Planning stages of an attic remodel... input appreciated...
Well I've decided to finish my attic. This will be my first project of this magnitude, so it will definitely be a learning experience. I've done a good amount of research, so I have an idea of what I'm getting myself in to. I need to put in a floor on the sides, behind where the knee wall will be. My attic has an old tongue and groove floor in the middle, but will this work as my sub floor there? Hopefully I don't have to tear all of this up.
Also, I'm not sure if I should frame the knee walls first, or if I should insulate the rafters. It would obviously be easier to insulate behind where the knee walls will be if I do it before I frame them, but I have heard not to insulate until you are ready to drywall. Plus I want to either have track lighting or recessed lighting in the middle of the ceiling, where there will be a small flat section, so I would think I would want to wire that before insulating.
And about the spacers to keep the insulation from contacting the roof... how far apart can these be (vertically)? Do they have to be right on top of each other or can I spread them out? There are vents in the roof, will these be alright or will they cause problems? The plan is to have the rafter spacer things, and then have a section of flat ceiling where I will put lights, and I will have open air above that for ventilation. This way air will be able to circulate between all the rafters and the vents on the end of my attic. Good plan?
How high should my knee walls be? I think 4 feet would be convenient, since I wouldn't have to cut the drywall, not that that is very hard, but less mudding too. I am planning on just nailing the studs to the side of the rafters, instead of using a top plate and having to bevel it.
Here's some pictures of what I'm working with. Any input is welcome. Thanks!
View from the steps.
Need to put a floor here for storage behind the knee walls.
Not really sure where to insulate here.
Need a floor here as well.
Vents in the roof. OK? Also, old knob and tube that will be coming out.
Vents on the end of the attic and more knob and tube.
View from the far end of the attic.
You have a number of issues you need to deal with. Ventilation, insulation, wiring and framing.
The current ventilation is inadequate and poorly designed. This will be exacerbated by closing it in. Does the house have a soffit overhang for vents? If yes, put in a continuous ridge vent. If not, install one of those continuous vents at the roof edge, about the gutters.
The roof rafters are inadequate for the R value you need for your region and will need to be added to. The rafters are also spaced, what, 24 inches apart? You'll have to jury rig the baffles for an open sheathing air circulation.
When you insulate the space, it will be the floor behind the knee wall, the knee wall, the roof rafters up to the flat area and the flat area. You can go to a fiberglass web site for a picture of the scenario.
Personnally, I use top plates in knee wall framing as it's easier to line up the walls and it gives a continuous top support for the sheetrock.
Decide how the wiring is coming up before you do too much framing so you don't have to crawl through knee walls to run the wiring.
It's easier to run 2 or 3, 12-3 wires up there now then later. Cable, phone and computer if you need it.
Skylights will add lighting to the area. The two end windows aren't enough light for the space.
If this area is being used as a bedroom, get emergency egress ladders for the windows.
You save floor space by recessing into the knee wall, desks, dressers, bookcases and the like.
i recently did this same thing with the help of the people on here. First thing you will want to do is get your sub floor finished and then build the knee walls, like ron i would use a top plate, really not that bad to cut miters on the studs. Ron also mentioned you won't be able to get the r-value you need with your rafters, i solved this by furing the rafters out to get the depth i needed for insulation. I believe they do make baffles for 24" spacing of rafters and they shouldn't have any space in between them. Once the framing is done you can run your electrical for lights and outlets and switches. And do any heating/cooling if you are going to. Then insulate, drywall, finish, paint, etc. The most important thing to consider in my opinion is ventilation. You need to make sure you have a flow from the soffits to the peak. I'm sure others will chime in with more details. good luck
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