finishing the attic

reeree_naturalJanuary 10, 2010

We would like to finish our walk up attic. One problem is the chimney is right smack in the middle which takes away floor space and flow of a room... has anyone else faced this? Suggestions??

Thanks, Ree

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What does the chimney serve?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 4:34PM
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the heating system... wish I knew about ventless when we had the new heating installed..little too late now.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 10:02PM
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How big is the overall space? What purpose do you want the space to serve?

We have a similar situation, but the chimney is (maybe) two thirds of the way into the space - right in the center. At first I wanted one big open space too. It is about 600 square feet. After a lot of thought, we put a partition wall in line with the chimney to create a small bedroom in the front third of the space. We put the doorway right next to the chimney, for the necessary height, and that kept the front window in line of sight with the new doorway. Since the upstairs is going to be a master "suite" (albeit a small one), we are using a bedroom door with glass panes to allow the light from the front window to flow through. Most of the time the door will be open anyway. I hated to give up the "openness", but in the end the functionality for how we want to use the space won out. Now, if DH stays up late to watch TV or gets up early to work-out, I'll be able to close the door and dampen the noise (so I can sleep!). HTH.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 10:57AM
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Does the attic have an egress window?

LInk below to International Building Code (IBC) & egress

Here is a link that might be useful: IBC egress

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 11:32AM
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Kim, it's sounds if you have the same space as we do. I would love to see pictures when it's finished. Please post some. Looking at our space, I am sure we will have to put up a partition wall to create a 'room' lots of work up there, the flooring all needs to be ripped as well..I guess it would be worth it in the long run..glad there is a bright side :)

Thank you for the code, I appreciate it!
not exactly an egress window, we do have two (very old) double hung milled together that we need to replace.. so we will do it to code no questions asked. I am not turning it into a bedroom, but more of an extension of our BR. We have a nice stairway going up there from our room. We want to take the wall down and expose it. We need to put closets for storage and clothes. The other part will be a sitting/dressing room. I think it will add charm to the BD and make it like a "bi-level" room.. just wish the chimney wasn't right in the center of the room ..Thanks to both of you! Ree

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 2:45PM
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Your situation reminds me of the story where Winnie-the-Pooh got stuck in rabbit's door. Rabbit put a shelf, doily, and vase on Pooh's hind end. I guess he figured if it was there to stay, he might as well work with it.

Perhaps you could expose the brick of the chimney and turn it into a feature? It would be a great backdrop for a really ornate mirror in a dressing room.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 7:44AM
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I have to laugh... you wrote:
I would love to see pictures when it's finished.
DH is always saying "if I live to see it (finished)!"
Seems like our upstairs rennovation is taking forever. We are maybe, 75-80% percent done. It still needs finish plumbing, casework/baseboards, one regular door, four "dwarf" doors into storage spaces and new stair treads and risers. The project has been partial DIY, and the big parts contracted out. It has been nearly 6 years now since interior demolition and the roof tear off! Total gut. Good thing we can comfortably live in the downstairs. Our available DIY time and our "save money, then contract work, then save money again for the next part" method have really caused the project to drag on and on. I think I can finally see the end now, and I will post pictures! Good luck with your own square donut space!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 12:48PM
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Yes, we also have a chimney going through the attic. It is fairly close to one side of a long space maybe 20 feet long, and the stairs enter the space across from it, so furnishing-wise, in my mind at least so long as it remains a partly renovated storage space, there are basically two connected areas up there, not one long room. I just pretend it is a full wall and put furniture against it. It's plastered, so I'll paint or wallpaper it when I get to that spot with my serial refinishing.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 5:57PM
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Attics--whether walk-up or not--were often not built to handle the higher loads of living space. Be sure you check that out before finishing the attic and dragging in heavy furniture. Even if you don't approach structural collapse, the "bouncy" floors may be unsettling.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 1:07PM
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I got a good laugh...thanks, I needed that!

I do have a picture saved from back when where the chimney is exposed , looked great..I have been thinking a long those lines... the only thing with this chimney, it's not straight up, it was built on a "stacked slant' either that or it's falling down lol!

Kim, it's truly a labor of love..tell hubby he will make it!!! :) I will be patient for pictures.. :) hang in there, it will be truly worth it when it's all finished!

Worthy, we have to rip the floors up and install new...we will not be over loading furniture, trying to keep it simple. most of our neighbors have bed rooms in theirs with a good amount of far I haven't heard of problems (thank goodness) Thanks!!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 4:07PM
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I believe Worthy is referring to the size of the ceiling joists and the span as to how much weight can be added
for the finished attic
best of luck

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 5:47PM
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I believe Worthy is referring to the size of the ceiling joist

Exactly. Now that you will be using them as floor joists, they should be sized accordingly. Since you're removing the existing floor, it will be relatively simple to strengthen them if needed.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 7:40PM
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our contractor will be doing the work, I was looking for ideas from those who finished theirs.. he's wonderful, has done a lot of work for us when it was something too big for us to do , but he always tells me "he is not a decorator" :) he just wants the plan and he'll take it from there... we were going to do this a few years back, but other things came up and it was put on hold. Finally we can go forward...looking forward to having this new space.

just wondering if any of you have a chimney that was built on a "slant" I am wondering why they did it that way??? Thanks!!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 6:25AM
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I went to the city to ask all that was involved in making a room upstairs and the first thing that has to be done (they told me) is that in an architect has to come in and certify that the foundation AND the floor joists in attic can handle the extra load. Soon as he started talking about the foundation I shyed away. I was thinking it was a matter of slapping in some insulation, electrical wires, drywall, subfloors and floors paint it and I was done. LOL I am so naive!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 12:00PM
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