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Here at Teaky Towers things are stirring.  Over a year ago the domestic authorities granted permission to proceed with the play room.  I am about to convert the loft into a room suitable for housing a model railway.  I thought some of you might be interested, so I’m starting a thread.  Those of you who are not interested or who get bored with my waffle will find the Ignore button a handy device or you can just come back after several months when layout construction begins.  At which point those of you with an aversion to 1930s LNER will also be clicking the Ignore button, followed sometime after by those with an aversion to low quality modelling.

 

I am hoping this will be a two-way process so I welcome questions, suggestions, recommendations from those who’ve done this before and any other input people care to offer.

 

OK, assuming I have at least one person still reading, even if it is only to learn how not to do it, here goes.

 

Edited by teaky
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Although I am doing this to create a model railway room, I intend the end result to be a habitable room which will add value to the house.  To this end I have discussed my plans with the Building Control Officer (BCO) up front to make sure I don't miss anything or set off down a route that makes obtaining approval difficult.

 

Last September I had some structural calculations done (and then revised so that I would be able to stand up!) and then spent over five months finding a builder – one couldn’t be bothered to quote despite saying he would, one was too expensive, one finally quoted but the date shifted by five months, another assured me he had reserved a slot in February but eventually provided a stupidly expensive quotation, one couldn’t even be bothered turn up.  It seems there is plenty of work around here, so they’re not exactly falling over each other to find employment.  I cannot understand why they don’t just say they don’t want the work because they are too busy.  At least that way there’s a chance I might approach them again in the future.  As it stands, several of them are not only off my list for good but will receive specific negative recommendations if any of my friends or neighbours ask me.  Finally, I found someone but had to wait a further six months before they could start due to existing commitments.  Work is due to commence in October (allegedly).

 

I have learnt a lesson here and in future I will contact several builders at once, get the quotations in and decide quickly rather than thinking I have found the right one, waiting for a quotation and then ending up contacting another builder anyway.  Although, if the builder I have gone with proves to be up to the mark then he is likely to be my first choice for any more work.

 

btw Thanks are already due to Chris P Bacon for answering my initial questions and volunteering useful advice.  (I think I’m several pints in debt!)

Edited by teaky
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OK, assuming I have at least one person still reading, even if it is only to learn how not to do it, here goes.

 

I have waited a while for this.

 

Looking forward to seeing how you get on, have works started/ongoing/finished yet?

 

Edit....you've already answered my Q's

Edited by chris p bacon
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Here at Teaky Towers things are stirring.  Over a year ago the domestic authorities granted permission to proceed with the play room.  I am about to convert the loft into a room suitable for housing a model railway.  I thought some of you might be interested, so I’m starting a thread.  Those of you who are not interested or who get bored with my waffle will find the Ignore button a handy device or you can just come back after several months when layout construction begins.  At which point those of you with an aversion to 1930s LNER will also be clicking the Ignore button, followed sometime after by those with an aversion to low quality modelling.

 

I am hoping this will be a two-way process so I welcome questions, suggestions, recommendations from those who’ve done this before and any other input people care to offer.

 

OK, assuming I have at least one person still reading, even if it is only to learn how not to do it, here goes.

Glad to see your starting something Rob, all the best with it.

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Glad to see your starting something Rob, all the best with it.

Thanks Andy.  In at the deep end!  Large room, large layout - what could possibly go wrong?!

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I have waited a while for this.

 

Looking forward to seeing how you get on, have works started/ongoing/finished yet?

 

Edit....you've already answered my Q's

Ah, I'm glad you've spotted this already Dave.  I'll probably need your help.  :scratchhead: :mail:

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Although I am doing this to create a model railway room, I intend the end result to be a habitable room which will add value to the house.  To this end I have discussed my plans with the Building Control Inspector (BCI) up front to make sure I don't miss anything or set off down a route that makes obtaining approval difficult.

 

Last September I had some structural calculations done (and then revised so that I would be able to stand up!) and then spent over five months finding a builder – one couldn’t be bothered to quote despite saying he would, one was too expensive, one finally quoted but the date shifted by five months, another assured me he had reserved a slot in February but eventually provided a stupidly expensive quotation, one couldn’t even be bothered turn up.  It seems there is plenty of work around here, so they’re not exactly falling over each other to find employment.  I cannot understand why they don’t just say they don’t want the work because they are too busy.  At least that way there’s a chance I might approach them again in the future.  As it stands, several of them are not only off my list for good but will receive specific negative recommendations if any of my friends or neighbours ask me.  Finally, I found someone but had to wait a further six months before they could start due to existing commitments.  Work is due to commence in October (allegedly).

 

I have learnt a lesson here and in future I will contact several builders at once, get the quotations in and decide quickly rather than thinking I have found the right one, waiting for a quotation and then ending up contacting another builder anyway.  Although, if the builder I have gone with proves to be up to the mark then he is likely to be my first choice for any more work.

 

btw Thanks are already due to Chris P Bacon for answering my initial questions and volunteering useful advice.  (I think I’m several pints in debt!)

So IGNORE my PM, I've just read this post.

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The house has what many consider to be the worst form of roof construction for conversion: truss frame rafters.  In fact it isn’t too difficult, just a little more time consuming than some of the other types of construction.  I am employing a builder to complete the initial skeleton and then I will complete the simpler tasks to finish things off.  Obviously it depends on the house size and which part of the country you live but I understand the typical cost for a loft conversion is between £25,000 and £40,000 but by doing as much of the work as I can myself I am hoping to keep the cost down to something more reasonable/affordable and, at the same time, add more to the value of the house than I spend.

 

None of the walls on the first floor are structural.  They are all made from a framework of softwood supporting plasterboard panels sandwiching a cardboard honeycomb.  To overcome this there will be a couple of huge steel beams spanning from one end wall to the other with no support needed in the middle.  The rafters will be beefed up by installing larger rafters alongside, and screwing these to, the existing ones.  The two steel beams will provide additional support to the rafters and will support new floor joists.

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Whilst I wait for structural work to begin there are a few tasks that need to be done and others that it will be handy to get out of the way.

 

The first big task was to empty the loft.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell any of you how much stuff accumulates up there.  However much you think is up there, there is more than that!  Fortunately, our garage has a pitched roof which means that it also has storage space, so for the time being the bulk of the house loft contents have gone in there with assorted boxes secreted around the house, under beds, in corners etc.  Local charity shops have done OK too.  There were also a substantial number of empty cardboard boxes which went to recycling along with what seemed like a car full of old notes and documentation from degree courses, professional qualifications and so on.

 

A few years ago we had a combi boiler installed, so the only thing to remove from the loft was the old cold water cistern which was empty and disconnected but too large to fit through the hatch.  So out came the saw and a few minutes later all that remained were what looked like the droppings of a colony of plastic mice.

 

Here are a couple of photos of the empty loft and forest of rafters – none of which can be cut yet!

 

post-9672-0-25464500-1504813273.jpg

post-9672-0-71797600-1504813283.jpg

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G'Day Gents

 

Nice roof, it'll look better when there's a railway filling it.

 

manna

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Hi Teaky

Did the same in attic for a railway room approx 30 foot by 15 foot. Also using four very large steels bolted together to make two long beems.

Though when they arrived and were fitted whilst away on holiday they were some what tall than expected. They had been calculated correctly by the engineer. But the extra height ment the new floor was at least afoot and a half higher (meaning the room had shrank in height and width) sadly all fitted a near completion on my return

 

If there is an option that you can get three slightly shorter steels fitted go with it. The space gain on a lower floor could be approx three feet in width to that room.

 

Give it some thought

Ps my new railway room was taken over by the kids and I was evicted to the garage any way

 

If you are new to attic exstentions I may be able to help with the things that I got wrong/right

Dan

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Sorry not shorter in length but in the height of the two beems you are having installed

Dan

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My eyes are going, I thought it said 'Teaky Blinders'.

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Hi Teaky

Did the same in attic for a railway room approx 30 foot by 15 foot. Also using four very large steels bolted together to make two long beems.

Though when they arrived and were fitted whilst away on holiday they were some what tall than expected. They had been calculated correctly by the engineer. But the extra height ment the new floor was at least afoot and a half higher (meaning the room had shrank in height and width) sadly all fitted a near completion on my return

 

If there is an option that you can get three slightly shorter steels fitted go with it. The space gain on a lower floor could be approx three feet in width to that room.

 

Give it some thought

Ps my new railway room was taken over by the kids and I was evicted to the garage any way

 

If you are new to attic exstentions I may be able to help with the things that I got wrong/right

Dan

Thanks Dan.  That's exactly the kind of contribution I was hoping to solicit by starting this thread prior to work commencing.

 

This one will be roughly 27' x 16.5' so it's just a little smaller than yours.

 

There are two steels and they will be made in four sections and bolted together.  They're monsters!  The floor joists will sit on the bottom plates, so that will minimise the height loss.

 

The original version of the structural calculations had smaller steel beams (two at either side and one at the ridge).  I'm 6' 3" so you can imagine how well that worked.  :sarcastichand:

Perhaps I ought to add to my lessons learnt: ask the structural engineer how tall he/she is before engaging him/her? :jester:

 

On your other two points:

- I think I've headed off the kids takeover by  a) converting the garage a few years back into a teenagers' room and  b) waiting until they're (almost) no longer teenagers.  (Hmmm, I wonder if I should fit a lock to the door?)

- Things you got right/wrong - yes please, it'll avoid/save me making the same mistakes.  I consider myself to be a capable DIYer but nothing more and this is my first loft conversion.

Edited by teaky

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My eyes are going, I thought it said 'Teaky Blinders'.

Hmmm, I was wondering what to call the layout.  Although, maybe Teaky Blunders might be closer to the mark?

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I will be keeping an eye on proceedings, as I am interested in the work you are having done.

 

Mike

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Thanks Dan.  That's exactly the kind of contribution I was hoping to solicit by starting this thread prior to work commencing.

 

This one will be roughly 27' x 16.5' so it's just a little smaller than yours.

 

There are two steels and they will be made in four sections and bolted together.  They're monsters!  The floor joists will sit on the bottom plates, so that will minimise the height loss.

 

The original version of the structural calculations had smaller steel beams (two at either side and one at the ridge).  I'm 6' 3" so you can imagine how well that worked.  https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_sarcastic_hand.gif

Perhaps I ought to add to my lessons learnt: ask the structural engineer how tall he/she is before engaging him/her? https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_jester.gif

 

 

 

On your other two points:

- I think I've headed off the kids takeover by  a) converting the garage a few years back into a teenagers' room and  b) waiting until they're (almost) no longer teenagers.  (Hmmm, I wonder if I should fit a lock to the door?)

P

- Things you got right/wrong - yes please, it'll avoid/save me making the same mistakes.  I consider myself to be a capable DIYer but nothing more and this is my first loft conversion.

Thanks Dan.  That's exactly the kind of contribution I was hoping to solicit by starting this thread prior to work commencing.

 

This one will be roughly 27' x 16.5' so it's just a little smaller than yours.

 

There are two steels and they will be made in four sections and bolted together.  They're monsters!  The floor joists will sit on the bottom plates, so that will minimise the height loss.

 

The original version of the structural calculations had smaller steel beams (two at either side and one at the ridge).  I'm 6' 3" so you can imagine how well that worked.  https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_sarcastic_hand.gif

Perhaps I ought to add to my lessons learnt: ask the structural engineer how tall he/she is before engaging him/her? https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/emoticons/default_jester.gif

 

On your other two points:

- I think I've headed off the kids takeover by  a) converting the garage a few years back into a teenagers' room and  b) waiting until they're (almost) no longer teenagers.  (Hmmm, I wonder if I should fit a lock to the door?)

- Things you got right/wrong - yes please, it'll avoid/save me making the same mistakes.  I consider myself to be a capable DIYer but nothing more and this is my first loft conversion.

Perfect in regards to floor fitment .my floor was built on top of the beems. Making it that much closer to the ceiling. I'm imagining your beams would be very near the size used on mine.

Ha.... door lock that was the first thing I bought before any building got underway and was supposed to be fitted after final buildings inspection but wasn't

Should of waited for you to do yours first then maybe i would of thought of doing the double garage for my children first also

Good luck Dan

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Perfect in regards to floor fitment .my floor was built on top of the beems. Making it that much closer to the ceiling. I'm imagining your beams would be very near the size used on mine.

 

That's actually very unusual for  beams for a loft conversion, the usual practise is to place the beams above the existing ceiling and them suspend the new floor from the beams between the ceiling joists or place it between the web of the beam.

 

Regarding a lock, So long as the door is a fire door with the correct intumescent strip and fire stops, has a catch and pergo closure, that's enough to satisfy Building control  

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Let there be light (and power too).

 

There were already supplies for light and power in the loft.  I had sorted this out not long after we moved in.  Lighting came from a spur off the first floor ceiling lights.  Power came from what was originally the feed for the central heating in the airing cupboard and just needed extending into the loft.  I have routed the feeds so that just before they enter the loft they go via a couple of fused connection units (FCUs).  This isn’t a necessity but doing so means that any electrical work from now on can be isolated from the rest of the house.

 

None of the electrical work is complicated but it does need to have a Building Regulations Part P certificate to be signed off, so you can either DIY and have it inspected and tested or employ an electrician to do the work.  As well as the FCUs, I have put in a few cable runs and connection boxes which are easier to do at this stage before the new structural elements get in the way.  I have also put in a temporary double socket into which I have plugged some temporary lighting and this will also provide a power source during the build without the need to trail extension cables from lower floors.  The majority of the cabling will be done at the usual first fix stage once the structural work is complete.

 

Though it is difficult to comprehend there are, apparently, some people in the world who aren’t interested in railway modelling and a possible future use for this new room might be a bedroom.  If that was the case it would be nice to have an additional en-suite shower room on this floor.  With this in mind I have put in a run of suitable cable so that a dedicated new circuit for an electric shower can be installed.  A simple job before anything gets in the way.  This cable is not connected at this stage but it is labelled at each end in case I am not the one doing the work.

 

So far I have run some of the lighting and power cables between the necessary points plus a cable for the smoke alarm.  I have also tidied up some TV aerial cabling.  When our house was built TV sockets were put in every bedroom and the kitchen as well as in the lounge, so there is a signal booster and quite a lot of coax.  It seemed sensible to ensure the booster was positioned where it would be accessible and that cables were clipped down and could not be tripped over or snagged.

 

One thing to bear in mind when doing your own electrics is to make sure you consider accessibility for testing later.  Accessing sockets and switches is obviously easy but make allowance for any junction boxes too.  In the case of my loft (and, I suspect, most others) some of these will be under the floor, so I will be fitting the floor but not screwing it down completely until the electrical testing is complete.

 

I thought I'd spare you photos of grey cables.  :no:

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A little plumbing.

 

With a combi boiler already in place most of the pipes are in the lower storeys but there is still one pipe that runs up to the loft and then divides to feed the bath in the main bathroom and the shower in an en-suite.  Prior to the combi boiler this would have been the feed to the main cistern which then fed the bath and shower as well as the hot water tank.  Unfortunately, one of these pipes ran diagonally across several ceiling joists and would have been in the way of a steel beam which wouldn’t have done much for water flow!  So a small amount of re-routing was required to lower it a little and create some straight runs parallel to the ceiling joists.  Nothing more than a little cutting, joining and clipping before putting the pipe insulation back on.

 

Well, it would have been simple had the combined mental talents of the original house builder and the combi boiler installer not conspired to complicate things!  I turned off the stop cock and isolated the supply to the loft then turned on the bathroom cold tap and the en-suite shower (set to cold).  Both ran for a short while and then stopped.  So far, so good.  I left them to finish draining completely and went to do a few other jobs elsewhere in the house.  I short while later I heard a dripping noise in the lounge and entered to discover a puddle on the floor and water dripping from a light fitting.  Rushing upstairs I discovered the en-suite floor had more than a centimetre of water sitting on it leading to a metre square of soggy carpet in the bedroom.  It seems that the shower had sprung back into life once the water pressure in the cold supply had dropped and had been balanced by the hot supply leading to water spraying out via the shower head I’d left sitting in the tray.  (The water on the floor was slightly warm which confirmed this reasoning.)  After pondering for a while I experimented by turning the shower to hot with the cold supply still off and, sure enough, I managed to get hot water to come out of the cold tap on the bath.  Not clever!  One-way check valve added to shopping list so that water can only flow to the shower and not back from it in future.  This isn’t a major hazard since hot water cannot reach any other cold taps but it would have been nice if the installer(s) had thought about this and fitted a one-way valve.

 

After much mopping things started to dry out quickly, apart from the bedroom carpet which took over a week but doesn’t appear to be harmed and there are no marks.

 

I gave things a couple of days before re-starting the plumbing work just to ensure everything continued to dry out and to satisfy myself that the situation was not more complex.  Before I started I took the additional precaution of turning off the water at the main stop cock too and shutting off the shower again once it ceased its initial draining.  This time things went fairly smoothly(ish) and the water was back on without undue delay.

 

Top tip - Test your blow lamp beforehand so that you don’t find it doesn’t work after you have the water turned off, pipes cut, re-jointed, fluxed and ready to be heated!  I checked it to ensure there was plenty of gas in the canister but didn’t actually try to turn it on and light it.  Fortunately, I had an old one hanging around which still worked and, as it turned out, still had enough gas in the canister to do the half dozen joints involved.

 

The above work was actually completed several weeks ago.  I have since fitted a one-way check valve.  In future, no matter how many stopcocks and valves there are to turn off, I will always turn off the main stopcock for the house.  Much safer.  Lesson learnt.

 

Here's an exciting photo of a one-way stop valve:

post-9672-0-65543400-1505401581.jpg

Edited by teaky
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I've also learnt this the hard way. Always turn off the main valve! After draining the heating once I had a leak from the header tank after refilling everything. After draining it all about 3 times I figured out that the ball cock in the tank had split! While the tank was full it has been fine, but having drained it, it could then fill up as the tank filled, keeping it slightly down and meaning it was over filling. 

 

Fitted a combi boiler now too... 

 

Looking forward to seeing some trains :)

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I wonder why there aren't any creepy crawlies up here?

 

Aha, I see...

post-9672-0-14380700-1505482282.jpg

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Vents

 

Adding insulation at roof level between the rafters means that there is a risk of locking in moisture.  To mitigate this the regulations specify a 50mm air gap above the insulation.  This gap also requires a boost to the air flow which is provided by installing extra vents at the eaves and ridge.  There are a number of ways of doing this dependent upon the roof construction, budget and accessibility.  I opted for the cheapest and simplest.

 

For ridge ventilation I purchased some vents that are a direct swap for some of the concrete interlocking roof tiles.  Very easy to fit but I've asked the builder to do it because he is up there anyway taking tiles out for the new windows and I would need to hire a roof ladder anyway.

 

post-9672-0-80224000-1505717836.jpg

post-9672-0-89788100-1505717863.jpg

 

For the eaves I bought some simple circular vents.  So it is a straightforward task to mark up the soffits at the necessary intervals and drill holes before push-fitting these.

 

post-9672-0-80582600-1505717902.jpg

 

There will be some scaffolding installed before building work commences so I'm thinking of leaving the soffit vents until it is in place because it seems easier than repeatedly going up and down a ladder.

 

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Vents

 

Adding insulation at roof level between the rafters means that there is a risk of locking in moisture.  To mitigate this the regulations specify a 50mm air gap above the insulation.  This gap also requires a boost to the air flow which is provided by installing extra vents at the eaves and ridge.  There are a number of ways of doing this dependent upon the roof construction, budget and accessibility.  I opted for the cheapest and simplest.

 

For ridge ventilation I purchased some vents that are a direct swap for some of the concrete interlocking roof tiles.  Very easy to fit but I've asked the builder to do it because he is up there anyway taking tiles out for the new windows and I would need to hire a roof ladder anyway.

 

attachicon.giftile vent 1.jpg

attachicon.giftile vent 2.jpg

 

For the eaves I bought some simple circular vents.  So it is a straightforward task to mark up the soffits at the necessary intervals and drill holes before push-fitting these.

 

attachicon.gifsoffit vent 1.jpg

 

There will be some scaffolding installed before building work commences so I'm thinking of leaving the soffit vents until it is in place because it seems easier than repeatedly going up and down a ladder.

 

Just found your topic, Rob, and will follow with interest.

 

I, too, am needing to create a suitable environment for my layout (though unlike you, I did not do so before starting work on the layout!).

 

My next major job in that regard, and an essential one before the winter, is to add insulation between the rafters. 

 

Of course, in my case I am dealing with an out-building.  In your case, you are dealing with creating accommodation and are subject to Building Control Regulations, so insulation requirements may be very different. I don't plan to do anything that would trigger the application of any regulations, so, men with clip-boards, look away now ...

 

Rafters are generally deep enough to allow a 50mm air-gap if the insulation is mounted between the rafters flush with the inner edge.  B&Q (other ways of wasting a weekend are available) make expanded polystyrene rafter panels that have pre-formed grooves, which allow them to bend and slot in between the rafters.  

 

To ensure the air-gap, one would need to screw battens on to the rafters for the insulation panels to butt against, but no other fixing seems to be required.

 

Here all is explained: http://www.diy.com/help-ideas/how-to-insulate-your-loft/CC_npcart_400221.art

 

My workshop has a couple of small vents under the ridge tiles. 

 

I do not know how effective this material is, and buying it in pre-grooved form is not cheap.  If I simply cut insulation material to fit, however, I can expect some gaps in places, and would need wood for battens to hold the sheets in place. There would also be much more mess. 

 

So, I thought this might be of some interest, and, of course, if anyone has any other/better suggestions .....  

 

P.S. Having checked the B&Q site, I can no longer find this rafter insulation!

 

Discontinued, just like that grooved bendable MDF I was going to use for my back-scene that they stopped doing?!?

 

No, it's still there, just don't search using the product name "Rafter Insulation", or the location of installation "loft insulation", and you'll find it(!): http://www.diy.com/departments/bq-insulation-board-610mm-402mm-60mm/182547_BQ.prd

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