Attics as Habitable Areas 3

June 26, 2018





Finishing your Attic.

Generally the last structural detail is the fixing of the stairs, reason being, to avoid damage to the stairs during the building process. Therefore the void that is cut out of the ceiling to accommodate the stairs need not be cut until the day the stairs go in. All your building materials if possible should go in over the roof. If you have a dodgy roof or a  colour-bondy beauty then you will have to create a safe path using structural ply.

From the moment you start renovating you should be aware that everything you do has the potential to add more work to your load if you don’t take care and prepare well.

Once your structural beams are in place, and the floor joists are positioned and fixed you can look around you and begin to picture your completed job. Your existing ceiling joists need to be tied up to the new floor joists with triple grips or hoop iron and structural strength nails. This should be done at 600 centres and done well. Check the props before you start and make sure they are firmly wedged. Hoop iron should wrap under the ceiling joists and be nailed off aggressively.

The electrician should arrive as soon as the joists are in place. He will want to know where you want power points and down lights. If your attic is of the expensive variety and a bathroom is anticipated then the plumber should also arrive at the same time. The sheet or timber floor should not be fixed until all of this work is completed and don’t forget the insulation.

To protect your new floor you can put down a temporary structural ply floor. Your firewalls can be built once more bringing bricks and mortar over the roof. If you have a grand old chimney snaking it’s way up, your choice after you have cleaned and sealed the brickwork and lime mortar is to paint, render and paint, or batten it and gyprock it.

Finishing your attic is reasonably simple process. Your floor will either be sheet flooring or T&G boards. Your attic walls will rake along the line of the roof and be lined with gyprock commonly or you could use tongue and

grooved finger jointed pine. If you crave that Nantucket Look!

Interspersed are your Velux sky-windows affording you breathtaking views across your neighbours roofs.

Once the gyprocking is completed the worst of the dirty details are completed. The void for the stairs can be cut out and the stair people who have already measured and cut your job can be called for installation. If your stair treads are raw timber then seal them immediately before permanent stains are a thing of the future like Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Now you can begin your fix out. This involves the skirtings that conceal the edges of your gyprocking and the architraves that frame your windows and doors. Your choices range from the very small sizes 50x19 up to 100x19. You can go bigger but the cost is substantial. The moulding on your skirtings and architraves usually is one of about a dozen on offer that your timber merchant will show you. You can get it in MDF or raw timber. I use finger-jointed pine. This is plantation timber and comes in 5.7m lengths.

To save time and hassle it is often worth painting the mouldings before they are cut and fixed. Then it is just a touch up to complete the job. After you have painted the electrician can be called to install the lights.

Good building and design!

Note: The views expressed in this article are of a broadly based nature and are in no way to be taken as the basis of an individual design. Should a reader wish to pursue the ideas expressed then at all times we recommend they consult with the appropriate professionals. 


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