Planning loft hatch - confused by roof structure

8 May 2007
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United Kingdom
Victorian terrace - confused about roof structure!


I'm investigating how to go about putting a loft hatch with ladder into our house. It's a terrace from around 1900, two rooms downstairs, three beds up. Whole house is about 4.5m wide and about 8m front to back on the main structure. It's one house in a street of dozens of similar terraces.

Having made first investigation of the (incredibly mucky) loft I'm confused by what's going on with the structure. I expected to find joists running from front to back (i.e. perpendicular to the line of adjoining houses) with a couple of support trusses.

What I've found is two (what I'd call) Queen trusses - spaced a third of the house widthapart. There appears to be no structural wall underneath the centre of the truss.

Secondly I've found wooden members running perpendicular to the trusses - these are approx 1.2" x 3" in cross section, spaced at approx 15". What I haven't found (which I was expecting) were joists running parallel with the two trusses.

I'm looking for a sense check that I'm not missing something before I start thinking about locating a loft hatch and ladder. Any comments - this must be a common approach (given the number of such houses in the area) - it just doesn't chime with what I've read about roof structures online.

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Ha! Thanks, at least I'm not missing something.

Next question is that putting in a hatch is going to mean cutting two of the joists. Assuming i build a frame around the hatch using the same size timber as the joists is this likely to cause any problems?


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