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


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2 hours ago, KeithMacdonald said:

 

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.

 

A former colleague built a new replacement 3 bedroom house which had all the relevant permissions and was marketed as a 6 bed before it was finished. When interrogated the planning dept shrugged and said so what?

We all know some people have to have lofts converted to full habitable room spec before the Buildingconrollischmeister allows us to build a model railway and others where houses of multiple occupancy have scaffold boards lodged over 3X1 joists and several people  sleep there.      Obviously one can draw their own conclusions ... 

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16 hours 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?

 

I have not managed to find it on the internet. The best I found is the one that Dave (Chris P) mentions.

 

But we used one on our house rebuild that the Inspector was happy with and was certainly not 40mm thick. Due to separation and divorce, I no longer have access to the file where I would have the invoice.

 

My original post was more of a comment about people who should know better talking about the thickness of the material rather than its properties.

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My local builders merchants, Palladium,  sell 2.4 x 1.2 x 35mm sheets of double foiled Celotex. We used it to make a false ceiling in our club room. We just had an uninsulated pitch roof, adding the false ceiling has stabilised the temperature band from around 8C to 20C and reduced our winter heating bill by about half.

 

 

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I'm surprised someone hasn't mentioned some sort of wall air conditioner / heater?

 

The office I worked in had one, which would do heat and cooling.  Set the temperature and BOOM, it tries to keep it at that temperature.

 

I was reading a Facebook comment about a guy who said he installs them and they don't cost as much to run as people think.  Large industrial ones perhaps so but technology has got a lot better in the last 20 years.  He quoted 40p a day for 12 hours of use.  While obviously biased, it's still potentially worth looking into.

 

As is one of those thermometers that show the maximum and minimum recorded.  This will show you how bad each extreme can get, although would need a full year to do so.  But even if you're build, still useful to have.

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Personally having tried the loft, if you don't fully convert with windows (Velux) and full insulation / access its not ideal, the hatch being the first problem.

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20 hours ago, chris p bacon said:

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! 

 

 

The previous owner of Figworthy Manor put on an extension, which I insisted was signed off by the council before I completed the purchase.  The surveyor and myself lost count of the number of points on which it should have failed (and that was before we found the ones that were hidden).  Apparently the inspection was carried out over the phone as he was unable to gain access to do it in person.  Council employee rather than private.  I gather he retired shortly afterwards.  The cost of the remedial work was approaching 5 figures.

 

Adrian

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I have been up in my loft for 20 years (I'm allowed down sometimes). It is structurally solid with power and a small Velux window but otherwise uninsulated. Over the course of last year I recorded temperatures from 3 - 46 degrees up there. There are times when it is wise to simply do something else but generally it is bearable and the track (copperclad) has given no trouble at all. I can't comment on RTR loco's but others including those with steel tyres have been fine.

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On 08/11/2020 at 12:18, 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!

Crikey,must be a massive loft at that price...

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24 minutes ago, modelman14 said:

Crikey,must be a massive loft at that price...

 

No, insulation materials are very expensive. That's why many here suggest that building a shed is a better option, if, of course, the back garden is big enough.

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1 hour ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

insulation materials are very expensive

 

They are, but if combined with other construction techniques they should cover their cost over the years.

 

On the next renovation I'm looking at spray foam as it also acts as a vapour barrier, the initial quote is £17,500 (should be less) it sounds a lot of money but when you consider that installing either Celotex/Kingspan or blanket  would take nearly 3 weeks plus the cost of the materials and the foam will be 2 days then it doesn't look so bad.

I realise the foam is not really relevant to this thread but skimping on the quality of insulation we use, only costs us more in the long run.

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On 08/11/2020 at 17:01, Legend said:

My layout is up loft . It’s not insulated because it was going to be temporary . 25 years later it’s still there 

I abandoned my temporary loft layout after 10 years because at 60, my knees could not handle (!) the climb up the ladder, and I am generally fit and well.  It’s not  just the hot / cold / building safety etc that needs to be taken into account, but  your own projected health, now and in the future. At 70, I am glad I moved into a cheapo pair of sheds which I insulated - no problems with heat or cold, and my knees thank me.

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1 hour ago, Jinty3f said:

I abandoned my temporary loft layout after 10 years because at 60, my knees could not handle (!) the climb up the ladder, and I am generally fit and well.  It’s not  just the hot / cold / building safety etc that needs to be taken into account, but  your own projected health, now and in the future. At 70, I am glad I moved into a cheapo pair of sheds which I insulated - no problems with heat or cold, and my knees thank me.


Yes I know what you mean . Fortunately I can still get up loft no problem but at some stage in future it could be an issue . The cunning plan is that my office (which is a converted garage as part of the house) becomes my train room on retirement .  But sticking with loft meantime as I’ve actually got a good bit space up there .  Cold is not an issue . I just wrap up warm . Heat is more of an issue as not easy to cool off 

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54 minutes ago, polybear said:

The other possible issue with a loft in winter could be damp, which would be an issue with steel wheels, rail etc.


I would have thought that too . My house was a new build in 1990 , and the loft is bone dry and suffers no dampness at all . I don’t know if it’s a coincidence and it maybe nickel silver now employed in rails but I seldom seem to have to clean the track . Only occasionally do I run a track cleaning rubber over it .  I’m convinced the dry  atmosphere helps .  It used to be much worse when I had a much smaller layout in my bedroom 

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In 1963, when I was 11, my father (always 'careful' with his money) read an article somewhere about the cost of running cars, and I learned the word 'depreciation'.  He began a period of old banger fixer uppers that he would run into the ground and replace, and the railway was evicted from the garage, which had been pretty grim in winter, to the attic.  There was plenty of space but, typically, he cowboyed the boarding in and skimped on insulation; the environment was occasionally Arctic, but even in the depths of winter the least sunshine would turn it into an oven.  The layout was constantly ripping itself to pieces and despite my best efforts never ran properly; track buckled or pulled apart, dust got everywhere, and electrical connections were ripped out.  It was dry enough up there, but simply impractical.  A chum in the next street had an attic layout which lived in an insulated box room built in the attic space, and had a proper folding stepladder.  It would get a little warm in summer but not unpleasantly so, and was heated by the living area of the house in winter by the simple expedient of leaving the trap door open when the layout was being operated.

 

The experience left it's mark on me, and I have since stipulated that if I cannot have a railway in the heated and ventilated living part of wherever I am living, I'll do without.  A few years as a member of a club that specialised in unheated premises in semi derelict buildings convinced me further.   My adult layouts have been mostly in spare rooms or bedrooms, and my current layout is in the single bedroom of a rented flat.  My advice to anyone considering an attic layout is to not bother unless a) you can afford a professional attic conversion or b) are competent to convert the space to professional standards yourself.  If you can't do that and there is no alternative site for your layout, do the best you can with insulation to keep heat in in winter and reflective layers to keep it out in summer; seriously, paint your roof white on the outside or cover it with tin foil!  The game is to keep the temperature and humidity within a small enough range to prevent expansion/contraction and electrical problems, at a mean level that is comfortable to work and operate in.

 

Do not use my dad's Buffalo Bill methods of conversion, a few sheets of chipboard as flooring and some newspaper packed between the roof members for insulation, supplemented by a paraffin heater that stank and did it's best to drown everything in condensation and mould.  Miracle I didn't get TB...

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I wonder how much that cost?  There's a lot of steel.

 

I am also curious about how the rest of it works regarding Building Regulations.  Based on my (amateur) understanding it raises the following questions.

1. It is clearly a habitable room but only has a ladder for access.  How does this facilitate a safe exit in a fire?

2. The thickness of insulation inserted between the rafters looks like 25 or 30mm.  A fraction of what is needed.  Should it not be around 150mm?

3. Is any of the additional timber used in the end wals and window openings treated?  It looks pale in the video.

4. Why wasn't the floor insulation supported by steel mesh as per the fire safety requirements of the Regs.?

5. Why weren't the floor panels also glued along the joints?

 

Edited by teaky
Spotted something that answered a question.
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3 hours ago, teaky said:

I wonder how much that cost?  There's a lot of steel.

 

I am also curious about how the rest of it works regarding Building Regulations.  Based on my (amateur) understanding it raises the following questions.

1. It is clearly a habitable room but only has a ladder for access.  How does this facilitate a safe exit in a fire?

2. The thickness of insulation inserted between the rafters looks like 25 or 30mm.  A fraction of what is needed.  Should it not be around 150mm?

3. Is any of the additional timber used in the end wals and window openings treated?  It looks pale in the video.

4. Why wasn't the floor insulation supported by steel mesh as per the fire safety requirements of the Regs.?

5. Why weren't the floor panels also glued along the joints?

 


not sure what purpose steel mesh under the floor insulation serves, if a fire had to got such a point as to cause structural failure of the plasterboard then mesh would be pointless.

 

i noticed that the joints of the floor did not end on a joist, I guess this was to save on cutting having the joints overhang. But your right they should of been glued.

 

as to the insulation I suspect it’s 30mm so as to maintain the air gap above, it’s a bit of a trade off.

 

as to is its a habitable room this is not so clear cut, as could be defined as a posh loft.

 

 

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3 hours ago, teaky said:

 

2. The thickness of insulation inserted between the rafters looks like 25 or 30mm.  A fraction of what is needed.  Should it not be around 150mm?

 

4. Why wasn't the floor insulation supported by steel mesh as per the fire safety requirements of the Regs.?

 

 

18 minutes ago, Andymsa said:


not sure what purpose steel mesh under the floor insulation serves, if a fire had to got such a point as to cause structural failure of the plasterboard then mesh would be pointless.

 

as to the insulation I suspect it’s 30mm so as to maintain the air gap above, it’s a bit of a trade off.

 

re insulation, it looks to be 25-30mm but they haven't taped it, with the original tar based felt on the outside there is a likelihood of moisture running round the board and staining the plasterboard. It could be they vented the roof on the outside (Eaves and ridge) but that isn't shown on the clip.

 

Mesh- AFAIU should the plasterboard below start to fail the mesh holds the blanket in place for a bit longer, this in turn restricts the free flow of oxygen to fuel any fire below, I don't know how long before it should fail but all of these things are in place to buy as long a time as possible for escape.

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1 hour ago, Andymsa said:


not sure what purpose steel mesh under the floor insulation serves, if a fire had to got such a point as to cause structural failure of the plasterboard then mesh would be pointless.

 

i noticed that the joints of the floor did not end on a joist, I guess this was to save on cutting having the joints overhang. But your right they should of been glued.

 

as to the insulation I suspect it’s 30mm so as to maintain the air gap above, it’s a bit of a trade off.

 

as to is its a habitable room this is not so clear cut, as could be defined as a posh loft.

 

 

Mesh - Chris P Bacon has answered this question.

 

Floor joints - The large chipboard 2400 x 600mm flooring sheets don't bend much once glued and screwed in place.  This is definitely not the case with the thinner, untreated ones often sold as 'loft boards' and which are only suitable for making storage areas easier to use.  It would be sensible to keep joints on joists for these and they are often sized to accommodate this.

 

Insulation - You are correct about the importance of an air gap.  However, the Regulations still stipulate the U-value required.  An extra layer of insulation should have been fixed across the face of the rafters.  (Additionally, even though the insulation appears to have been neatly fitted, all joints should have been taped. - As mentioned by Chris P Bacon.)

 

Posh loft - Maybe but I would want the owner and/or builder to explain why it needs to be subdivided into a central 'room' with storage in the eaves.

 

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Amazing how a topic can drift off topic...

I appreciate the replys here,but back to my original post,the layout I have is currently being retired to the loft for storage,my main concern was if the locos will be ok up there until building work starts, probably next year,then I will have a designated room as part of the current property.

I have read and heard stories of bust drive cogs due to heat.

The loft space will not be getting fully converted,as it is it is good for storage,apart from the temperature issue.

Plenty of replies here indicate that they will cope with the temperature fluctuations,the original post was directed at this point,not at full loft conversions.

Anyhow,thanks for all the replies,it looks like my collection will be stored in the loft for now and I definitely won't be converting it as we will have another 2/3 rooms added to the property next year.

Thanks.

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To answer the OP's last question, locos will be fine provided that they are well wrapped and stored in a box. The extremes of the climate that might be experienced won't get to them then. The exception might be split chassis Bachmann types if you have any. I had an approx 20 year gap between the kids leaving, packing the track and stock away; when I got the stuff out again, I put an oval together on the living room floor, connected the power up and having applied a spot of lube where appropriate, Mallard made one creaky slow lap while the lube was finding its way around, then ran as well as ever.

 

The loft is a dry one in a modern house, getting the proverbial 3C to 43C as mentioned above. I have a fan heater and extractor, and if I want to spend more time in the loft in future summers I will put a cooler up there as well. The extra power requirement will probably be less than the track will pull during operations, and will never cost enough to justify buying the appropriate insulation panels.

 

My access is up a loft ladder which is no more difficult to negotiate than the stairs in some of the victorian cottages in my village, and safer. I walk up and over onto boarding. I could do that as long as I can climb a set of stairs.

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