How to Transform Lost Attic Space
Do you have an industrial W-shaped frame or a too-shallow slope? You can modify your frame to transform your lost attic. This solution allows you to free up a larger volume. This article will show how to transform your attic by modifying the roof structure.
Important: You must go through a specialist to carry out most of the interventions necessary for the project. If you don’t want to see the whole thing sagging or, worse, collapsing, call in a professional! Indeed, the strength calculations are critical, and removing a beam changes the loads on each element.
Professionals do the modification of a W-frame. As the name implies, the elements that make up this framing category form a W under the roof, which considerably clutters the space. The W-shaped pieces of wood or metal are called trusses. Removing them means rethinking the structure of the whole.
Carpenters begin by creating a large enough access to the attic to allow them to enter and prepare for the job. Before removing each truss, the frame is reinforced with steel beams that support the joists. To distribute the additional forces created by eliminating the W-trusses, struts and punches are added between the roof and the floor. They are generally more numerous than the trusses but are positioned more at the end of the roof, thus opening up the space.
At the level of the ridge purlin, that is to say, the top of the frame, crossbeams are installed to solidify the whole and to distribute the loads towards the bottom of the roof, thus avoiding to have a truss or a punch in the middle of the room. This work requires solid expertise. Their duration and cost depend on multiple parameters: size, materials, age, accessibility, etc.
Making attic space habitable by raising the height
Is the height you have available too low to transform your attic? There is a solution: raise the entire roof structure. However, this is a more costly operation than simply modifying the roof.
Raising the roof can be considered to create an additional floor if the following 2 conditions are met:
- the foundations have been checked by an expert who certifies their solidity;
- the load-bearing walls have been analyzed to ensure their strength.
Once the structural verifications are done, the work can begin. There are 2 techniques for this type of roof remodeling:
- Girdling the roof with strategically placed steel beams, then lifting it off the rest of the building with powerful hydraulic jacks. Once raised, the masonry is installed, and the whole is repositioned;
- Less expensive but more time-consuming: partial or total roof removal. The roofing is carefully dismantled, as are the elements of the framework. Then the walls are raised to accommodate the original roof again.
The new walls can be made of cinder blocks or poured cement, so they must also be insulated. Some builders offer to integrate the insulation if you opt for wood-frame walls. Think about it!
A roof extension is not considered an energy renovation project, even if the insulation is redone during the work. Therefore, this type of work does not qualify for government financial aid for energy performance. Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for several estimates to get an idea of the final price and choose the best intervention method.
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