Attic Improvements

Discussion in 'Home Improvement' started by Ken Anderson, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I'll post some photos when I have time to look for them, but I have been working on our attic off and on for more than thirteen years now. During that time, we spent a couple of summers up north, where I worked on our camp, and a couple of years in North Carolina, so it's not like I've been working on it steadily but it is a never-ending project.

    Plus, I got cancer and wasn't very much in the mood to do home improvements while going through radiation therapy.

    When we bought the house it was a three-unit apartment building. We tore down some walls, removed two kitchens and a bathroom, and turned one bedroom into a walk-in closet. The place didn't have an attic, just insulation draped over the rafters above the upstairs ceiling tiles.

    I put a floor in, while having to access the attic through a small access hole in the ceiling. Then I put a stairway to the attic in from the walk-in closet. Having never built a stairway before, I found that the result took up far too much room, so a couple of years later I redid the stairway to take up considerably less room. For that task, I hired someone with more brains that I had.

    With a floor, the new attic room would give us considerably more space.

    I decided that I'd use wooden boards for the first several feet of the sloping walls to the attic, as wainscoting, and then finish it off with drywall. I had completed that task on one side of the attic. Then we had to move to North Carolina for a couple of years, leaving the house with a friend of ours, who maintained the place in return for living here for free.

    When I returned, I found that he had packed the attic with junk, which was a lot of work on his part, but it has made it nearly impossible for me to finish the other part of the attic, since I have to move the junk over to the other side of the room while I lay boards on the wall. I still hope to finish it one day, and I hope that day will be before next summer is over.
     
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  2. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    That certainly sounds like it has been a big project for you, Ken ! !
    Why are you still having to work around someone else's junk ? If that friend is no longer there, then he should also be removing his belongings to wherever he moved to, or if it is stuff that he doesn't want (and you don't want either), then why not just get rid of it so you don't have to keep on working around it all of the time ?
    If you don't want to just throw it out, then you can list it on Craigslist in the free stuff, and people will come and take it away. I have had very good luck doing this whenever we moved into a rental house and the last people had left furniture (or whatever) that was usable, but not anything that we ourselves wanted or needed.
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    No, it's all my junk. Since we weren't renting the place to him, we left all our stuff behind when we moved to North Carolina, knowing we'd be back. He just moved our stuff that he wasn't using up into the attic.
     
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  4. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
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    Your attic improvements should like it has been a real learning activity for you. You have more energy than I do to take a 3 apartment building and convert it in your personal home was something that would never have gotten off the drawing board for me. It would be great to see pictures of what it looked like when you started and how it is now.
     
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  5. Mal Campbell

    Mal Campbell Well-Known Member
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    Somewhat off-topic, but until I was 13 we lived in a house that had an attic - the old-fashioned kind with pull-down stairs, and lots and lots of junk stored away. My mom moved some of the stuff and set up a "playhouse" for me up there. I absolutely loved it. I would go up there with friends or even with just a book and pull the stairs closed behind me. It was my little oasis - a place to play, to read, to explore (there were lots of old books and letters), to dress-up (all my mom's old clothes). It is such a memorable experience. Every time we buy a new house, I look for ones with attics full of stuff, hoping to recapture those times.
     
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  6. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
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    We had a house when I was little that had an attic, which my family converted into a bedroom. There was a little space deeper under the roof that could be used for storage that I used as my own little hide away. I would hide up there for hours and read. Fun memories.
     
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  7. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    Our house has an attic but you have to have a ladder and be small to get up there. I'd love to have a regular staircase leading up there and do what you are doing before I'm physically unable to do it and money of course. I love home improvement ventures. I hope the pictures will be before and after ones.
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    That's the way mine was when we bought the house. I put the entire floor in by shoving boards in through that little hole and pulling myself up through it. Later, we put in the stairs. At first, I was thinking storage; later, I decided to make a room out of it.
     
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  9. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    I really don't think I can do much up there. I noticed insulation. I don't think I can pursue it if I wanted to. It would cost to have that removed.
     
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  10. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    i love hearing about this type pf stuff. When i read about the fun home improvements I will either get new ideas for the cabin, or get 100x more motivated to get it done.
     
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  11. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    This reminds me of our extended kitchen. When we made the plans, I saw a space that can be made into an extra room. And that's what happened, beside the extended kitchen is a small bedroom that became a storage room. We don't have an attic but this stock room can serve the purpose. But in fairness to me, we keep in that room some food supplies like soda cans and juice bottles, biscuits.

    One of my colleagues had built a big house in a village near ours. I noticed an attic. When we checked on it, there was some instruments that it looked like an observatory. He said that his son is using it as a workshop.
     
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  12. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    I'd use the extra space for groceries. I just want a pantry so bad. Its hard to buy in bulk to save money, if you don't have anywhere to store it. And, for extra storage space, if I can't make room its really cheap to rent a storage unit.
     
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  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    When we had our house insulated a few months ago, they covered my attic floor with a couple of feet of insulation, requiring a platform and a new floor in order to have access to the attic again. While this is something that I would be capable of doing, the facts are that I would never get around to it, so we just hired a couple of guys to build the new floor, and they are at work doing that now. Once they're done, I'll decide whether I want to use that space as an office, so that we can convert my current office downstairs into a guest room, or whether it's only good for storage space, given that we won't have the headroom that was previously available. I had already wainscoted one long wall of the attic, so I'll be left with wainscoting the other long wall, and finishing the rest off with drywall, packing more insulation into the walls. I already have arranged for air flow and once the attic is converted into a room, there will still be a small space at the tip that will serve as a non-functional attic. I think I can rouse myself to finish that off. Otherwise, I'll hire someone for that too.
     
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  14. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Having people working on things in the house is so annoying. The only thing more annoying would be to have to do it myself. While they're working here, we have to get up far earlier in the morning than we normally would, and there are the constant questions about where to put things or various problems that they might run into during the job. Plus, there is the mess. Now they have to bag up all of the insulation that the insulation people put down so that they can build a platform for the new raised floor, then put the insulation back again before putting in the floorboards, and I have to try to find places for them to stack the bags of insulation and, in the meantime, we have insulation on everything. I just want this to be done.
     
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  15. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    We still have a couple of days of attic work to go on the floor, which is what we hired someone to do. Then I will be finishing the walls and the attic ceiling. Here's what happened, in brief. When we bought the house, there was just a hatch leading to the attic space. But there wasn't an attic really, just beams with rolls of insulation draped over them, and the ceiling tiles below.

    I put in an attic floor, and we hired someone to put in a stairway, didn't like that one, and hired someone else to redo it later. When I put in the floor, I added a about four inches of insulation between the attic floor and the ceiling tiles below. I used boards rather than a plywood subfloor because I did that work before we had a stairway, being young enough at the time to lift myself up through the hatch in the ceiling. Once we got the stairway in, I put a thin layer of plywood over that, which is opposite of what you usually see in a floor, but it was just an attic. I was planning on putting vinyl tile over that.

    Then when we got the offer for our house to be re-insulated for free, one of the parameters was that we had to let them do it their way, which included about three feet of insulation over the attic floor, making it unusable. We let them do that, then we hired the people to build another floor over that but rather than placing all three feet of insulation into the floor, we'll be using some of it in the walls and the attic ceiling that I will be doing.

    So soon we will have two attic floors, one on top of the other, each with about four inches of insulation. We also have bags and bags and bags of insulation filling my storage shed to the top, along with some in our library, and quite a bit still in the attic. I am going to put as much of that back into the attic as I can, packing it into the walls and ceiling of the attic, but if I have any left over, I'll bring it up north and use it in our cabin.

    At some point, we also had a drop ceiling put in through most of the second floor so with a drop ceiling, regular ceiling tiles, eight inches of insulation, two floors, consisting of boards, plywood, and another three-quarter inch layer of plywood, and vinyl tile. Add insulated walls and an insulated attic ceiling, and I think we'll have enough insulation at the top of our house. Plus, I'll be moving my office up to the attic so that we'll have a guest room again, so it will be heated anyhow.

    There is just the two of us, and I suppose we should be downsizing but I hate wasted space.
     
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