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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see a lot of you chaps have your layouts in the loft. What are the effects of heat/cold up there as mine always seems freezing in winter and oven-liek in summer! Doesn't this mess the boards, track, buildings up?

I know that the loft can be boarded out, etc, but many photos appear to show 'stock' loft spaces with bare rafters and walls etc, so whats the reality of layouts up there?

I am musing another post-micro layout.........
 

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QUOTE (screwy @ 5 Apr 2008, 10:02) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I see a lot of you chaps have your layouts in the loft. What are the effects of heat/cold up there as mine always seems freezing in winter and oven-liek in summer! Doesn't this mess the boards, track, buildings up?

I know that the loft can be boarded out, etc, but many photos appear to show 'stock' loft spaces with bare rafters and walls etc, so whats the reality of layouts up there?

I am musing another post-micro layout.........


Hi Screwy,

You will get a lot of wide and varied comments on this one!

My layout is in the loft. There is no doubt that it gets too cold to work in the depths of winter and extremely hot in the summer. One major problem is track expansion and contraction.

I boarded my loft with tongue and groove and immediately the house below got warmer! I am planning to fit some refective insulating material on the inside of the roof, so that next winter I can put some plug-in radiators in the loft without heating the sky. I have a friend who fits windows and he has agreed to install a Velux window at 'mates rates'. This should ensure there is a cool breeze in the summer, coupled with the loft's built in ventilation. However, you have to watch out for sudden cloud bursts if you have the window right open when you aren't there!

These difficulties apart, most of the rest of the year the environment is fine, and for me, there isn't really anywhere else that I could accommodate a decent size layout. Mines about 24ft x 14ft and I hope to extend it to the full loft length of around 40ft in time.

Black 5 Man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
QUOTE (black 5 man @ 5 Apr 2008, 12:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Screwy,

You will get a lot of wide and varied comments on this one!

Black 5 Man.

I am looking forward to them! Good to see other's views on a topic, good and bad. My loft is currently insulated from the house at floor level and 2/3rds boarded out. If this project goes ahead I was planning on using the foil/bubble type insulation across the rafters to create a more stable environment, but we'll see what others say. Currently it is very hot in summer and very cold in winter, but I suspect that this is in the main due to the insulation being at floor level so the loft space is at the mercy of the seasons and prevailing external temperatures.

Other thoughts?
 

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QUOTE I was planning on using the foil/bubble type insulation across the rafters to create a more stable environment, but we'll see what others say. Currently it is very hot in summer and very cold in winter, but I suspect that this is in the main due to the insulation being at floor level so the loft space is at the mercy of the seasons and prevailing external temperatures.

I installed double sided foil / bubble insulation in June last year. The high / low thermometer shows a minimum of about 4 degrees and a max in the high 30s. My guess is that this is a narrower temperature than before I put up the foil. It has certainly brought down the high end to a level where it is bearable rather than unbearable. I think the reason for the lows still being on the cold side is because the loft is still drafty when the wind gets up. I deliberately did not want to make it air tight as it was not designed to be in the first place. My understanding is that sealing a loft that was not designed to be sealed is a bad thing to do.

One firm recommendation I would make is to choose a very stable substance for your baseboard. I am using Sundeala board but it varies greatly in size depending on the climatic conditions - humidity and so on. I have decided to replace it with plywood and will follow Richard Johnson's advice to seal it with paint before use. There was a long topic on this subject recently.

The loft is definitely a good choice if you want a large space for your railway. Anthony New's track plan for Leeds Central has given me the final nudge into looking into this as the way to go when I start relaying my track on new baseboards. The 1906 OS map for Holbeck and New Wortley arrived this morning from Alan Godfrey Maps - www.alangodfreymaps.co.uk

David
 

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The Bubble-foil will improve matters considerably, but do not take it right down to the eaves level. It is important that the space immediately under the roof is left ventilated to prevent rot and other nasties from affecting the roof timbers.

Be careful as to the degree you modify the loft. Basically modifications for storage purposes are OK but if it make the loft habitable, you could be moving into the realms of Building Regs, planning permission and potential increases to the rating of the house for council tax. As I understand it, flooring and insulation are OK, but the addition of window(s), permanent walling and the like may lead to difficulties.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 5 Apr 2008, 20:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I cant really comment on lofts, but i have my layout in the kitchine where it can get quite humid but the temperature stays pretty constant. it seems to behave itself. i think heat variations must affect layouts much more than changes in humidity.

Peter

***Hi Peter, actually not so....

The problem is the combined effect, and timber actually does move a little more than rail... it just takes longer to do it.

ie:
Summer: Timber shrinks as it slowly dries.... rail expands as it warms each day. Result, gaps close, shorts happen, rail buckles.
Winter: Timber expands as it draws moisture from the air and rail shrinks. Result, gaps widen, misalignment shows up, contact between rail sections becomes intermittent.

The solution is to paint or seal all timber no matter what type and do not fix rail rigidly to the baseboard.

Use a high quality foam underlay and fix track with high quality PVA not nails, use very thin PVA glue or copydex etc mix when laying ballast - depending on the glue used... up to as weak as 10:1. This allows some decoupling of track from baseboard or rail movement rather than forcing it to try to match them and anyway, glued track is quieter and tends to not be kinked by the pinning as pinned track often is.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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I once built a layout in the loft of a previous house. It was one of those that had a sort of A frame in the middle. It's not easy to describe but there were beams coming down from the apex to points about 8 ft in from the eaves leaving about 6ft of width inside them at a reasonable height for a layout. I pinned hardboard to the back of these beams and then took the loft insulation up and over the top of them. Dismantled it all when I sold the house, of course.

The 'railway room' was heated by the house below but insulated from the rest of the loft space. Since I went nowhere near the eaves the space outside the 'room' was still ventilated. It made the temperature variation a lot less than it had been before the alteration. I never had any trouble with the track expanding. It was a great space; I had a layout about 24 ft by 6ft which is pretty good for 00. Plenty for a double track continuous run. Only drawback was the limited headroom but I am not very tall so it was OK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again for the replies and keep them coming! With regards to planning and building regs, you're right but as I dont intend telling the government anything as it is not their business - they know enough about people as it is and any contact with their beuraucrats is always disaster - leave well alone is my advice!
 

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My layout is in the loft. The house is about 25 years old and has the same A fram rafters. They intrude into the layout but you very soon forget they are there. My roof is not insulated at all. The central heating flue provides some heat. The loft is very airy. i am amazed that card kits are unaffected by damp. this is due to the good ventilation. The main problem is heat in the summer. The rail buckled where I had failed to leave sufficient gaps. I too used Sundeala It warped badly due so I hade to screw it down firmly. On the whole very positive.
 

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My layout is in the loft.

I have a side extension on the house, and I put in stairs from one of the extension rooms, and then knocked a doorway through into the main loft. The old loft hatch was sealed up.

The main room is 18' L by 13' W and there is a 2' walkway going three quarters of the way down with one third of layout one side, and two thirds the other.

By knocking holes in the walls of both sides of the extension, which is 7' long and 13' wide, I have the trains coming in at high level, and going out at low, and coming in at low and going out at high. So a train can leave the station on the left side, come through a tunnel into the extension, and then a up a ramp and round out into the main room, where it climbs gently to the end where it turns right across a double length Metcalfe viaduct, where it then does a right turn, and down a gentle slope to go through a tunnel into the extension, where it goes down a ramp, through a tunnel back into the main room on the right hand side, it then travels down the right hand main board, swings round and back into one of the station platforms. It is a double ramp, so trains can travel in both directions. It can also travel around on the main layout which has a goods yard, and a coach depot.

I use veneered 15mm chipboard from Homebase. It is a bit more expensive than plastic covered, but it can easily be painted, and it comes in sizes from 6" to 24" wide, and 6' or 8' long. I have had it in for two winters and one summer with no problems. It is screwed down at the ends, and supported by wood along its edges.

The loft roof is just boarded with sheets of fibreboard to make it look better, and painted. (no insulation between).

The worst problem in the winter is when you get high winds. As has already been stated, you should not seal the eves. I saw a neighbours loft that had been sealed, and it was dripping with water due to condensation.

As I am retired, I can go and enjoy my layout any time. Also, I am not allergic to cold, and in the winter, just don a fleece. No heating. It is just the icy wind that defeats me. (from under the boards and across the legs)
As a tip, I found that in the winter, it is best in the afternoon, as the winter sun still has a bit of heat in it. Conversely, in the summer, it is better in the mornings before the roof has had time to heat.
I have a window in the end of the extension which gives some ventilation, and of course leaving the loft door open brings up air from the house.

Hope this helps,

AlanB
 

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QUOTE (screwy @ 5 Apr 2008, 19:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>.... With regards to planning and building regs, you're right but as I dont intend telling the government anything ...
If you make permanent alterations which need Building Regs (BR) consent but you don't get the same, you will strike problems when you want to sell the place at some time in the future, and may render it unsellable if you don't have the correct paperwork to show potential buyers. BR matters are overseen by local authorities, usually District Councils, and their Building Control officers are usually very helpful if asked informally for advice before you do anything.

Re Robert Stoke's use of hardboard, I personally would not use anything like hardboard or softboard - should a fire start such stuff goes like the clappers - I've seen it happen! Plasterboard for permanent alterations or the foil/bubble stuff for insulation is much better.

If you are planning your own house or perhaps having a flat roof replaced with a pitched one, it is possible to get alternative Roof Trusses made with a clear space in the middle. But they need heavier timber to take the stresses and are therefore more expensive.

Regards,
John Webb
 
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