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The attic is essentially a lofted space, it spans across the middle of the space where the roof pitch allows enough head height to be usable.  It will be accessed via a rather steep staircase which is above the staircase leading from the first to the second floor.  To make the attic feel lightweight and elegant, we used a PSL (parallel strand lumber) beam to support it.  This beam is an engineered piece of wood (see detailed shot in this slideshow).  Essentially it’s like a plywood beam. I like the layered construction of it, and therefore I will expose it within the space (as opposed to painting it or wrapping it in sheetrock).   It’s dimensions are 5 1/4″ x 14″ x 22′-0″ and probably weighs 500 pounds or more.  Rather than using a crane, the framers had 6 guys lift it into place by hand.  This was quite an impressive thing to watch at 7am on a Thursday morning.  The beam spans from the closet core in the middle of the house to the outside wall.  The attic joists (floor framing) will then sit on this beam and they will be exposed (no sheetrock) to view from the living room.The beam was made 5 1/4″ wide (as opposed to 3 1/2″) so that the attic joists could have there ends aligned so that when seen from below in the living room, it looks like the attic joists are continuous 32′ long pieces. The joint between the two joists is a little more visible than I expected but perhaps this can be tinkered with when we get to the final touches.    I will be using 5/4 (1″ actual thickness)  reclaimed heart-pine flooring up there.  The extra thickness (as opposed to 3/4″ flooring) allows the attic joists to have wider spacings which gives the whole floor assembly a “lighter” expression.

The roof rafters are 2×8’s.  They look nice and lightweight, and they were installed so nicely that it’s tempting to leave them exposed on the inside.  However, I need insulation up there, so without using exterior insulation board, Im not sure if that will be possible.  In that scenario, I would install (2) layers of  4×8 sheets of 2″ insulation on top of the roof sheathing, and then the roof would have to be screwed down through the insulation. The screws would have to be at least 6″ long, and would significantly increase the cost of materials.  The insulation boards are also more expensive than spray foam or batt insulation.  Without sheetrock at the underside of the rafters,  it would also make the roof framing susceptible to fire.  Maybe I’ll do that on the next project and think it through ahead of time.

After two weeks of rain, and a bit of construction shock, it seems we’re back on track.  The builder’s have started protecting the lumber by lifting it on blocks and covering it with tarps.  Most of the framing mistakes have been corrected.  Next week we begin building the Studio building and porches.

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