Loft "braces" ?

20 Sep 2015
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United Kingdom
I am an enthusiastic, reasonably competent DIYer, with a passion for only spending money on what I have to. I have a dormer bungalow and either end of the house has eaves space which you might refer to as loft space. It is walk into space with some floor boards that have been installed at the immediate access area. Beyond this first 6 feet of immediate access area, it looks like any other loft with the ceiling beams visible and the 4 inch rockwool insulation between these, (1970s house). I am looking at trying to make the space useful/convert it. However, I am unsure about some vertical pieces of wood, ( it is skirting board ) that has been placed at various points around this eaves space between ceiling joists and roof rafters. There are also a couple of areas where the breeze block walls have been extended in to the eaves space and up to the rafters. All in all these things all look like they are in place to support the roof or stop it from rattling in the wind. I will install insulation between the rafters and cover it all with further plaster board covered insulation to give me a total of 100mm Celotex insulation and a plaster board ceiling in this area. But before I consider what I can do with the floor and walls, I would like to know what I need to do with these vertical pieces of wood. Thanks, in advance, for your advice.
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If they are skirting they are very unlikely to be for the roof, they are more likely to be stopping the ceilings below from sagging.

Ours had them roughly half way accross a 3.5mtr span which had 3x2 ceiling joists.
As 1990 says they are frequently put in as temporary measures to keep the ceiling joists (which are actually part of the roof trusses) level between the time when the roof is installed and the dividing stud or blockwork walls beneath it are erected. Hence the use of "any old tat" that the carpenters had lying around to make a temporary solution
So are you saying that they can now be removed ? 1990, you said that yours "had them". Have you removed them ? Maybe you converted your loft space and did it as part of that project or maybe you just removed them as JobandKnock says, as they were temporary during the house being built. I would like to remove them but don't want to create sagging ceilings as a result of doing so.
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I removed them as part of a loft conversion so replaced the 3x2's with 8x2's.

To be honest there wasn't much useable space beyond them anyway. They were attached to the purlin which is about a meter high so anything beyond that would be crawl space.
So are you saying that they can now be removed ?
Not exactly - especially as you haven't posted any pics. If I were looking at the job I'd need to check that the ceiling below was adequately supported (i.e. with the rafters resting on top opf the walls of the floor below) first. Maybe a couple of pics posted here would help sort out the confusion.
Better late than never.... I am still looking to do something with my loft space. I take the point about the crawl space, but its the larger pieces in the middle that are preventing me progressing. I have attached a pic to help the response. Thanks again
Same response. They are probably stopping the ceilings from sagging.

If the ceiling joists in the room below are 3x2's they will be no good for making the space useable.
They are ceiling hangers, you will need to support the ceiling below in a different way or it will sag. Usually strengthening existing joists (new joists screwed on top) or sistering - new deeper joists laid alongside and screwed to existing. Before you know it you'll have a new loft conversion!
Thanks both. cdbe, you mention strengthening existing joists. Do you mean fixing same size timber as/to existing joists in the same plane, or at right angles with fixing brackets or something different ? Also, given the crawl (storage ?) space already mentioned, would I only need to strengthen the existing joists where I am looking to create actual "room" space ? Would this option or the "sistering" option require a full set of additional joists or would alternate strengthened joists suffice ? Thanks again.
I believe any arrangement will work to a greater or lesser extent. How much strengthening will be determined by the existing loading, the additional loading (including flooring), the span (with the hangers removed), possibly whether the loading is in the centre of the span or round the edges etc.

Your options are:

An engineered solution - pay an SE to calculate the above and produce a suitable design.

Put in new flooring standard joists next to the existing (sized using standard span tables).

Fix what you think will do the job - alongside or on top of (directly or perpendicular to) the existing joists, load it up and see what happens - will probably be fine for your Christmas decorations.

I knew I would be putting a lot of weight in my loft - in addition to the usual domestic stuff it's my diy graveyard - lots of spare tiles, a couple of cast iron boilers, some glass walling blocks etc etc. I installed new 8x2 joists, in my case because I dropped the ceiling (and they had 50mm of deflection) I completely replaced the existing joists.



Think about insulation: you should have 300mm of rockwool or equivalent in celotex - I have 100mm celotex under and 200mm rockwool between the joists. And it may not be the best idea to try and insulate or underboard the rafters.

You also need to think about access for big joists but you can always remove a bit of tile and felt and slide them in through the roof.
The Christmas decorations option is not an option for me as I want to use the space as another room. I have actually started to put 50mm Celotex between the rafters, leaving a 50mm gap to the roofing felt, ( rafters are 4x2s ) and plan to cover the 50mm Celotex and the rafters with a further 50mm of insulated plasterboard to create the ceiling for the additional room. The replacement joists sounds like major surgery as, I guess, I will need to remove the current 3x2 joists to replace them with the 8x2 joists. I will look at it and come back if I have any further questions. Thanks again.
you surely don't mean you want to have a loft room conversion that is not compliant with Building Regulations?
Ah, so I am missing something then ? Please feel free to educate me. That is, I believe, one of the purposes of the forum.

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