Around 8 months ago I was offered an opportunity every child would wish for, an opportunity that I could not say no to, nor waste any time on beginning.
The opportunity was to undertake a relativity large loft conversion that was small on budget. But if that wasn't enough of a challenge for you then I also had to work with the internal support beams that held the roof together without removing a single one! And I was alone, No help at all. I am now 15 but was 14 when I began the conversion.
So to sum it up i was undergoing a loft conversion. But i was only making a small room.
That my friends was my EXTREME challenge!
All my 3D models and projections are made in Google sketch up
Step 1: Planning: Initial Thoughts...
So after considering how I should tackle the task, I decide to go no further without a plan.
My plan would consist of these key elements:
Budgeting costs for the materials,
3D models of the operation i was going to do,
How could I gain maximum space for minimum price,
and where and when I would buy each required material.
Shown above is a diagram of my loft space - I live in a terraced house.
Step 2: Deciding the Optimum Location
When It came to deciding where the room would go I had to think...
I wanted the room i was going to construct to have no intrusive beams visible.
So that left me with two obvious options.
Option 1 - A short wide 5m long room that was triangle shaped.
Option 2 - A Tall wide 5m long room that was triangle shaped.
Clearly the largest option was option 2 however, a downside to this option was the position of it relative to the hatch. This meant I would have to build a short hallway leading into the room.
Step 3: 3D Modeling
I decided 3D modeling would be a great idea as i would be able to toy around edit and modify the designs before making the room in my loft. I also would then have plans to work from.
I done my modeling in Sketch up.
First off i designed my loft structures and beams I also put a hatch in.
Then i began to create a room.
Then a hallway
and finally decor
If anyone would like to take a look at the models of my loft, to help you model yours then feel free.
Step 4: Planning: Calculating Costs
To work out a rough cost of the project ad how much material was required, I calculated the cost for a given area- Floor, walls and Ceiling.
Flooring pack number formula = (Length m x Width m) ÷ A
where A = area a pack of chipboard flooring covers.
Floor Cost formula = (Length m x Width m) ÷ A x P
where A = area a pack of chipboard flooring covers and P = the cost of the pack.
For example ((2.5m x 5m) ÷ 1.2m) x £6 = £62.50 (for 12.5m²) 10.416 packs*
Plasterboard number of sheets formula = (Height of wall m x Width of wall m) ÷ (length of plasterboard sheet x Width of plasterboard sheet)
Plasterboard wall cost formula = (Height of wall m x Width of wall m) ÷ (length of plasterboard sheet x Width of plasterboard sheet) x C
where C is the cost for the sheet of plasterboard
For example (2.4m x 3m) ÷ (2.4m x 1.2m) = 2.5 sheets of plasterboard* Cost = £17.50
*Ensure you round up and not down for the number of packs of flooring or sheets of plasterboard and always be sure to buy an extra sheet of plasterboard as the off cuts can sometimes end up too small to use and these are part of the area of plasterboard you have calculated.
Step 5: Tallying Up
When it came to keeping costs to a minimum there would have to be certain tolerances and prices worked out for specific room options. I broken it down into these categorys
Wood - Lengths max £20
Wood - Chipboard Flooring max £80
Plasterboard max £100
Decor (paint, Carpet, small furniture.) max £50
Insulation max £40 (Spent just £9 on this)
Here is a list of the materials I used:
12 Plaster board sheets 2400mm x 1200mm (B&Q) £7.64 each or £5.30 for more than 5 sheets - £63.60
8 packs of chipboard loft panels 1.2m² a pack (3pk) (B&Q) £7 a pack - £56
Abru 2 section loft ladders (max 2.69m floor to hatch height) (B&Q) £40 on offer
4 packs of quick plaster (local store) £6 - £1.50 a pack
Paint subtle lime green, chocolate brown and white (Already had) Free
lengths of wood (alot - Depends on your space, not actually required) Free
Loft insulation rolls £3 each (B&Q) £9
Materials Total - £174.60
Step 6: Time Scale
I made a time scale on Microsoft excel to keep track of time and when materials were to be bought.
My timescale is shown above
On week 11,12, 16 and 17 I took a break to revise for exams.
I feel the time scale really helped as it minimized trips to stores, and helped me but materials when i needed them. This prevented materials lying round and waiting for weeks to be used and prevented them being damaged.
I planned to complete the project in 17 weeks which would have happened if i didn't take breaks, but I did - and only overrun by two weeks. I also only worked max 5 hours a week due to school and essential relaxation.
Step 7: Laying the Flooring
The ladders Were fitted first off, they were extremely easy to fit, Just follow the instructions.
Before I lay any flooring down I had to secure the structure. I done this to prevent beams warping, and prevent the floorboards creaking, squeaking and having a 'bounce' in them.
I secured them by putting crossbeams in between the main supports. I secured them with 2 long screws either side. I alternated the supports 2,3,2,3,2,3 ect to give optimum support.
Picture above are how i fitted the supports In Green, the white beams are the support beams and the brown is the upper-side of the below ceiling, now covered with insulation.
Step 8: Laying the Flooring Part 2
I Proceeded to lay the flooring panels one by one. The panels are relatively easy to fit and are fixed down with 5/6 screws each. They also slot together nicely like a jigsaw using a tongue and groove pattern. The panels can be easily cut with a jigsaw or handsaw. They are designed to cover two beams width ways.
The panels are best to be lay alternately. Like shown in the diagram above (2nd Image).
The panels were lay in order identical to the diagram - 1,2,3,4,5,6 ect.
Also shown are some images taken when the panels were fitted.
Step 9: Plaster Boarding
It was time for the plaster boards to be purchased and fitted!
When I bought the sheets I got the largest ones sold, This saved me piecing up and saved on money.
I had to cut the boards down the middle width ways to fit the pieces through the hatch. This meant i had to maneuver 24 12kg boards that were 2.4m through a 60x60cm hatch. God was that a challenge.
I took a two day break after that, and had an aching body for a few days.
The plaster boards were screwed onto the beams with 8 screws a piece and were rather easy to work with.
Unfortunately I did not take many pictures during this process.
Step 10: Insulating
This step is kinda self explanatory, but the best way to do this is buy the best insulation rolls you can afford, then roll it out onto the exterior of the plasterboard, using metal wire or string and nails to hold in place. Its also good measure to insulate under your flooring.
I got my insulation from B&Q for just £3 a roll!
Step 11: Plastering and Painting
This step is fairly easy, we all know how to hold a paintbrush.
To plaster start off with a large tin with a small amount of water at the bottom, then begin to add your plaster. Mix as you add and try to get a thick consistency that will stick to your trowel and not run off. If the plaster is too thick add more water and vice versa.
When applying the plaster apply more pressure and sharpen the angle your holding the trowel at as you lose plaster off the trowel until the face is flat against the wall. This video may help, It helped me!
How to Plaster a Wall
My plaster was wall filler as I only filled in the seams and small gaps between the plasterboard. Then I painted over the whole thing, you couldn't really tell so the aesthetics weren't that compromised.
Step 12: Decor
I decided to upholster the two walls opposite as they were small, Breeze block and I wanted to add a warm cosy look to the room. I used two large sheets that were thick and heavy, so I used a hammer and nails to attach them up.
I also bought a couple of these:
For the flooring I got a carpet from a local carpet store, for £40 - 8ftx15ft
The room looks very nice and is a warm comfy space to chill out and relax in!
Step 13: Video - Thanks