Attic room advice - floors, walls and beams

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overlander matt
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Attic room advice - floors, walls and beams

Post by overlander matt » Tue 15th Jun, 2021 11:52 pm

I have finally started work on the top floor of our house which has three 'attic' rooms. My first job was to relay the lime ash floor on the landing that had broken up. Now that the access to the other rooms is safe, I have more work to tackle in each, starting with the smallest!
Attic room.jpg
Attic room.jpg (38.04 KiB) Viewed 332 times
I would be interested to know your thoughts on the following:

1) The lime ash floor is not in great shape in this room - it's cracked and very uneven but generally sound. I can't really justify relaying it and really wouldn't want to crush and relay another lime ash floor ever again! The floor does need some protection and wondered whether a thin sheet material such as ply or hardboard might help to spread the load of furniture and foot traffic under a carpet. Does anyone have any suggestions?

2) The external walls have been replastered with an insulated lime plaster. However, there's a small strip unplastered where I have been monitoring leaks around the wall plate. I think the leaks are fixed for now (that's probably cursed it!) and wondering the best way to plaster over the timber. How is this normally achieved?

3) The beams are not in great shape. I have a small section of wet rot to chop out and splice with new timber but then the question is how to finish the beams. I've deliberated over this since we had these beams dry ice blasted - although they're probably the best beams we have, there's a lot of beetle damage and I'm swaying towards filling and repainting rather than cleaning up and waxing. Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.


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Re: Attic room advice - floors, walls and beams

Post by 88v8 » Sun 20th Jun, 2021 9:53 am

Depending what furniture... presumably the greatest point loading will be a bed... some ply should be fine although as you presumably can't fix it except at the stair head, 3/8" would be better than 1/4", and 1/2" better still.
If the floor is not flat, the ply may sit up at the joins. It can be taped, but to an extent the underlay and carpet may have some work to do in presenting a flat(ish) surface.

If you feel the need to plaster that bit of wall plate - I would have feathered to it and left it bare - ye olde way was to axe over the timber to create a key. A more modern way would be to knock some small brass or stainless nails into it to give the plaster some grip. Or nail some mesh along the beam. A better way would have been to embed stainless mesh in the plaster either side so the plaster floats over the beam.... any plaster attached to the beam will inevitably crack as the beam expands and contracts with humidity changes.
There was a fashion long ago for plastering over beams, they were felt to be infra. We have the axing on a lintel, and one beam in the kitchen remains plastered with copious cracking that I have left alone for the history.

Upstairs in the bedrooms of our cottage the worm has historically been busy in the elm beams... sandblasted in the 70s and some had their frazzled top surface blasted away to reveal the tunnels beneath.
We and previous owners have not touched the beams, they remain in the bare wood.
Their condition is part of the story of the house and up there in the gods I suggest you might forego the aesthetics in favour of preserving the history.
Not everything needs to be perfect.


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Re: Attic room advice - floors, walls and beams

Post by Gothichome » Sun 20th Jun, 2021 12:41 pm

I am probably not the best person to handle this question but my thoughts. Float a cementious floor leveling slurry over the current floor and go with a minimum 3/8 tongue and groove boards, paint it a traditional floor colour. As for the rotten beam end, cope in a new piece and not try to hide it and leave the beams as they are, consider it a bit of history of the home.

overlander matt
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Re: Attic room advice - floors, walls and beams

Post by overlander matt » Wed 23rd Jun, 2021 11:25 pm

Thanks for your comments. I thought that a board covering would work best as the original lime ash floor is cracked and shows some movement - levelling screed has been applied elsewhere and doesn't look to have lasted. I have a feeling that I may well have to repair these floors in the future but it's just not something I want to consider now. Taking an old floor up, carrying it downstairs, crushing it up with a sledge hammer, mixing, carrying back up 2 flights of stairs and relaying was a lot of work for just a small landing. I think I prefer Ivor's suggestion... The floor is not very flat - in fact they're all bowl shaped which should complicate the plan for fixing the boards together.

I think I'll have to cover the wall plate as best as possible. We've had a few leaks in this region that might finally have been fixed (for now) and I'm more confident about covering it over.

Thanks again.

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Re: Attic room advice - floors, walls and beams

Post by LadyArowana » Fri 25th Jun, 2021 5:42 pm

Our wood floors were slightly uneven and had been covered in thin hardboard, then underlay and carpet. Seemed to work ok although we have gone back to bare boards for aesthetics.

overlander matt
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Re: Attic room advice - floors, walls and beams

Post by overlander matt » Sun 27th Jun, 2021 9:13 pm

Oh to have nice wooden floor boards to reveal... I think hardboard is popular with carpet fitters for covering wooden boards with gaps that would otherwise be seen through the carpet. It would work ok in our case to prevent additional wear on the lime ash below and would take the shape of the wonky floor. Ply would offer a bit more strength but might not be so flexible... Whatever I do will be one or the other. I seriously do not want to relay any more lime ash floor.

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