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Old 07-08-2012, 05:43 PM   #1
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Attic Conversion

Hello all,

Finished rehabbing the first floor of my first house (big fun and now looking up to the attic to make into, hopefully, my dream master suite. Not sure it's even possible (oh please) and want to make things complicated too...haha.

Little background, pitched roof with the front part running opposite direction as the rest with some cool peaks. Exposed brick, 9.5' to the peak, 30'x40', no soffit, 7' clearance to cross-ties, insulated floor with 1/2" planks over, about 9' width of space with 6' headroom, angle of the roof is about 45 degrees, only couple roof vents as ventilation plus 4 windows, guessing it's ok for fire escape as the neighbors with the same general house have their upstairs finished. Rafters only about 5.5" deep. House is in Chicago, brutal winters and been baking hot this summer. HVAC friend recommended new unit upstairs to provide heat up there and to add AC to first floor from above.

Know I need an engineer to look at, but am trying to get all my thoughts and ducks in a row ahead of time. The biggest thing I'd really, really, really like to do, if at all possible, is to leave the rafters exposes some/all if I could. There are cool angles up there and love the openness that it gives. Possible?? Been reading on adding another insulted roof to the outside using 'sleepers' to create air channel, make new soffits and ridge vent? Maybe that's the only option since the rafters are so short? But, since the rafters are so short, does that mean that it's not going to support the weight of another roof? I know that's going to be an expensive option as well.

Is there some kind of super-thin insulation that I could use on the inside? Just put it between the rafters and drywall in between some how? How to ventilate if so, there is no soffits, could maybe make an air channel behind with furring strips and ventilate a knee wall area and add ridge vent? Don't understand how that wouldn't just let the head/ac fly right out, guess the idea is it's all enclosed behind drywall usually?

Am I crazy? Any chance of getting this to work out?

Thanks a million for any pointers/ideas. Fingers crossed!


Last edited by patch2112; 07-08-2012 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:10 PM   #2
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Attic Conversion

A few tips; ceiling headroom; http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico...9_3_sec005.htm That stops many people....

permanent stairs (egress width), attic room floor joists, egress window opening, possible new electrical breaker- or two if elect. heated, new smoke alarms, new attic ventilation, new sloped ceiling insulation thickness....

Where are you located?

P.S. Welcome to the forums!

If any ads are present in my answer above, I do not condone/support/use the product or services listed, they are there against my permission.
Gary in WA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 12:49 AM   #3
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Attic Conversion

Originally Posted by patch2112 View Post

Know I need an engineer to look at... Good. And a competent builder for his/her opinion.

There are cool angles up there and love the openness that it gives. Possible?? See the engineer about your snow and wind loads.

Been reading on adding another insulted roof to the outside using 'sleepers' to create air channel... Read on greenbuildingadvisor.com about outsulation on roofs.

Maybe that's the only option since the rafters are so short? You mean narrow, as 5.5" narrow? That is the only option if you want exposed rafters.

I know that's going to be an expensive option as well. Yep. Compare to other options and make a call.

Is there some kind of super-thin insulation.... If you believe in snake oil, yes. Don't buy into any garbage about miracle products that have R30 and only a 1/4" thick (exaggerated).

Am I crazy? Wrong forum to ask that.
See my 2 cents after the bullets. Good luck.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:13 AM   #4
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Attic Conversion

You have to maintain a minimum head room at the sides where the sloped roof engage the attic floor. As such, most people put in a small knee wall at whatever distance allows for that headroom. Since your roof is at nearly 12/12 you should have not lose much floor real estate.

The issue is, this unfinished attic space behind the knee wall still needs to be accessible and vented. This poses a problem with your plan to leave the rafters exposed.

Usually, these build-outs utilize a cathedral ceiling where the gyp. board. is fastened directly to the bottom of the roof rafters. Inside of the voids are vent tubes that vent the small attic spaces to remain up to roof vents or a ridge vent.

By exposing the rafters and the bottom of the deck, you might have an issue with ventilating the attic to remain.

You need permit drawings? Let me know, Ill be glad to help since you are here in Chicago.
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