How to add a mezzanine
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A mezzanine storey is a great design solution for a room with a double height ceiling or loft space above. It provides additional valuable floor area, together with the impressive sense of volume created by a high ceiling.
Adding a mezzanine is usually done as part of a conversion, renovation or extension – think two storey extensions, loft conversions, garage conversions with a room in the roof or as part of barn, school or church conversion.
Read this guide to find out then basics, then use our guides to extending a house or renovating a property to find out more about the rules, regs and planning involved in this type of project.
(Image credit: Rachael Smith)
Why would you install a mezzanine floor?
Typical situations that might suit a mezzanine are conversions, where the character of the building, be it a former barn or church, requires some double height space to remain on show. It may also be a good design solution in a listed building, where horizontal roof beams spanning the space are an obstacle to creating a full additional storey in the roof space and can’t be altered.
On a smaller scale, a mezzanine can be an enlarged landing area overlooking the stairwell, or a gallery within the loft space above a bedroom, overlooking the room below, perhaps because the roof space is too limited for a loft conversion. In most situations you can use a mezzanine space at first floor level for any function, including a living area, sleeping platform, or a kitchen.
Cantilevered stairs, by Glass UK, make a stylish feature and lead up to a mezzanine study overlooking the kitchen and living room in this converted power station
Do you need permission for installing a mezzanine?
Planning permission isn’t needed unless a house is listed, but all work must comply with building regulations. If the work affects party wall structures, you must notify your neighbours. Leaseholders need permission from the freeholder for structural changes.
(Image credit: Rachael Smith)
How to use the mezzanine space
Mezzanines are a great way to maximise the footprint of a single storey home with a high ceiling. For example, a sleeping loft over a living space can create guest accommodation where a room is not available. Where this is done, you must not cover more than 50 per cent of the room it sits over.
(Image credit: Stuart Cox)
Fire safety and mezzanines
(Image credit: Rachael Smith)
At second floor level a mezzanine space cannot form a habitable room, such as a bedroom (unless the floor level is 4.5m or less, or above outdoor ground level and there is a fire escape compliant window) as it doesn’t comply with building regulations for fire safety as it’s open to the room below. If you do want a habitable space over a first floor room, you will need to treat it like you would a loft conversion and apply the same fire safety measures.
Find out what this would entail in our loft conversion guide.
A second floor mezzanine must form a single space (no subdivision other than for storage, wardrobes etc) and the visible area of the room below should not be less than 50 per cent. Possible non-habitable uses for a second floor mezzanine can include adding an suite bathroom (although this would need to be open to the room below), dressing room or storage. Check out our dressing room ideas feature for inspiration.
(Image credit: Rachael Smith)
Staircases and balustrades for a mezzanine
Access to a mezzanine level is via a conventional staircase — but if space is tight, options include a spiral staircase or, for a space that’s only used occasionally, a space saver staircase with hit and miss treads, or a fixed loft ladder with hand rails. You need to keep a maximum distance of 3m between the mezzanine stairs and the room below’s door, with a maximum of 7.5m from the furthest point of the mezzanine to the stairs.
An engineer will need to calculate the strength of the floor and any alterations required to the roof structure. The roof/ceiling will have to be insulated, and some form of balustrade will be needed where it overlooks the space below.
The balustrade and stairs are an important design feature. A glass balustrade and a simple staircase, or a spiral flight, work well in a modern space. The balustrade and stairs in a barn conversion should be minimal or sturdy and practical. For a traditional look, spindles, a handrail and a cast-iron spiral flight are a classic solution.
Want more advice on conversions?
- Find out more about how to tackle a barn, school or church conversion
- The ultimate guide to converting a basement
- Ultimate guide to garage conversions
How Can I Carve Out a New Room Without Adding On
Whether you have a growing household, need more space for guests or are hoping to bump up the price when you sell your property, adding an extra room can be a real bonus for any home. And the place to look is often upward. Using the height of your home to increase space doesn’t have to involve a full attic conversion (or even an attic), or even any structural work to your building. Here, three space-expanding experts share their tricks for ways to maximize the space in your home. Be sure to consult local building codes for requirements on stairs and guardrails.
Professional advice from:
Pravin Muthiah, Coupdeville
Jamie Falla, Jamie Falla Architecture
Colm Doyle, DMVF Architects
Max out your living space. Building a mezzanine (an in-between floor) or loft level for your bed is a fantastic way to increase the floor space of a compact flat. In this apartment, owned and designed by architect Pravin Muthiah, of Coupdeville in London, moving the bedroom to a higher level has allowed the flat’s living area to be made into a larger, open-plan space — the sort of spatial luxury that really makes a difference in a one-bedroom home.
“With most small, modern spaces, normally both the living room and bedroom would be on the same floor,” says Muthiah, “but this is a good example of how a small space can feel much more generous by having a mezzanine. It effectively adds another room, as well as increasing resale value.”
Dyer Grimes Architecture
Be budget friendly. Aside from the fact that building a loft is typically cheaper than converting an attic, it’s also potentially an option in buildings that aren’t suitable for additions due to planning restrictions, since the structure is internal. There may be issues with adding some types of windows, though probably not simple skylights — check your zoning regulations.
Any construction will, however, need to meet building regulations and, depending on what you’re having done, it could be wise to consult a structural engineer.
Construct a stand-alone structure … Having an attic space is not a prerequisite for building a new, high-up area in your home; there are many ways to construct a loft.
The creative approach to building a new room seen here is the work of Colm Doyle of Irish architecture firm DMVF, and it has effectively turned an uninhabitable former fisherman’s cottage into a fully equipped one-bedroom house. Previously, the 270-square-foot property had no bathroom and just two rooms. But thanks to the addition of this birch plywood box, it now has a bedroom (up the stairs), a dinky but fully equipped kitchen, a utility room and a shower room, all below the sleeping platform. The rest of the space is now all living area.
… especially in protected or listed buildings. Doyle explains why he didn’t do an attic conversion in the cottage instead. “It’s a protected structure,” he says. “It was built in the 16th century, so we couldn’t put any windows on the front, nor dormers, nor break the roofline.” Skylights were permissible and illuminate the bed area.
Brighten up your home with a new skylight
8181819915772px;”/>The beamless structure, though meticulously designed, was far simpler to do than an attic conversion or even many kinds of lofts. “There’s no steelwork in there. We designed it with our cabinetmaker as a huge piece of furniture,” Doyle says.
Consider adding living space rather than sleep space on high. This building is an old barn, and the vast space inside such structures can feel imposing when they become homes. “You don’t want all double-height space,” says Jamie Falla of Jamie Falla Architecture in the Channel Islands. “It’s almost too grand, and you’re trying to create coziness within a large space.”
Falla adds, “The use of glass is not the cheapest, but it’s about creating a visual connection.” It also allows you to borrow more light from the lower space.
MSD Interior Designer
Build over what’s already there. This bijou French library and micro lounge is another example of how a new floor area can be constructed to sit over existing rooms. Here, the
designers reduced the height of the bathroom ceiling to create space above it for a mini loft.
Part of the motivation, as well as to add living space, was to create architectural interest in a previously plain interior. The construction alone does that — especially with the monochromatic paintwork to accentuate the lines — but additional details, such as the wall niches for display, and a new window, add yet more dimension. And no space has been wasted, as the barrier doubles as a bookcase.
The stairs are particularly clever: Half of each tread has been designed to float, so as not to block the sight line.
Measure your ceiling height. Headspace, naturally, is a significant consideration. In Muthiah’s flat, which is in a 1960s building, the ceilings are a little over 15 feet high. “I think the minimum overall height you could start with would be 4.4 meters [14 feet],” he says. “Otherwise you won’t have standing space above.”
Alex Maguire Photography
Consider your light source. It’s important to work out how you’re going to illuminate both your elevated room and the newly enclosed space below. In Muthiah’s flat in the previous image, floor-to-ceiling windows offer plenty of light for both levels. In this space, however, skylights have been added on both sides of the roof to flood the mezzanine with light, while a small window brightens the area underneath.
Michelle Chaplin Interiors
Add an office. If your house or apartment has the height, and you work from home, building into the roof could be the way to get your laptop off the kitchen table and into its own peaceful area. This could also be worth considering if you don’t think there’s space for a bed or living area up there.
Colin Cadle Photography
Simply add storage. If height really is an issue, or a mezzanine would involve more building work than you currently want to do, opening into the eaves of a property with a pitched roof is another idea. You can create a lot of new storage with very little disruption or cost, and you don’t even need to have a staircase built, as a (safe) ladder is often enough.
The shoes in this example double as an interesting display, but you could equally pack lots more stuff out of sight into a newly exposed cavity like this.
Provide separation in an open-plan family living space. “Originally, this was my house,” says Falla of this raised living area. “You want a big, open-plan, family-friendly space downstairs in these sorts of homes, but it’s also good to have somewhere for parents to retreat to in the evenings, to escape from children and other frenetic chaos and noise downstairs.”
He adds, “In these open-plan spaces, the aim is still always to engage with people, so while this TV room is separate, you’re not enclosing the space and cutting it off — it’s still part of the family room, but it creates a little privacy.”
The house was originally an old barn, and Falla was keen to work in harmony with the building. His team lowered the ground floor by 2 feet rather than interfering with the roof externally to make space for the mezzanine level. They also replaced the roof’s original tie — the horizontal piece of timber that stretches between the sides of the roof to help hold it together — to allow this structure to be raised a little higher to provide more space. For strength, the new tie is steel rather than wood. “This was the biggest structural work we did,” says Falla, “and it was a flourish, rather than a necessity.”
Enhance privacy. A mezzanine floor doesn’t need to be open to the room below like a balcony if privacy is required. Here, an internal window lets in light from the space below. As already outlined, skylights are unlikely to prompt planning issues and can be used to add light if little can be borrowed from the room below. Ventilation is also a consideration.
RUSSIAN FOR FISH
Custom design a bed. This is the simple version of Doyle’s “huge piece of furniture” idea. Essentially, this combination of storage and sleeping space is a custom bunk bed, but it shows how beautifully this sort of structure can be made, and how it can blend in with existing features to look architectural rather than like a piece of furniture. This superstylish design is for a child, but what’s to stop you from commissioning a double- or king-size version for yourself? The space beneath can be used as a wardrobe or desk space or as a little reading corner.
Consider custom-made furniture for one-of-a-kind decor and style
If you’re in a long-term rental, a version of this could also be the answer if you’re short of bedroom space. In theory, you can always take it with you when you leave.
Gregory Phillips Architects
Get creative with stairs. “You’ll probably need to get building control or a structural engineer involved in most mezzanine cases,” says Falla, “but you can get away without doing a formal staircase. A parrot staircase [see image] where you step up with opposite feet, or a ladder, will benefit floor space.”
Build storage into your new stairs … If you don’t go for the ladder option, one advantage of having the excuse to build a staircase from scratch to reach your new level is that you can build storage into it.
… and add a dresser. This storage staircase has drawers accessible from the space in the lower part of the room, as well as a built-in dresser. Each storage element cleverly fits within the run of the staircase.
Consider a storage-packed sleeping platform if the height is tight. “In a lot of these spaces, people will make the new space for sleeping, and a lot of
estate agents would also focus on an extra bedroom,” says Falla. This can mean it’s worth looking at small rooms in a new light — could you effectively double the size of yours?
“Anything over 3.5 meters [about 11 feet] is a dimension where you can have a half level and then a mezzanine,” says Falla. He suggests, as he’s done in a recent project, building storage and putting a sleep space on top. Here, the bed’s platform has drawers. It’s an idea that can also work in many open-plan living areas.
“Psychologically, it will feel bigger, so you get the benefit of more space but at lower cost,” Falla says. The space may not be big enough to fit in new levels that allow standing space above and below, but you can still create valuable space. “It’s also a lot less upheaval than a loft conversion,” he says.
Tell us: Have you added a living, sleeping or storage space to your home? We’d love to hear all about it and see your photos in the Comments.
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Converting an attic into a warm residential attic
Just add meters
Converting a non-residential attic into an attic is the easiest and most inexpensive way to expand the living space of your own house or cottage. Most individual houses have a pitched roof, the design of which allows you to quickly and at low cost get at your disposal a bright and spacious room.
From an economic point of view, there is no choice. If we talk about the cost of building materials and labor costs, the construction of an attic will cost less than the construction of an additional floor, regardless of the material of the walls and the number of storeys of the house.
For the first time, the under-roof attic space for residential and household purposes was used in 1630 by the French architect F. Mansart. This attic floor under a pitched steep broken roof was called the attic.
Judge for yourself. The load-bearing wall, as a rule, consists of the main material (brick, concrete, timber, etc.), insulation and exterior finishing material. During the construction of the attic, the matter is limited to the truss structure, insulation and roofing material (interior decoration in both cases is a separate issue). And no matter how much the rafters and roofing cost, their price can not be taken into account when comparing, because even in a house with a non-residential cold attic, these items of expenditure cannot be dispensed with.
Attics can be located both in the alignment of the outer walls of the house, and go beyond their boundaries. With a slight extension of the attic floor, it is supported on the cantilevered extension of the floor lying below, and with a large extension, additional supports are created – columns, walls. From the point of view of architecture, the attic can have a triangular or broken silhouette, be symmetrical and asymmetrical, be located along the entire width of the building or only on one side of its longitudinal axis.
Attic rooms can have vertical walls or sloping – according to the configuration of the roof slopes. The second option is more unusual and brings a touch of romance to the living space. In this case, interior solutions will require a more careful approach: furniture will have to be made to order. But this disadvantage of a room with sloping walls is more than compensated by the beautiful view from the window to the rooftops, clouds and the sun.
Of course, the attic has its disadvantages
First of all, do not forget that the design of the attic itself implies the loss of usable space. Sloped ceilings reduce the height of the walls, therefore, there may be problems with the placement of furniture. In addition, with all the advantages of special roof windows, their cost is on average one and a half to two times higher than the prices of ordinary windows. In the summer, when the roofing under the direct rays of the sun can warm up to 100 ° C, it is not necessary to talk about the comfort of attic rooms without an air conditioning system.
Features of alteration of the attic
Of course, it is most advantageous to provide for the construction of the attic at the stage of choosing a house project. In addition to saving labor costs and building materials, in this case it will be much easier to carry out house communications inside – heating, plumbing, sewerage. But in practice, developers often do not follow this recommendation and leave the development of the attic for the future. If at the time of building a house, finances are running out, then this is a completely reasonable decision. In many cases, alteration of the attic does not require the dismantling of roof structures, and all work is carried out from the inside.
To build an attic, first check and, if necessary, reinforce the ceiling with wooden or metal beams so that they can support the weight of people and furniture in the attic. Of course, you will have to install a full staircase to facilitate access to the new living space. You also need to carefully insulate the roof slopes, perform interior decoration and lay the necessary communications. And, of course, provide ventilation and sufficient natural light by installing windows.
Heat under the roof slopes
Insulation of the future attic is a mandatory procedure that is definitely not worth saving. The attic loses heat more intensively than the lower floors, due to the large area of contact with the external environment. In winter, the roof practically does not retain heat, and in summer it does not protect at all from the heat. For insulation, it is better to choose non-combustible and vapor-permeable heat-insulating materials based on stone wool or glass wool. In order to avoid “cold bridges”, such plates are installed in a thrust between the rafters without cracks and gaps. Moreover, the thickness of such a heater for our climatic conditions should be at least 250 mm.
To prevent moisture from accumulating in the heat-insulating layer, a 2-5 cm thick ventilation gap must be provided between the insulation layer and the crate.
In this way, all layers of the roofing cake and wooden structures (rafters and lathing) will remain dry regardless of the weather. In addition, in order to protect the slab of heat-insulating material from getting wet in case of leaks of the roofing material, it must be closed from the side of the ventilated layer with a special waterproofing vapor-permeable membrane.
Structural elements of a residential attic
The attic floor is more susceptible to heat loss than the lower floors for the simple reason that there is no “thermal cushion” above it.
Thermal properties of the roof
It has a large total contact surface with the external environment. Therefore, for reasons of comfort and economy, effective and thorough thermal insulation is necessary.
- Horizontal battens.
- Counter rail.
- Film waterproofing.
- Vertical battens.
- Film vapor barrier.
- Interior decoration of the attic floor.
- Ventilation window.
Heat-saving capacity of the attic
The moisture content of warm indoor air is higher than cold outdoor air, so the diffusion of water vapor both through the attic roof and through the outer walls of the building is directed from the room to the outside. The outer part of the roofing is a waterproofing layer that does not pass water vapor well and contributes to the formation of condensation moisture from the inside. The consequences will not be long in coming. Wet spots and mold will appear, the thermal insulation qualities of the insulation will deteriorate, and water droplets will begin to fall from the ceiling.
Given the negative effect of moisture on thermal insulation characteristics, the insulation must be protected with a layer of vapor barrier material, positioned from the side of the room. To remove moisture that for some reason got into the heat-insulating material, a ventilated air gap should be provided between the insulation and the waterproofing layer.
Very often, non-residential attic spaces are converted into residential attics, while maintaining the existing truss system. At the same time, in an effort to minimize the additional load on the supporting structures of the building, light, low-density insulation is usually used. Under the influence of wind, the insulation is blown through, accompanied by heat removal, therefore, in order to maintain the heat-shielding characteristics of the structure, a layer of windproof but vapor-permeable material is laid on the surface of the thermal insulation bordering on the ventilated layer.
Insulation of roof coverings
Structurally, the roof covering consists of a system of rafters installed with a pitch of 600…1000 mm. The space between the rafters is filled with insulation. As an insulating material, it is recommended to use mineral wool slabs based on basalt fiber or fiberglass, which are laid in several layers. If the height of the section of the rafters is less than the required thickness of the insulating layer, horizontally arranged wooden antiseptic bars can be attached to the rafter legs. In this case, one layer of insulation is located between the rafters, and the other – between the horizontal bars.
When insulating the attic, remember that heat loss occurs not only through the coating, but also through the end wall. Therefore, the gable of the house also needs to be well insulated.
Ventilated air gap device
The width of the air gap between the insulation and the roof depends on the profile of the coating material. When using tiles, metal tiles and other corrugated sheets, the thickness of the ventilated air gap must be at least 25 mm. When installing a roof made of flat sheets (galvanized steel, soft bituminous tiles, rolled materials), an air gap of at least 50 mm thick is required. Ventilation of the air layer is carried out through the holes in the eaves and ridge.
Insulation wind protection
On the side of the ventilated air gap, the thermal insulation material must be protected with a vapor-permeable membrane. The use of vapor-tight materials such as roofing material or polyethylene film in this capacity is unacceptable! It should be noted that membranes, which perfectly pass water vapor, do not, however, let water in the liquid phase, and therefore prevent the insulation from getting wet from moisture condensing on the inner surface of the roof.
When constructing a new house, the wind protection material is laid over the rafters and secured with wooden beams. When installing an attic in an existing attic, the windproof vapor-permeable material is fastened with slats to the existing rafters
Attic vapor barrier device
polyethylene film, roofing felt or foil vapor barrier material.
Lay the fabric overlapping and seal the seams with adhesive tape. The use of adhesive tape not only ensures the tightness of the seams, but also allows you to reduce the amount of overlap to 100 mm (both vertically and horizontally), regardless of the roof slope. The film is attached to rafters or bars with thin wooden slats. Foil materials are laid with foil towards the room, and it is desirable to leave a small gap between the vapor barrier and the inner lining. In this case, the shiny surface of the aluminum foil will reflect the heat radiation coming from the room to the outside, and reduce the amount of heat loss through the attic.
Attic finishing touches
The simplest and most common way to finish walls is to cover the space between the rafters with wooden clapboard, plasterboard sheets or wall panels. The rafters themselves are most often varnished, it is better to use antiseptic compounds. The floor of the attic is also best made of wood.
Drywall because it is durable and highly resistant to moisture. In addition, it allows you to arbitrarily model the surface of walls and ceilings. Its surface can be painted with water-based or oil paint or wallpapered, after applying a layer of putty.
LSU sheet, despite its useful properties for bathrooms, pools, hallways and similar premises, should not be used. Since his presence creates, as it were, an isolated contour of the room. Breathing in such an attic is quite difficult.
Summing up, it is worth noting that the money saved in a short-sighted way, alas, can very soon be spent on unscheduled and costly repairs. If you approach the alteration of the attic wisely, then the attic will become the most favorite place of all household members.
What to consider when designing a private house with an attic
Fashion is changeable. But this does not apply to private houses with an attic. For many years they have been invariably popular with those who build suburban housing. Meanwhile, the attic is a special part of the building, and many nuances must be taken into account when designing it. Today we will talk about them, as well as about the author’s projects of country houses from YTONG – houses with an attic made of aerated concrete.
Pros and cons
Attic – living space on the top floor of the building. The peculiarity of this room is that its walls are completely or partially formed by the slopes of the sloping roof. An alternative to the attic is a full-fledged top floor topped with a cold attic. We note the main pros and cons of the attic in comparison with the cold attic.
Let’s start with the arguments against:
- A mansard roof is a complex structure, mistakes are often made during its construction. The difficulty is due to the fact that such a roof is multi-layered (the so-called “pie”). In this “pie” – vapor barrier, insulation, hydro-wind protection, ventilation gap.
Each of the layers of the “pie” must be perfectly mounted, otherwise problems cannot be avoided: freezing of the roof through leaks in the heat-insulating circuit, rotting of the wooden parts of the roof, wetting of the fibrous insulation (which is fraught with heat loss from the house, shortening the life of thermal insulation, wetting and damage to the finish of the attic room, etc. ). Therefore, the construction of the attic can only be entrusted to professionals, but even they are not immune from mistakes, especially in the case of a roof of complex shape.
- It is extremely difficult to repair the “pie” if mistakes were made during its construction.
- The area of the attic floor is always less than the area of the floor below. And there are always areas along the eaves of the roof that cannot be fully used, and this is the loss of valuable square meters. Yes, and by themselves, inclined slopes make it difficult to arrange furniture or install lamps in the room.
Photo by Pexels
If these disadvantages are critical for you, then choose projects of two-story houses with a cold attic. At the same time, the popularity of cottages with an attic is easily explained: the disadvantages overlap with the advantages.
- The attic is the decoration of the house, it gives it individuality. Dormer windows (lucarnes) look very expressive, and dormer windows located in the slope plane emphasize the difference between suburban housing and a city apartment. As well as sloping walls, which add a special flavor to the room.
- A building with a pitched roof always has a roof space, and if it is not exploited, then this is a loss of usable area.
- A country house with an attic, as a rule, is 15-20% cheaper than a similar two-story house with a full top floor and a cold attic.
However, recently the situation with prices for building materials has been rapidly changing. The cost of wood, insulation, insulating and windproof films, as well as consumables for them, has increased several times. And, for example, the price of aerated concrete increased slightly. Therefore, it is possible that in a particular case, the cost of a gas-block cottage with a full-fledged second floor will not be fundamentally more than a cottage with an attic.
You can find a professional construction company, find out prices for building a turnkey house, and also find interesting projects on the website building-companion. ru
Decided to choose a house with an attic? Then you need to carefully consider the design of the roof and the planning of the space under it. There are no restrictions on the shape of the roof. But if, for example, it is four-pitched (that is, the house does not have gables), then it is possible to illuminate the premises under it only due to the dormer windows. You will need a lot of these windows, and they are quite expensive.
Photo by Pexels
To equip residential premises under the roof, its slopes must have a slope of at least 20°, best of all – 40-60°. The smaller the slope, the smaller the usable attic area. Moreover, the slopes should be long enough so that there is enough space under them for living quarters.
Please note: only the central area of the attic floor will be functional. The lower the vertical (attic) walls of the attic, the more difficult it is to use the space along them. A sloping pitched roof is preferable in this regard: attic walls can be made higher, which means that there will be more useful space in the attic.
How high should an attic wall be made?
- Optimal – 1.4-1.5 m, with a roof slope of 40°. Then next to the walls you can put furniture, and at a distance of 50 cm from them you can move without tilting your head.
- If the height is less than 1.5 m, the room will be small and cramped.
- If more than 1.5 m, then the walls will be slightly lower than on a full-fledged top floor, and then the attic is unjustified from an economic and architectural point of view.
As for the height of the main part of the room, according to sanitary standards, it must be at least 2.5 m. retaining elements may be needed. In some cases, the supports can be hidden by integrating them into interior partitions, and in some cases they will have to be left in plain sight and played with in the interior.
A large number of support posts or trussed rafters usually do not allow exploitation of the space under the roof. It is better not to rack your brains on how to equip an attic with such a design, but immediately turn to the projects of two-story houses with an attic roof.
Horizontal ceiling beams (crossbars) have little effect on planning decisions. Such beams can be hidden behind decorative trim or left in the interior: they will perfectly fit into the style of a chalet, country, Provence or loft.
Photo by Pexels
After evaluating the constructive and useful area of the attic, you can decide how to use this space: turn it into an open space, like a studio, or divide it into separate rooms. Not forgetting that every living room needs a window.
Staircase and stairwell “eat up” usable area, especially if they are located in the middle of the attic floor. To make them take up less space, it is best to place a ladder along one of the walls. At the same time, it is worth remembering that the dimensions of the attic are smaller than those of the floor below, and the walls of the attic are sloping – all this affects the choice of the location of the stairs.
Even if you want to save space, the planning scheme of a private house should provide a fairly large opening for the stairs in order to fit into it a structure that will be safe and comfortable to move around.
There are several ways to illuminate the attic during the day:
- Windows located on gables, if the building design provides for gables.
- Dormer windows (lucarnes) – superstructures on slopes, in the front part of which there is a vertical window.
- Roof windows built into slopes.
- A combination of different types of windows.
Gable windows are optimal in terms of room lighting, convenient and easy to build. In an aerated concrete house, the pediment can be made either from aerated concrete blocks or using a wooden frame, like the entire roof truss structure. Given the current low prices for aerated concrete compared to wood prices, aerated concrete gables may be preferable.
As for the choice between dormers and dormers, it is rather complicated.
Project “Heidelberg” by Ytong
Advantages of Lucarna:
- Improves the architectural appearance of the house, “breaking” roof geometry.
- Increases the volume of the living space as it rises above the slope.
- Allows you to open windows to ventilate the room at any time of the year.
- It is more difficult and expensive to build a dormer window than to build a skylight into a skylight.
- A vertical window illuminates the room worse than an attic window of the same dimensions: the light flux will be limited by the side walls and the roof of the lucarne. At the same time, it is easier to provide a lucarne with a large window than to increase the dimensions of the roof window.
- Lucarna complicates the shape of the roof, thereby increasing the quality requirements for the design and execution of this part of the building. In particular, each lucarne involves two valleys (convergence of slopes at an internal angle) on the roof. And the valley is the risk of leaks and difficulty in ventilation of the under-roof space.
Roof window advantages:
Photo by Pexels
- Illuminates the room more evenly than the auditorium.
- Much easier to build than a roof top with a vertical window.
- In winter, when the roof is covered with snow, the roof window does not give light, and it is problematic to open it for ventilation.
- Windows located high from the attic floor are difficult to clean.
- During installation, the window structure must be correctly connected with the layers of the roofing “pie” (insulation, vapor barrier, hydro-wind protection) and correctly integrated into the roofing. But if the window is installed by workers of low qualification, this often turns into errors that lead to leaks, freezing of the roof, the appearance of condensate in its structure, etc.
A few tips for those who opt for skylights. To illuminate 10 m2 of a room, 1-2 m2 of glazing is required, depending on the purpose of the room. Based on this, select the number and size of windows. In addition, the length of the window depends on the slope of the roof: the smaller it is, the longer the window should be in order to illuminate the space well. For example, with a slope of 30º, a window with a length of 140 cm or more is optimal.
And the width of the window is determined by the distance between the rafters: it should exceed the width of the window by 4-6 cm so that there is room around the perimeter of the frame for high-quality roof insulation. Often the pitch of the rafters does not allow “fitting” a window of the width required by the customer into the roof. Then you need a combination of several windows installed in adjacent inter-rafter spans. Or you will have to expand the opening for a large window, that is, make a gap in the rafter leg and install additional longitudinal and transverse support beams. In many cases, such alteration is possible only after the calculation of the loads.
Thinking through the interior of the attic, keep in mind that the dimensions of the window opening will be larger than the dimensions of the attic window. This is due to the regulatory requirements for slopes: the upper one should be parallel to the floor plane, and the lower one should be perpendicular to it.
If the window will be located high from the floor, determine how it will be opened. It can be a telescopic rod or a more convenient, but also more expensive option – a remote control in combination with an electric drive installed on the window to open and close the sash.
You can find a professional construction company, find out prices for building a turnkey house, and also find interesting projects on the website building-companion.ru
that on the attic floor it will not be possible to fully use the space near the inclined slopes. Often, customers do not remember this and plan to place here, for example, a shower cabin or a tall wardrobe. As a result, problems arise.
A few recommendations:
- If the height of the attic wall is 1.3-1.5 m, then a bed can already be installed next to it. Of course, it will not be possible to stand up to its full height on it, but it will be quite comfortable to sleep and sit on it.
- Attic wall 1.4-1.5 m high can be fitted with a washing machine, a toilet bowl, and with a large slope of the roof – a bathtub. It is convenient to use the bathroom when the distance from its center to the slope is at least 2 m.
- A desk, an armchair, a chest of drawers, a low rack can be placed against a wall with a height of 1.4-1.7 m or more. By the way, the height of a person sitting at a table along with an armchair is on average 1.35 m, so it is often quite easy to equip a place under the slope to work at a computer or laptop.
Custom-sized built-in furniture companies offer a variety of loft cabinets and shelving options – stepped or beveled shapes to suit the geometry of the room with sloping walls. Another option is modular storage systems based on L-shaped metal racks, fixed at one end to the floor, the other to an inclined wall. Shelves, drawers, rods, etc. are fixed to the racks. If the roof has a small slope or no attic walls, then under the slopes, for example, storage systems with retractable or roll-out sections can be provided.
Many attics have a ceiling formed by horizontal crossbars of the truss system. And then a cold “mini-attic” remains between the roof ridge and the ceiling. It can also be used, for example, to store seasonal items here. To do this, you need to make a small opening in the attic ceiling and install the finished product – a folding attic ladder with an insulated hatch.
Often there is space between the attic wall and the eaves. If a door is provided in the wall, then this space can also be used for storage.
Projects from YTONG
As we have already said, today the price of aerated concrete is relatively low, which makes the material very popular. YTONG (Xella Russia) not only produces premium autoclaved aerated concrete, but also offers author’s standard designs of individual houses from this material. The YTONG catalog includes more than 30 projects of one-story and two-story houses, ranging from 37 to 297 m2. The company provides these projects completely free of charge to those who bought aerated concrete in the amount necessary to build a house according to the selected project.
There are many houses with attics in the catalog, realized in classical and modern styles. Let’s note some projects:
- “Barnhouse 2” with an area of 116.5 m2. Compact house that does not take up much space on the site. Made in trendy barnhouse style. The barn house, in accordance with the canons of this style, has a gable roof without cornice overhangs and panoramic windows that visually unite the interior space with the surrounding landscape. A massive chimney along the main façade adds personality to the project. The dominant of the first floor is a spacious kitchen-living room (29,8 m2) with a second light. On the second, attic floor, there is a private area with bedrooms. Under the large gable roof overhangs there is a terrace (14 m2) with a barbecue area.
- Marburg, 170 m2, classic German style. Laconically designed facade, gable roof, large windows that provide good natural light. Comfortable and functional layout, which provides for common and private areas. On the ground floor there is a kitchen-dining room (18.8 m2), connected by an open passage to the living room (29.6 m2). The attic floor is a place for family recreation, there are bedrooms and a children’s room.
- “Oberhof”, with an area of 187.5 m2, a Northern Art Nouveau mansion. Facades of complex geometry are complemented by a multi-level roof, with lucarnes and skylights. Rust on the corners, arched elements of the entrance area – all this makes the house elegant and memorable.