Monday, September 29, 2008

Loft Landing Area - the forgotten zone

The Loft Landing area is going to be last bit to finish. It will be a really interesting space when its done. The space under the purlin is a large cupboard area. The doors I've fitted are recycled from Wendy's mums old kitchen. After about five years down our cellar (I knew they would come in handy for something) they needed some drying out and some tightening up.

The pile of wood in the picture is acclimatising, it has been for months now and will be for a few months more. It will eventually make book shelves that form the rest of the cupboard front and round on to the party wall. We'll then be able to pretentiously call the landing area, our library.

It looks like the new windows are going to come first, but when in gets cold in the garage I might make a start.

Loft spiral Stairs -Date carving for Posterity

Just above the door under the Stairs I needed to have a panel to cover an unusable bit space. Rather than a plain bit of timber, I thought it was good place to have reminder of the build. Who knows, future generations may might find it interesting.

So with my surname "Bell" and the year, I spent a few hours on a design, another hour or so practicing then I carved this.

I used a Bosche electric chisel. It's very satisfying to use and produces a good clean cut. It took about 1 1/2 hours to cut. I'd be concerned about hand-arm vibration if I was to use it for extended periods.

Sprial stairs with cupboard underneath

Having got rid of the airing cupboard, we've missed having somewhere to but the laundry basket and that bit of extra storage. The space under the stairs I've used by build a side to staircase, and now I've fitted the door.The door is traditional construction with wedged mortice and tennon joints. The pannels are fitted into rebates and mouldings applied to the outside face. It's worked out very nicely and it look like I'll be making a new front door sometime in futue.

I've yet to fit the cupboard out with some shelves but it's already filling up with spare bedding etc.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Total DIY loft conversion costing so far

I've posted a link to this blog on a forum . a few people interested in the costing so:

Fairly accurate costing for DIY 16m2 loft conversion room with 4m2 landing area

Not counting the complete new roof in slate with breathable membrane done by a contractor, cost including supply and fitting of steels and installation of velux £6000 plus vat. I’ve included the material cost of steels and velux.

4 velux, 3 off 1140 x 1180, 1 being escape spec, 1 off 780 x 980 - £1188
Rockwool Flexi to bring fire resistance of lathe and plaster ceilings up to spec - £322
Chicken wire to support above - £80
Celcon blocks, sand cement for fire wall to neighbours -£191
Steels UB’s 230x90x32kg/m PFC 1off 4900mm 1 off 4000mm - £150 est.
Joist hangers - £47
Timber for structural and stud walls - £265
Radiator and various hardware - £298
Chipboard flooring P5 grade plus some PSE - £157
Kingspan for roof and ashlar - £348
Kingspan drylining K17 for brick walls - £305
More assorted hardware - £162
Electric, cable and high spec fittings - £180 est
Timber for stairs - £450 est
Plaster board - £129
Skirting and architrave - £99
Skim Plaster, bead and plasterer for 2 days - £165
Assorted other bits and bobs - £120 est
1/2hr fire door and frame - £122
Flooring Oak veneered laminate, underlay, edging -£332
Estimate of others, eg. smoke alarms, paint, lost receipts - £300

Structural engineers calcs - £264
Building control submission - £130
Building control inspection - £283
Electric certification - £80
(all work under supervision of electrician (father in-law)

If I’ve missed anything obvious let me know.

Total cost - £6167

Monday, September 15, 2008

Paneling on the side of the spiral staircase

The paneling hides all the ply wood I used and is designed to match as much as possible the existing stairs.
I've been working on this stage for a while now. It took me ages to finally order the timber, I order all I needed for shelves that are going in the landing area and for the sliding sash windows I'll be making next. I cut the timber to approximate size and left it stacked up on the landing for a couple months to season and acclimatise.
Hopefully nothing will shrink and show up. I've allowed for movement of the wide boards and the panels.

One part that did stump me for a while was how to make the panels thin enough. I ended up sawing by hand 250mm wide boards and finished them with a belt sander. It would have been easier if my thicknesser took more than 200mm. With some time end effort they came out OK at about 6mm and flat enough on the visible side.

If I'd had worked out how much moulding I needed to finish of the paneling I would have invested in a bit for the router. At around £7 for 2.4m from Wickes its extortionate.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Loft Conversion Finished Room

With a set of stairs to the DIY loft conversion now in all I needed was the final decorating and the Half Hour fire door fitting.

Fitting the door was is just like a normal door but with three hinges, and I've done plenty of those in the past. The only problem was cutting a corner off to match the ceiling slope. It is a solid timber core door but the cut went through the hardwood edging. I routed out about about 15mm and set in a new piece. The brush seal that came with the frame didn't fit the slot so I had to open it out. On this door I used a real "Pergo" hidden closer, which I must say is much better quality than the other versions I've used in the rest of the house. You cant hear the chain as it pulled back into the barrel.

Some picture of the finished room a few days before Emma moved in, it's never been tidy since.

The deep window ledge allows the window to be positioned far enough down the roof to meet building regulations for the fire escape (The loft conversions regulations have changes since). The bottom of the window opening being 1.8m from the edge of the roof.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Next part of spiral stair construction

Fitting the centre post was simple. I first fitted an off cut of the 100 x 100mm timber into the floor with half joints in to three joists to spread the load. The notches in the joists are only 700mm from the wall and the joints are tight so I wasn't worried about weakening the floor. The bottom of the centre column is bolted on to it. The column at the attic floor level is mortice and tenoned to the end of a floor joist I had left sticking out.

I wish I could find the pictures I had taken at this stage, but thats the down side of digital pictures. I think the camera was borrowed and the card wiped before I'd transferred them.

The next pictures should give an idea of the construction methods used. I screwed stringers on to each of the two walls, after some final measuring. Then made the the side/stringer that goes over the existing stairs. This fits on to the other vertical post I put up. Followed by the last two bits of stringer. All of the stringer are flat, no recess or grooves to take the risers or treads. All these I cut from 18mm Birch Ply, its good to cut with a smooth edge, no voids and should finish well for painting.

The risers and treads are cut from the same ply, 3 off 8x4 sheet in total. The risers needed cutting at an angle to meet the stringers and the inside ends fitted in the slots of the column. On the wall stringers I shaped brackets out of ply and screwd and glued them on to suit. The other risers are screwed and glued directly on the outer stringers.

The steps are individually cut to fit. Almost every one tricky to mark out because of the number of angles. But seeing it go up one step at time kept me going and I eventually got to the top.

If any one wants to know more about how I built these, please leave a comment. It took me ages to figure out the construction method to suit my skills, a minimum of tools and materials availability.