Sunday, May 15, 2011

Loft Conversion Part 1

We bought our home with the intention of converting the loft into a usable space.  We got an architect and started cleaning out the attic/loft in preparation.  There was so much left in the attic from previous owners!  (We bought the house through an auction so we got it as is, contents included.)  We filled a skip/dumpster, gave away loads on freecycle, sold some things on ebay and kept a few items.  We were left with this.

A very dusty, leaky attic with a lot of potential.

I spent several Saturdays up in that cold, dark, dirty attic clearing out old insulation and debris. Niall would watch the baby and help clear out the bags of garbage when I dropped them through the loft access hole. On a typical Saturday we'd clear out about this much.  (Yes, those are dust particles in the air.  It was messy work.)

We got planning permission to add a dormer (extending the head height, making way for a shower room) but it ended up being way too expensive to go the dormer route.  We decided to do the conversion without a dormer. One unique thing about the houses on our street is (for whatever reason) the upstairs ceiling (what would be the loft floor) is built on two levels.  See how just behind the light in the photo below there's a step down of about six inches?  It's a big problem if you're trying to build a level floor and maximize head height!

Things started from the top and worked their way down.  First thing to tackle was the roof.  The roofers took off the old (asbestos, unfortunately) and put in a new roof with two Velux windows.

The architect and structural engineer said the ceiling had to come down.  It's what the neighbors with their loft conversion had to do.  So down came the ceiling.  It's probably a good time to mention we fortunately were living in a rental house while all of this was going down.

I think it was around this time Niall said we owed the house an apology for ripping it apart.  He was probably right.  Sorry house!

With the old ceiling gone, the carpenters moved forward with putting in a proper reinforced loft floor.  (We had to get party wall agreements with the neighbors to put in the new beams.)

And the new ceiling/floor was framed.

The loft floor was was laid.

Originally, this point is where budget wise we had agreed with the builder to go.  The plan was to stop here and finish the rest of the loft when I went back to work and we had more money.   But after some thought and tweaking our finances we decided to go for broke (literally) and finish up as much of the house as we could before we moved in.

So my insulation dreams (I love warm) started coming true.  Insulation went in the roof.

Two layers, actually.

And insulation got added to the loft floor/upstairs ceiling.

The carpenter boxed in the loft room, leaving storage in the eaves.

And the plasterboard went over the insulation.

And over the chimney.  We asked the plasters to box around the chimney, rather than over it, so we'd still have the original shape.  (But not the cold of the exposed brick.)

And a hole marked where the stairs would go.

And finally, stairs to the loft!

When we moved in, the loft basically looked like this (but the walls had been skimmed with plaster.) 

Hurray!  The expensive/hard work was done.  But there's still more.  We've sold a few things to get some extra cash and are putting in a lot of hours for the final push to make this room habitable.  I'll post part 2 when we're done. Here's what the loft looked like a few days ago.

1 comment:

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