When I was a kid, we made a fort out of everything. We built a play house / fort in the woods with random stuff we found. We put together a cardboard box car, rocket ship, building, whatever. But we never had a play room to ourselves......

So, now that I have a son, I wanted a playroom or permanent fort just for him. The fun thing was figuring out where to put it and I found the perfect space, A triangular section above the dining room that is 3 feet at the highest point in the center and 11 x 14 feet overall. The problem was, to get to it, you had to crawl through attic space, over wires and open studs, and into a space with no lighting, windows, ventilation, or floor for that matter. Plus there are nails sticking through the roof sheathing..... So lets fix that.

Step 1: The Before Picture

This is what the space looked like before.
Fantastic. I new even before the last page that your son must be "new". I'd guess probably your first, as well. Congratulations. I can read the pride you have, every time you wrote "my son". I know exactly how that feels. Cool cave. Keep being a good dad.
Indeed he is my First. His name is Asher. I almost made the green foam into an A on the floor but then decided if I had another child, they might not understand why they didn't get a letter in the cave. :)
<p>omg. My son's name is Asher. you don't hear that everyday! Hope he's loving his man cave</p>
<p>It is a rather unique name. I like it a lot. Glad to hear someone else has an Asher out there. He actually doesn't know about the cave yet. It is a secret at the moment. I plan to show him when he is 3. Right now he is a bit over 2 and although he likes to climb on everything I want him to be a bit older before letting him play in there. Don't worry, he will spend hours in there shortly ;)</p>
Awesome project! I love how much planning and thought went into each aspect (i.e. insulation, ventilation, fire escape, etc.). As I was reading I suddenly thought, &quot;But what if he leaves the lights on all the time?&quot;. Lo and behold the next paragraph down you had a plan covering just that situation. <br> <br>I feel like a ladder or some kind of low structure to jump onto is a good idea for that 8' jump, but other than that I don't get all of the &quot;Oh no, fire!&quot; people. Houses are flammable, period. Matches aren't good for small kids to play with, period. This doesn't change if the foam is flammable. The wood it's attached to is flammable anyway. The important thing in any room of the house is having a good fire escape and being able to use it.
I love the project and the results, but as a foam installer, I do take issue with not covering the foam. Unless the foam company used Class A rated foam on install(doesn't appear so, Class A is almost always tinted for ease with the fire inspector) it's not up to fire code. The common requirement is for a 15 minute fire barrier. The best thing I could suggest is to add another layer of paint, making sure that it's an intumescent coating, like CP5901 INSL-X Fire Retardant Paint (INSL-X is a benjamin moore sub-brand).
Thank you for the suggestion on the paint. You are correct that in order for the code to be correct, I need an intumescent coating or even 1/2 inch drywall. But that is if I try sell the home and use the space as a selling point of usuable space. It doesn't meet the codes for a usable space in so many other ways as well, ceilings at 7 feet, HVAC run to the room, etc. It is covered by a barrier though when the little door is closed as the area below and walls surrounding have a coat of drywall. Also being a century home, the majority of the home is not up to code. With these in mind, and knowing the rest of the rafters are not coated either but connected to the crawl to the cave, I chose not to paint on the intumescent coating.
will you adopt me please ? very cool project <br>
<p>Oh I love that you built this for your son before he was even crawling haha &lt;3</p>
<p>This is too cool. Keep the kids jumping around in the attic and not on and off the <a href="http://easyhomeconcepts.com/sofas/" rel="nofollow">sofas</a> :)</p>
<p>I love that! Once I've tried to make one of [url=http://interbeds.com]bunk <br>beds[/url]but I could do it. But I love your project and everything.</p>
Great idea, you're a very cool dad!
<p>Thanks, I am trying to be a cool dad. Right now though, I am un cool if I walk out of the room to get something, or set my son down because I just can't hold him any longer. Ah, an 11 month old will do that to you :)</p>
Lol - &quot;and Bandaids.....&quot;
:) a very important item to have on hand. I should have stock options in a company by now.....
Fathers like you make the rest of us to look lazy and deadbeats! Congratulations on your project. :-)
Nice idea but as your adventures confirm this looks like a toxic play house. Apart from your comments about fire exits for your son I wonder what the foam will be giving off in the way of fumes? <br> <br>I don't want to be negative, I liked the concept, when I looked at this it looked cool, I actually thought the ceiling was some kind of paper mache or recycled cardboard of some type and the floor was the paper packing you see sometimes in the bottom of fruit boxes, made from paper pulp. <br> <br>Out of interest did you research any of these options?
As I studied Chemistry of Hazardous Materials in College, am a safety manager in real life, and have done my research into all insulation options available, I am well versed in the dangers, options, and strategies in this build. <br> <br>The foam will burn when heated hot enough, but with a torch it only smolders so the worry about my son lighting a match and causing a fire is minimal. In fact, all insulation burns at a certain temperature minus aircrete which can not be put in ceilings, and is basically talc powder when touched. If the home was to catch fire, the fumes from furniture burning, carpet below in the dining room, and paint that covers the walls in the rooms below would overcome any living thing prior to the foam ever catching fire, or even being kissed by the flames. You see, a fire code requires the foam to be covered if it is livable space. This space is not, it is a play fort plain and simple. The drywall on the ceiling below and the drywall on the outside of the closet for access do meet the code. The fire would have to break though both of these prior to getting to my son. <br> <br>The insulation used is the best insulation for a home with limited space to install it. As the rafters are only 4 inches thick, it gives about an R 28 rating, where as dense packed cellulose would be much less. At the same point, dense packed cellulose has a fire inhibitor in it but it wears off after a few years as the chemical dissolves. When this happens you now have a flammable substance in your ceiling, and have you seen how messy that stuff is? Not the best stuff to breathe in for a play area. <br> <br>The floor is foam squares like you would find in most playrooms and daycare centers. It is antimicrobial and designed for kids to play on, or for your feet in a kitchen if you have to stand for a long time. It also does not burn well but smolders. But underneath, it is backed by 1/2 inch plywood giving even a further barrier to flames. <br> <br>I understand your concern but calling my playhouse toxic is not very nice and does not fit very well with the &quot;be nice&quot; policy. Since this foam is installed in homes across the country and in open attic spaces which many store things in and kids probably play hide and seek in, I imagine it is safer than you think. <br> <br>I hope I answered your concerns and you can sleep better at night. I certainly sleep just fine and will be very comfortable with the risk I am putting my son in by allowing him to play in a space I designed to keep him safe, while building his imagination and mind.
I too, would like to be adopted. Excellent project, and thank you for adding the escape window. Too many children are lost due to being <a href="http://www.childreninfreefall.org/" rel="nofollow">trapped</a> when the unthinkable happens. If the window isn't located over a porch roof or first floor entrance, you may want to plant some soft, low bushes under it (for safety &amp; looks) and add a rope ladder your son could use to play &quot;pirate&quot; with as well as giving yourself a little peace of mind.
This is amazing, you've done a bang up job mate!
This is great! Awesome effect with the spray foam. <br> <br>Could also be used as a p[anic room incase of some emergency :-P
I had wanted to do this to my parent's crawl space when I was a kid. Thank you for showing me how cool it could have been! Well done and the best to your son!
oh this is just perfect for a kid! it's a great hideaway place to dream and imagine all sort of play...just love it...hope you win :-D
Fantastic! I appreciated the thoroughness on making sure he was safe, well ventilated, and had an escape route!
this is sooooooooo beautifulllllllllll
Dang, I am entering something in this contest but I couldn't help voting for you anyway :-) Very NICE indeed! Lucky son!
Awesome comment. This is what makes contests on Instructables so much fun: sportsmanship. Also: sweet forts.
I agree. Contests on here are fun and people are competitive but sportsman at the same time. Anytime I put an instructable in a contest, I always make sure to first not vote for mine, and second to vote for two others that I think are awesome as well. Good luck to all the entries.
Makes you wish you were a kid again.
I really admire your dedication towards your family! Top stuff!
Jeez people calm down about fires he will be fine
I didn't notice any mention of FIRE alarms, And you might Check into a Baby-Cam at amazon, they can be gotten cheap &amp; come in Wireless or Wired, helps the NERVES(YOURS) If he gets too quiet .
A smoke alarm/ CO2 alarm will be installed on the back wall when he is old enough to play in there. As they have a limited lifespan on the sensors (CO2 being less than 5 years and still be effective), I am waiting to purchase and install. We do actually have a Baby Cam in his nursery at the moment. This will likely be moved into the room when he is a bit older.
I couldn't help notice that the ridge board seems to have been cut out inbetween all the rafters. Is something else doing that duty or is it normal in that type of contruction?
The Ridge beam or board never actually existed. I didn't cut it out. When it was built, they put a small wedge of board in where they met and then sheeted the top of with whatever they had. Some boards are 12 inches wide, some 16 and some 2. as it has stood over a hundred years, I didn't want to mess with the integrity and add in the beam and take a chance of shifting things. The foam should strengthen it a bit more as well.
Just wondered. i guess with all that boarding it would be pretty solid. Your son is very lucky I hope he enjoys it.
This is so cool, Awesome job!
How much did they charge to spray the insulation?
This is an awesome idea. Does it have electrical outlets up there? I didn't see any in the picture and I was just wondering.
There is one outlet. The lights and fan plug into it. If they ever needed another plug, they could always use a grounded power strip. The wire feeding the outlet is 12-2 so it is plenty strong enough for a power strip with several things plugged in. I didn't want to have outlets though that were easily accessible for my son to stick things in.
Reminds me of batman! Go to the bat cave !!!!:p
You are a great dad for taking this amount of time and effort exclusively for your kids enjoyment.
If you havent tested this allready. then take a piece of the foam and see if it will burn. Because if it can, your son dont stand a chance if it catch fire. <br> <br>Even if this is a cool project and a great idea. It will never be aproved here. Not in the attich. Maybe some other place.
I stated earlier in a comment that I had tested the foam with a torch and it smolders, but does not burn. The hope is, if there is a fire and smoke starts to come through the fan, that my son opens the window, climbs out onto the roof and if he has to jumps 8 feet below to the ground to escape. <br> <br>As far as being approved, to a building inspector, this is storage space in an attic. To me and my son, it is a play room as long as he wants it to be. But thank you for the concern and safety advice.
Please change your thinking to something more proactive. &quot;The hope is...&quot; should be &quot;Our monthly fire drill plan is...&quot; And how about an escape ladder for that last 8 feet. There are some from 30 to 40 dollars at Lowe's and Home Depot. The trick would be attaching it without a windowsill to hang it over. The escape plan and drill is not complete without having and reaching a designated Meeting Place, such as a tree or street light, a safe distance AWAY from the house. The fire drill will be fun, too!
Oh, my son will be sick of fire drills. As a safety manager, I designed and implemented an emergency action plan for my company. My son will have a plan tailored to him. The hoping statement is because he is 4 months old. Eventually, when he is old enough to be in there himself, we will have a plan of action. Part of his plan is learning to open the window, and lift it out of the track to gain full access to the roof. With a flat roof on the back of my home, I can put a very nice ladder in place for safety, and for me to get on my roof for putting up christmas lights.
Awesome project, A+ Project and A++ DAD!
Glad you like the project. I hope my son isn't claustrophobic when he gets older. :)
Great Project!! As the Father of two boys I know how badly they love forts and having places to escape to. <br>Check out Fort Friday on http://www.allfortheboys.com/home/tag/fort-friday <br> <br>You might want to consider splattering white paint on your black foam and adding a couple of black light tubes!! My little guys love their star ceilings! <br> <br>Sounds like your guy is in for a lot of fun!

About This Instructable




Bio: I work as a safety and health specialist for the NEORSD (Sewer district). I don't get to touch a tool on the job as ... More »
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