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Old 01-07-2010, 04:07 PM   #1
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Turning Attic Space into Playroom?


Hello all,

I'm new here and wanted some advice on turning some attic space into a small playroom for the kids. The attic space in question is not the real attic itself, (which is in another spot entirely), just a storage space on the second floor of the house, directly under the roof. It has a flat wall on one side and is tall enough to stand up in if you're right next to that wall, but the other side has a ceiling that slopes down under the roof. At the bottom of this slope are the soffits over the front porch, through which you can see some daylight.

There is some plywood flooring through most of it, but not close to the soffits. There is also insulation through most of it, but some insulation is exposed. I'm hoping to get some advice as to whether or not it would even be feasible to throw up some drywall and make this into a room, or would that cut off the circulation from the soffits?
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Old 01-07-2010, 04:11 PM   #2
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Turning Attic Space into Playroom?


You would need to install a ventilation path - usually rafter vents
Washington state ?
What size are the "attic" floor joists ? Rafters ?
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Old 01-07-2010, 07:03 PM   #3
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Turning Attic Space into Playroom?


Before you drive your first nail you should completely understand how to convert this attic space to living space.
You imply that there's another room on this level that's been finished. That may indicate the structure was planned to finish the space. It doesn't mean it actually was. Describe the floor structure that you have and the year the house was built.
Ron
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:31 PM   #4
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Turning Attic Space into Playroom?


Yes, I'm in Washington state. The house was built in '78 but some parts have been remodeled.

The rafters are 5 1/2" by 1 1/2" and the floor joists are 9 1/4" by 1 1/2". There is plywood on top of the floor joists. The space is on the second floor where there are two finished bedrooms and a bathroom. The access to this storage room/attic is from one of the bedrooms. The "real" attic is one floor above this, with access from the closet of the other bedroom (going up a level instead of being on the same level).

When you first go into the space, there are small black pipes visible (about an inch or less in diameter), that are not flush behind the wall joists, so you couldn't just put drywall over this spot. Further down, there are other pipes visible, but they are further back and are sandwiched in with insulation. These must be for the upstairs bathroom, which is just behind this room. It was remodeled, but I'm not sure when. One of my concerns with finishing this room is that I don't want to seal off anything that wasn't meant to be sealed off. I don't know if it's necessary to have access to these pipes or not, but if so, that could be why the space isn't finished.

I want to thoroughly understand this project before I begin anything, and will have a contractor come out and take a look if I feel the work involved will be beyond what I'm comfortable with. But I don't want to waste the time and money doing that if it turns out that the room was simply meant to be left alone.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:17 AM   #5
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Turning Attic Space into Playroom?


You have 2x10's for floor joists, depending upon how far they span that should be good for floor joists
The rafters are 2x6....a bit smaller then what I use but again depending upon span they are OK
The issue with the 2x6 rafters is not enough room to put in the correct amount of insulation - R38 or better = 12" or more

For pipes they are usually buried in the walls
Any repairs means the walls need to be opened
You could put an access panel in if you wanted - usually not required
Electric junctionboxes do need to be left accessible

A couple pics of the area would help
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:33 PM   #6
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Turning Attic Space into Playroom?


There is insulation between the rafters already in all areas except for one spot, I'm not sure why there's none there. Are you saying that the insulation that's there may not be enough since the rafters are smaller?

There are no electric junction boxes, but I do see some electrical wires weaving in front of and behind the insulation in a few spots. In some areas, they would prevent a sheet of drywall from being able to be flush up against the studs.

I'll try to figure out how to post some pics soon.
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:41 PM   #7
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Turning Attic Space into Playroom?


Correct, not enough existing insulation
In most areas you need R30-38 or better insulation, 10-12" in all - depends upon if it is fiberglass Or spray on
In my new Bay window I installed R49 insulation = 16"
And they recommend up to R60 if you can
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:14 PM   #8
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Turning Attic Space into Playroom?


The insulation in the rafters is fiberglass. There is some loose fill insulation between some of the floor joists where there is no plywood on top, mostly close to where the roof slopes down to the soffits.

I was just reading about furring strips, which would allow more insulation to be added if needed. Would this be a good idea?

I was thinking more about the rafter vents, and there could be rafter vents under the insulation that's already there, but I don't see one between the rafters where the insulation is missing, so there may be none at all. This concerns me, because if there aren't already rafter vents, this may be too big a project for me to tackle. There wouldn't be a way to vent them sufficiently at the ridge as the vertical side of this space doesn't reach all the way up to the ridge. Side venting is also not possible since there are rooms on either side.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:52 PM   #9
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Turning Attic Space into Playroom?


The rafter vents are only a part of this proposed project. You might want to put this project aside if this issue is a big deal. There will be far larger issues to deal with along the way.
This might be a project to do when you have more experience.
Ron
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