but are planning on inviting your friends and family up there to play trains the net result will be the same!

You need to remember that the role of the cross-timbers in modern roof trusses is simply to hold up the plasterboards of your bedroom ceilings. So unless any load on them is kept to a minimum and is evenly dispersed then sagging of the timber and cracking of the ceilings underneath is probably inevitable. Once you add in the weight of your baseboards and associated woodwork it might be surprising how much load you are putting on the joists. One way to minimise this might be locate your layout between the vee formed by the W-shaped trusses, so that the weight is borne by the trusses themselves rather than the ceilings below - providing that you don't weaken the trusses by cutting bits out of them! BUT - I ain't no expert and so advice from a professional as others have recommended is probably your best (and safest!) option.

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poliss
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Re: loft boards

Postby poliss » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:33 pm

The Interactive House on the Planning Portal has a guide to help you. http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/house

jcm@gwr
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Re: loft boards

Postby jcm@gwr » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:01 pm

I tend to agree with the above posters.

The things that I would add, is that most of these free loft insulation jobs
are done by muppets who have no concept of airflow [re- damp wood].

I bet that the insulation has been shoved right into the eaves and probably
restricted the airflow already. Also, have they taken into account any down
-lights [if you have any?]. These should have fire-hoods, [and on all floors!].

The best option is to have the insulation no higher than joist level, and then
insulate the rafters by using a space blanket type of insulation. I recommend
the B&Q type* 7.5m x 600mm silver bubble wrap @ £13:00 ish, [equal to 100mm
of polystyrene] just use a staple gun.

This is worth doing even if you decide to save up and have a proper loft job
done later as it maintains a more even climate in the loft for storage and still
allows good airflow.

Good luck, Jeff
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