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Layout in a loft....heat and cold...


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Morning all.

So,I've recently moved house and unfortunately lost my designated modelling room and it looks like I may have to retire my layout to the loft.

I'm just wondering if my Heljan and Dapol locos will cope with the summer heat and winter cold up there in the loft.

The loft will be boarded out to a certain degree,but it will still warm up and be cool in winter.

I have heard stories of the Heljan drive cogs not coping with heat and subsequently splitting.

I would prefer everything in a propper room,but at the moment it is not going to happen.

Thanks for any advice folks...

Edited by modelman14
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And could you stand the heat and cold when building and operating?

Personally I regard lofts as a last resort location, unless you need maximum room.  Can you install some thick insulation between rafters - that would make a very big difference (needs to be done with care though, to maintain air gaps).  Also bear in mind the strength (or rather, lack of) of the loft floor - they're rarely as strong as is needed, bearing in mind the amount of [email protected] we store up there...

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Firstly, I agree with Polybear, you need to consider the load bearing

abilities of the ceiling joists before you start building a layout up there.

 

Secondly, if it's not insulated already, you should do that for the benefit

of the whole house (and your wallet), it'll be warmer, and cheaper to heat.

Of course, it will also make the loft environment more consistent.

 

 

 

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Clarify the structral position and provided you can use the loft safely insulate, insulate and more insulation. Dont scrimp on the insulation, it will pay dividends in terms of reducing your heating bills and protect your valuable models from extremes of temperature. If you use one of the extruded types of insulation the offcuts will provide the base for scenery and you will probably enjoy modelling a lot more all year round as it will be a much more pleasant environment. 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, young37215 said:

Clarify the structral position and provided you can use the loft safely insulate, insulate and more insulation. Dont scrimp on the insulation, it will pay dividends in terms of reducing your heating bills and protect your valuable models from extremes of temperature. If you use one of the extruded types of insulation the offcuts will provide the base for scenery and you will probably enjoy modelling a lot more all year round as it will be a much more pleasant environment. 

 

 

20200130_215343.jpg.536bb106bd3409bdaab40cda50f26391.jpg20200118_002936.jpg.24fcb32b5819bc3c75774ac3ef37bffc.jpgThe layout is 90% finished,I'm in a bungalow now,so until we extend,which is now on hold with the covid situation,the only place is the loft, hopefully only 12-24 months until we start groundworks.

Selling the layout is still an option...

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Insulate. Our main bedroom has a "vaulted ceiling" ie there is no ceiling and the bedroom and the loft are combined. The builders laid sheet insulation between the rafters and it is very well insulated. You must do something like that or it will be unbearable in the winter and summer. 

But it can be made useable. Also, as others have said, make sure the floor is strong enough. Don't think of it as part of the modelling budget as this can add value to your  house in general. It's worth doing this properly.

Ian C

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Stock does not appear to have any problems with the heat and cold of an attic but the track does - it is suprising how little the temperature has to rise before damaging expansion occurs.

 

As for operating - cold not too bad as you can provide heating but you cannot take it away when hot! Some sort of ventilation would help.

 

I think it was Andy P who once mentioned keeping a fire extinguisher up there.

 

Slightly OT

I was shown around a typical town house when in Vietnam (2007 not the 60s!). They are two stories but the upper level is a ?mezzazine (balcony) and there is no attic, just a high pointed roof - for the heat to rise from the ground floor.

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My last layout was in the loft. Cold was not a problem but heat was. In some of the hotter summers I had track warping issues where perhaps the expansion gaps at the fishplates was a little too narrow. That was sorted out by putting a dorma window in that could be left open on the hottest days. Never had any problems with loco's or stock though.

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@modelman14

Can I offer my own recent experience as an example?

 

We're just in the process of insulating a loft space, in a new self-build house, still being built. The local Building Regs here demand that the insulation is six inches thick. Four inches between roof rafters, and two inches over, covered by plaster boards.

 

Folks might be curious to know how much that costs, I don't mind saying. It's added £5,750 to the cost of the build. That includes chipboard to cover the joists, a few power points and lights, and two windows. Building Regs Inspector is happy that it's not being built as a "habitable" space i.e. not decorated and furnished as an extra room in the house.

 

One might get away with less insulation than than, in an existing house, depending on the thickness of the rafters. But be prepared to reinforce the joists as well. Many houses have loft joists that were never designed to carry any load, and if they start flexing, goodness what can happen to the ceiling down below!

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2 hours ago, ikcdab said:

Insulate. Our main bedroom has a "vaulted ceiling" ie there is no ceiling and the bedroom and the loft are combined. The builders laid sheet insulation between the rafters and it is very well insulated. You must do something like that or it will be unbearable in the winter and summer. 

But it can be made useable. Also, as others have said, make sure the floor is strong enough. Don't think of it as part of the modelling budget as this can add value to your  house in general. It's worth doing this properly.

Ian C

I'm sure this is good advice, anything that adds usable square footage to the property must enhance value. If you ever sell the house you'll need to have done it properly anyway, otherwise the buyer's surveyor should spot the problem and either advise not to buy or reduce the price by the costs of rectification.

 

There are clear planning and building regulations re. loft construction and use. I'm sure your local authority can advise, the relevant gen. may well be online and accessible with a few clicks.

 

The floor strength isn't something to be glossed over. A friend who had rather an excessive passion for collecting railway literature got to the point of storing crates of it in his loft - he should have known better. After a while some of the doors below wouldn't open and close properly such was the deformity created by the weight. Fortunately at that point he started to show some sense.

 

John.

Edited by John Tomlinson
typo
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20 minutes ago, KeithMacdonald said:

@modelman14

Can I offer my own recent experience as an example?

 

We're just in the process of insulating a loft space, in a new self-build house, still being built. The local Building Regs here demand that the insulation is six inches thick. Four inches between roof rafters, and two inches over, covered by plaster boards.

 

Folks might be curious to know how much that costs, I don't mind saying. It's added £5,750 to the cost of the build. That includes chipboard to cover the joists, a few power points and lights, and two windows. Building Regs Inspector is happy that it's not being built as a "habitable" space i.e. not decorated and furnished as an extra room in the house.

 

One might get away with less insulation than than, in an existing house, depending on the thickness of the rafters. But be prepared to reinforce the joists as well. Many houses have loft joists that were never designed to carry any load, and if they start flexing, goodness what can happen to the ceiling down below!

 

I had a builder quote that to me recently. He did not know that I am a former energy assessor and know that this is total cr*p. And a Building Regs Inspector should know likewise.

 

It's not about the thickness of the insulation, it is about the total k value. There are foil based insulating materials that will give the required k value that are only about 1cm thick. The 6" (15cm) figures relates to a foam based panel such as Kingspan.

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4 hours ago, cypherman said:

My last layout was in the loft. Cold was not a problem but heat was. In some of the hotter summers I had track warping issues where perhaps the expansion gaps at the fishplates was a little too narrow. That was sorted out by putting a dorma window in that could be left open on the hottest days. Never had any problems with loco's or stock though.

Yeah,I am aware of expansion of track,my main concern was the internals of the locos handling the temp fluctuations...the layout will only be stored until building work on the 2 extra rooms comences.,but as I said that could be a while with covid.

Edited by modelman14
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3 hours ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

I had a builder quote that to me recently. He did not know that I am a former energy assessor and know that this is total cr*p. And a Building Regs Inspector should know likewise.

 

It's not about the thickness of the insulation, it is about the total k value. There are foil based insulating materials that will give the required k value that are only about 1cm thick. The 6" (15cm) figures relates to a foam based panel such as Kingspan.

 

 @Joseph_Pestell - please can you let us know the name of this foil based insulating material? And how does it compare in cost to Kingspan?

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1 minute ago, KeithMacdonald said:

 

 @Joseph_Pestell - please can you let us know the name of this foil based insulating material? And how does it compare in cost to Kingspan?

It's a while since I last used some. I will look it up. 

 

On my current project I have enough space to use Kingspan and got a batch at about 50% list from Seconds&Co at Presteigne.

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My layout is up loft . It’s not insulated because it was going to be temporary . 25 years later it’s still there and gets a few hours use most weeks .  It does suffer the extremes of heat and cold . I keep all my stock up there specifically Dapol and Heljan that you talk about and never have any issues .  It is noticable  that some of the old Hornby Ringfields can take a while to warm up , but nothing serious . 

Edited by Legend
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I'm also using Kingspan , but for the walls of my shed over here.  The thickness is 95mm, which is going  flush into the spaces between the upright studs. When that is done, fireproof plasterboard will be next. 

 

A bit expensive, but worth it.  The joists here are 170mm deep, on 400mm centres. I will most probably use Kingspan for the ceiling & loft space. 

 

Kingspan do a similar product, called either cooltherm, or Kooltherm One is thinner than the other, with a better K insulation factor. 

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8 hours ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

I had a builder quote that to me recently. He did not know that I am a former energy assessor and know that this is total cr*p. And a Building Regs Inspector should know likewise.

 

It's not about the thickness of the insulation, it is about the total k value. There are foil based insulating materials that will give the required k value that are only about 1cm thick. The 6" (15cm) figures relates to a foam based panel such as Kingspan.

 

 

I'd be interested to know just where you can get foil insulation that is the equivalent of Celotex/Kingspan which is 100m between rafters, 50mm full cover over and a 25mm airspace and just 1cm thick.

The nearest might be this stuff

http://www.ybsinsulation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/SuperQuilt-England-All-In-One.pdf

But it's 40mm thick and if the rafters are 45mm rather than 38 you don't meet the regs.

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The easiest answer to anything about "lofts and model railways" would be an auto-produced

"Don't do it"

possibly with an accompanying flashing red light and Klaxon.

Edited by LBRJ
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14 minutes ago, LBRJ said:

The easiest answer to anything about "lofts and model railways" would be an auto-produced

"Don't do it"

possibly with an accompanying flashing red light and Klaxon.

I think that's a bit black and white.  Lofts can be made into perfectly habitable spaces with insulation, electrics, lighting and stronger floors etc. It's just a case of how much effort (and money) you wish to go to.

Ian

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2 minutes ago, ikcdab said:

I think that's a bit black and white.  Lofts can be made into perfectly habitable spaces with insulation, electrics, lighting and stronger floors etc. It's just a case of how much effort (and money) you wish to go to.

Ian

 

Oh I completely agree, but it seems to be a well trod topic on here.

The thing is that in many cases, to get an acceptable home for the train set, a shed is realistically a far cheaper and far better an option.

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9 hours ago, KeithMacdonald said:

@modelman14

Can I offer my own recent experience as an example?

 

We're just in the process of insulating a loft space, in a new self-build house, still being built. The local Building Regs here demand that the insulation is six inches thick. Four inches between roof rafters, and two inches over, covered by plaster boards.

 

Folks might be curious to know how much that costs, I don't mind saying. It's added £5,750 to the cost of the build. That includes chipboard to cover the joists, a few power points and lights, and two windows. Building Regs Inspector is happy that it's not being built as a "habitable" space i.e. not decorated and furnished as an extra room in the house.

 

One might get away with less insulation than than, in an existing house, depending on the thickness of the rafters. But be prepared to reinforce the joists as well. Many houses have loft joists that were never designed to carry any load, and if they start flexing, goodness what can happen to the ceiling down below!

Keith you have been fortunate in dealing with an Inspector with some common sense, was he a private Inspector ?

I wish the building regs Inspectors would all sing from the same hymn sheet. I had to endure a complete awkward council pratt who insisted that I had a habitable room and therefore I had to comply with all the relevant regs. That was after the plans had been  passed by the planners and the building regs office as a loft. He was even dictating that a loft should not be visited for more than 3 times a year. It has taken me 2.5 yrs of arguing to obtain a certificate, in the end I had to go over his head.

 

Pete

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9 hours ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

I had a builder quote that to me recently. He did not know that I am a former energy assessor and know that this is total cr*p. And a Building Regs Inspector should know likewise.

 

It's not about the thickness of the insulation, it is about the total k value. There are foil based insulating materials that will give the required k value that are only about 1cm thick. The 6" (15cm) figures relates to a foam based panel such as Kingspan.

 

Joseph, are you sure that the multi-layer foil insulation is an approved building material?  I ask because when we were renovating our property here it wasn't approved and since Grenfell and fire risks I could see it being treated as a risk.  It also has some technical drawbacks.  If you have to join sheets it is done with an adhesive tape - and we all know what happens to Sellotape with age.  

 

I just had a look through the DIY outlet web sites and could not find any in the UK and only some dramatically reduced material here in France.

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33 minutes ago, cb900f said:

Keith you have been fortunate in dealing with an Inspector with some common sense, was he a private Inspector ?

I wish the building regs Inspectors would all sing from the same hymn sheet. I had to endure a complete awkward council pratt who insisted that I had a habitable room and therefore I had to comply with all the relevant regs. That was after the plans had been  passed by the planners and the building regs office as a loft. He was even dictating that a loft should not be visited for more than 3 times a year. It has taken me 2.5 yrs of arguing to obtain a certificate, in the end I had to go over his head.

 

Pete

 

@cb900f - Ouch, sorry to read that. Re "was he a private Inspector" - AFAIK, just a local authority building regs person. I wouldn't be surprised if it varies a lot from county to county. (Stand by for evidence for & against from others)

 

Maybe some counties are bloody-minded / determined that every extra available room should be classified as a "habitable" space (like a bedroom), not just a storage space, so they can charge more on the rates?

 

Or maybe I'm living in a county that's being more flexible, especially now that so many people are in lockdown and Working From Home (WFH) is the new normal. i.e. using an attic or any available space as a "temporary" home office?

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, cb900f said:

Keith you have been fortunate in dealing with an Inspector with some common sense, was he a private Inspector ?

I wish the building regs Inspectors would all sing from the same hymn sheet. I had to endure a complete awkward council pratt who insisted that I had a habitable room and therefore I had to comply with all the relevant regs. That was after the plans had been  passed by the planners and the building regs office as a loft. He was even dictating that a loft should not be visited for more than 3 times a year. It has taken me 2.5 yrs of arguing to obtain a certificate, in the end I had to go over his head.

 

Pete

In our experience it is the private inspectors who are incompetent with little understanding of the building regs requirements. I have seen multiple approvals by PI's that have needed remedial work. My own labourer used one for his extension and was offered a certificate for a sum of money, he even offerd to get him a part P for a bit more on top! 

I would say that the a 'Council' Building inspector has probably had more people lie about the real use of a loft room than you realise, too many say "It's only for a play room" when the reality is it becomes an extra bedroom. An application next door to me right now is for a "one bedroom'' dwelling with the associated single car space, and yet on the plans there is a 'Study' with a shower room in the roof..... 

 

49 minutes ago, KeithMacdonald said:

Maybe some counties are bloody-minded / determined that every extra available room should be classified as a "habitable" space (like a bedroom), not just a storage space, so they can charge more on the rates?

 

As I understand it when the Council tax bands are re-evaluated it is the size of the property that will count, not what part of its purpose is. 

When I extended my own home the valuation office wrote to me and said that the garage extension was likely to increase my council tax. I wrote back that as I was already in Band G (Just 3 bedrooms) they'd have to make a new band up just for me!

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12 minutes ago, chris p bacon said:

As I understand it when the Council tax bands are re-evaluated it is the size of the property that will count, not what part of its purpose is.

 

Happy to say agree and say yes, when they are revalued.

 

I appreciate I've probably clouded the picture because most folks are converting lofts in existing houses.

 

In our case, however, on a new build, it's slightly different, as it's the planning permission we have to comply with, as well as building regs. Which is for a three-bedroom house. Important to keep on the right site of both, otherwise the attic could be deemed as habitable, and then one would have not complied with the planning permission. Which would be a whole new world of pain.

 

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