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Some questions about a historic loft conversion!

Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2021 1:25 pm
by bigi
I'm hoping some of the experts here can give me some guidance about a few issues with our recently bought home!

The house has a loft conversion done in 1987 by Econoloft - looking at the paperwork, it was all done with building regs approval etc - although think it was a "Friday job" as the walls and joists don't run straight!

When we moved in someone had installed a full height shower cubicle at the far end of the room(!) this had leaked and rotted the chipboard floor and wall - thankfully not the joists though. All the damaged flooring and wall was removed, during which i noticed the floor joists where not as per the floor plan i have... Essentially they are meant to be running across the loft, nailed to hangers that are attached to a joist bolted to two RSJs spanning the length of the room. however, around a thuird of the way into the room in the middle, the old airing cupboard/immersion heater was housed, so pipework runs diagonally from the outside corner of the loft to this area and drop down. Although the immersion and header tank etc have now gone, there are still hot and cold water lines running through here. instead of having the pipework routed round, they have done a bit of a heath robinson job on the joists - consisting of a few diagonal pieces of joist running alongside the pipework, nailed or using hangers to attach to standard mounted joists, or to the perpendicular joist that has been fitted between 2 standard dimensions joists, capping off the two joists that have been altered. ive added an extra hanger on one of them as it didn't look secure, question is should i leave as it, on the basis that it's survived since 1987, or should i reroute the pipework and change out the two joists for "proper" ones? the floor is chipboard and has some bounce anyway, but not too bad.

Second question - the end wall is the gable end which has the chimney running up to one side. when the loft was built, they erected a stuf wall in front of the widest part of the chimney stack, losing around 400mm off the floor space. (the chimney is 300mm for the first 500mm, then reduces down to 2090mm depth up to the ceiling line). I want to have a window installed in the gable end to get some more light in, and therefore want to drop this stud wall, and take the room out to the cavity wall; making it easier to cut the window in and also so I can mount my speakers and hifi on something more solid than a bouncy chipboard floor or a badly built stud wall...

I've spoken to building control - they said as long as the wall isn't load bearing, doesn't affect the stairwell or stairway, then crack on. they have also said that as the window i am talking about having (around 1m x 1-1.5m wide), and the wall isn't supporting, they will just accept a building notice application, and as long as the opening is supported with a catnic lintel, we're all good there (of course the window will be obfuscated, and the wall is about 5m from boundary).

The original walls and ceiling use 9.5mm foil backed plasterboard, with rockwool between the studs and rafters. they have used wide "bands" of boarding on the back to hold the rockwool in place. What would be the best approach to move the wall back - should i stud the gable end wall and put rockwool in and screw vapour barrier board on, or something else? also, is rockwool a good idea in the roofline? Also, the last joist is approx 4-450mm from the wall; my thought was to bolt a similar size (7"x2") beam to the cavity wall using anchor studs, and extend the chipboard flooring across to there. nothing will really be on there anyway, but thought that would make sense.
Finally, the chimney stack has been very roughly rendered upto about 2/3rds of the way up, would i be best re-rendering to make it tidier, or dot and dab some board round it...or something else and do i need to worry about heat if every used (unlikely as my next job is trying to get permission from the mrs to remove the d/s fire for a media centre...)

Apologies for so many questions in one go - i'm more than happy cracking on with this, but wanted some expert opinion first :)