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Old 01-24-2011, 03:52 PM   #1
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removing roof supports in attic, installing a room


Our attic is huge and unfinished - and worthless for just about everything. We have "hip roofs - so from the outside the roof on all sides is angled.

Inside, the mid peak is probaby 15-18 feet up from the floor. There is blown-in insulation across this "floor" - and of course, stuff like ducts and other stuff runs haphazardly around.

I'm investigating putting a room up there. There are no windows, so I'd need to put a doormor into one of the angled roofs. It would sort of be a unique loft/office - so I'd probably run a permanent wood custom "ladder" up - more like steps, but almost straight up - from an upstairs hall.

But all around, whoever did the framing when the house was built 12 years ago looks like they somewhat randomly put up angled supports for the rood.

As you'd look at the run of any of the roof, from the peak down to the soffet - they've put 2x4 or 2x6 supports across the roof studs about halfway down. From those, they came out with 2x4 supports at about 45 degree angles down to the attic floor. I can't see how they are attached down there as it's covered in insulation. Also, some appear to be "T"ed 2x4 perhaps for added support.

If I could remove these completely - I could frame in a room about 20 by 15 with at least 8 foot ceilings.

So two questions:

1. The angled supports cut right into the space I'd want the room. So is there some other way to replace them? Like if I for instance framed my new room so the top edge become one of the supports?

2. I wonder if the floor of this attic would techically be coded to have a room. Like maybe it wouldn't support the weight. However, the room will be above another room/tall wall below - not over a big void on the second floor.

3. We're in Georgia - and this attic gets really hot. And the "door" to this room would be in its floor - and it would be the highest point in the house. I'll tap into a duct to bring in heat and AC. But I'm wondering if this room could become impossible to temperature control. All the heat of the home would go up into it. And any cold (like AC) would fall out of it.

Thoughts?

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Old 01-24-2011, 06:10 PM   #2
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removing roof supports in attic, installing a room


Have you met with a engineer & architect? If only built 12 years ago, find the builder of the home, and have them go over your plans to see if the structure will handle it.

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Old 01-24-2011, 06:18 PM   #3
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removing roof supports in attic, installing a room


Your project may be feasible, but will certainly require a building permit, and will likely require carefully developed engineering plans. Unless you are very knowledgeable about code issues such as access, windows, heating and cooling, fire protection etc., you are almost certainly going to need an architect to develop the plans, unless you propose to do this work without a permit. And likely a structural engineer, since those randomly placed 2x4's almost certainly hold up your roof, and cannot be removed without careful design.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:25 PM   #4
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removing roof supports in attic, installing a room


DH is right that this is a complicated remodel that needs consideration for many different aspects. A contractor or designer may be able to come up with suitable plans for a permit, but unless you have extreme confidence intheir abilities, it may be better to go the architect/engineer route. If you decide to try it yourself, I would at least recommend paying for an engineers time to make sure your plans are viable- it may be required. Don't count on mere issuance of a permit ensuring that the plans are good. If you decide to go the unpermitted route and accept the liability for both yourself and future owners of the property (possibly having to tear your work out later if gov't officials find out or be sued by someone you sell to later being hurt physically or financially), here are some things you must consider:

1. The angled supports cut right into the space I'd want the room. So is there some other way to replace them? Like if I for instance framed my new room so the top edge become one of the supports?

It depends on where the supports or future walls would be in relation to load-bearing walls below and the effect on changing rafter spans above.


2. I wonder if the floor of this attic would techically be coded to have a room. Like maybe it wouldn't support the weight. However, the room will be above another room/tall wall below - not over a big void on the second floor.

The floor of the attic supported by the floor below's ceiling joists probably would not be up to safely supporting another floor because the attic wasn't designed as living space in the first place (evidenced by insulation on the floor. They would probably have to be beefed up - thus the architect or engineer coming in handy. You could figure out what needs to be done by using span tables in the local code with attention again to load-bearing walls below and joist spans. You might add more or bigger joists.


3. We're in Georgia - and this attic gets really hot. And the "door" to this room would be in its floor - and it would be the highest point in the house. I'll tap into a duct to bring in heat and AC. But I'm wondering if this room could become impossible to temperature control. All the heat of the home would go up into it. And any cold (like AC) would fall out of it.

You would probably want to take the insulation out of the floor and add some (a lot - including infrared barrier) to the attic ceiling/roof. Some insulation could be left in the floor for sound control or if you will only heat/cool the attic room some of the time. You must investigate roof venting and vapor control for your area. Any change in insulation and use will alter these things and could cause mold or other problems. Maybe consider rerouting ducts to help with the heat and cold stratification.

I think code requires a staircase to livable space, and code requires egress windows of certain sizes for emergency escape, 50% of ceiling height must be > 7' 6" and none < 5'.

These are just some of the things to consider. I really like the idea of professional help. For the house design that is.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:51 PM   #5
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removing roof supports in attic, installing a room


Thanks for the useful input. We have an unfinished area of our basement, too. This space (or the remodeled attic space) will become an office for me. To finish the basement the right way will cost me something like $12K. I was eyeing the attic, and figured maybe I could DIY it for $2K.

But I agree with what you all said - yeah, those supports do run to just above a load bearing wall. I'm thinking this is a can of worms not worth opening.
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