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Old 09-21-2012, 09:13 AM   #1
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Need advice to partially finish attic.


I've got a walk in attic in my house that is basically an unfinished bedroom. The studs/trusses are exposed and there is fiberglass insulation between them. After years of using this space as storage (i.e toss crap around in there), the paper backing of the fiberglass is torn and has been pushed through in places.

I'd like to partially finish this space, so that at the very least, I'm not pushing through insulation with the stuff that is in storage. I was thinking that I would simply repair/replace any fiberglass insulation as needed and then I would simply sheetrock over everything to "finish" the room.

I started to think about the conditions, which prompted this post. This room is not conditioned and gets very hot in the summer months. There is no window in this room. It's also far from sealed - I can see the back of my siding through gaps in the one exterior wall. The other two walls are roof and truss. Aside from the heat in the summer months, moisture is also a concern as we do have some humidity here in the mid atlantic region.

For this room, is it a bad idea to sheet rock this area? Should I use a moisture barrier of some kind and if so, what should I use?

My thinking is that eventually (in a few years) I might want to convert this into living space, like a playroom for the kids or something. Since I'm doing some basic stuff to improve the space now, I'd like to do stuff that will facilitate that conversion in the future.

I welcome any thoughts or advice that you may have on the subject.

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Old 09-21-2012, 09:24 AM   #2
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Need advice to partially finish attic.


Post some pictures.
A whole can of worms making this into a real living space.
A partial list of things to be concidered.

How wide are those floor joist and what's the span?
How wide are the roof rafters?
Is there a ridge vent?
Is there propper soffit venting?
Does the room now have knee walls?
How to you access the area?
Do you need to get permits in your area? If you do not know you need to find out before doing anything.

Your going to also have to add a window to this area for egress in case of fire.

Seems like a lot of questions, but often times people are under the mistaken impression when seeing all that unused space that they can just start building anything they want up there. More often then not there mistaken without taking the propper steps before hand.

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Old 09-22-2012, 04:18 PM   #3
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Need advice to partially finish attic.


Thanks Joe,

This space is accessible through a standard interior door, just like any other room would be...


Through the door, we're looking at this:






Off to the right of that back wall - through the gap in the fiberglass, I can see the space above the garage, which now that I think about it, I wouldn't mind using that space at some point too...


Here's what the peak looks like in the garage... I assume its the same thing for the rest of the roof.


This is the roof of the area in question. The center section is the room, the left is the garage and the right is the current finished vaulted ceiling.


Most of the studs in my house are around 16" apart and this includes the floor joists. This area was originally bbuilt as a "room" - there is a HVAC vent that was closed off when the kitchen was refinished - This room is above my kitchen.

Does this help illustrate things at all or do you need more pics? Pic's I can get ;-) Thanks!

Last edited by BShow; 09-22-2012 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:44 PM   #4
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Need advice to partially finish attic.


There should have been plastic or foam baffels under that insulation under the roof so there will be air flow from the soffit vents to a ridge vent on the roof.
The rafters should have been shimmed so you could fit the propper amount of insulation in your area. (google, insulation zone map to figure out what you need in the walls and ceiling.
The insulation was suppost to be stapled in place not just sitting there.
There was suppost to be sheetrock over any paper backed insulation to meet fire code.
Those floor joist are under sized for a living space room by the looks of them.
I'm not seeing any cross ties to stop the roof from spreading.

One of those pictures, I think it the third one sort of looks like your looking up at the peak of the roof, If so that's the funkyest roof framing i've ever seen.If that's what it is. Looks like there's no ridge board and the rafters do not line up.

Last edited by joecaption; 09-22-2012 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:22 PM   #5
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Need advice to partially finish attic.


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
There should have been plastic or foam baffels under that insulation under the roof so there will be air flow from the soffit vents to a ridge vent on the roof.
The rafters should have been shimmed so you could fit the propper amount of insulation in your area. (google, insulation zone map to figure out what you need in the walls and ceiling.
The insulation was suppost to be stapled in place not just sitting there.
There was suppost to be sheetrock over any paper backed insulation to meet fire code.
Those floor joist are under sized for a living space room by the looks of them.
I'm not seeing any cross ties to stop the roof from spreading.

One of those pictures, I think it the third one sort of looks like your looking up at the peak of the roof, If so that's the funkyest roof framing i've ever seen.If that's what it is. Looks like there's no ridge board and the rafters do not line up.
Yeah. This place is a mess and I feel quite certain that there's a lot more that doesn't meet code than what you're seeing.

So, Pic 2 and 4 show part of the peak in the room with insulation. Pic 6 shows the peak of the roof above the garage - this is taken by pushing the camera through that opening in the insulation in pic 3. That's the only access to that area and I don't think that it was ever meant to be living space.

I'll look for any baffles, but I doubt that they're there. What do you think I should do with the room w/ exposed insulation? Do i need to take down the insulation, install baffles, reinstall insulation and then sheetrock over it? My short term goal is to cover the insulation with sheetrock, build some shelves in here and keep using it as storage. Long term, I might consider using it as a living space but if its too much of a pain in the ass to make it "right" then I'll scrap that idea.

The floor joists that you are seeing are probably not intended to be living space. That's directly above the garage and if anything, this area would be storage only. I wouldnt be surprised if that's how it looks in the rest of the house though.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:19 AM   #6
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Need advice to partially finish attic.


Any thoughts on what I should do here? Can I simply sheetrock over this insulation or are there issues that will come back to haunt me in the future?

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