The roofs on modern timber framed homes are built using engineered timbers and tied together with metal plates, which allow for the least amount of timber to be used, whilst retaining the structural strength required.
House building companies use this method for several reasons, primarily because they are cheap to produce, but also because the small amount of timber used makes them more environmentally friendly.
The downside for homeowners is they are left with a W configuration of structural timbers running through their loft spaces.
To remove these W timbers there are only two options, either remove the whole roof and replace it with new open engineered trusses, or insert large sections of structural steelwork held up by cripple studs going down through the exterior walls of the house to foundation level, as well as doubling up on the existing joists and rafters with substantial timbers.
Any attempts to simply cut away these W sections without first completing the structural requirements would result in the roofs rafters bending and snapping under the weight of the roof, and the ceilings below sagging and putting pressure on the exterior walls....not a good scenario!
Both these options are expensive and time consuming, and whilst possible, (we have converted them into bedrooms in the past), the costs often outweigh the gains.
So what else can you do to make full use of the space in your new build home's loft?
By using the existing structural timbers and adding to them, rather than taking sections away, we can increase the structural strength, and create a usable storage area, that can perform a great many functions, from playroom to office.
We begin with fitting a new loft ladder, wide and long enough to actually use. With an insulated door and safety rail, these come in various sizes and range up to 3.2meters in height.
Alternatively we can fit a space saver staircase, if there is an appropriate position for one.
Next we strap and lay a full floor, including all the insulation and a single switch to control a one-way lighting circuit in the loft.
Now we have a safe floor, we fit a new Velux window for natural light, and then strap the rafters to carry plasterboard.
The next section is to fully insulate and plasterboard the whole space.
Finally we shelve between the W sections to give you all the storage you may need, this can also double up as desk space.
This whole project can be finished in one week in an average sized home.
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