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HI ALL
. i have recently started to build and fit the 12 basebords for my 30' x 8' layout of crewe (roughly
) in my loft i have built "knee walls" (open, not boarded) along the length of my loft either side which obviously go ceiling joists upto rafters. these walls are basically a wooden frame screwed at every joist/rafter along the full length of the loft. these do not run into the end walls. the floor joists are supported by many internal solid walls.

i have then ran a 2x2 half way up the knee wall the full length. (my baseboards sit on this with legs every 4' at the front)

my baseboards are each 2x2 framework with 9mm ply on top (21" x 8', i will need 9 of these 1 cut in 2 to fill odd sized gap at end to make 30' long) and 2 baseboards (11"x 8') for widening 16' of layout on 1 side.

there is going to be 1 baseboard across each end of the loft with another 3 and a bit down the length, each side. i will be coming off 2 of these 8' boards again on 1 side of the loft with 11" x 8' framed baseboards for the bit of extra width req'd for the station itself and approaches.

what worries me is.... the boards are spread over solid internal walls and over many joists and thats great, but by sitting all these quite heavy baseboards on the knee wall, is all the weight adding up on the knee wall making 1 big weight that is spread over a number of joists but my be pulling down too hard on the roof and pearling or somthing that could end in a disaster
there were actually cracks in the blocks under my pearlings before i started and they havn't got any bigger and no cracks in ceiling plaster ect whatsoever, but it has got me worried about weight majorly after fitting just 4 baseboards. i am a bit worried that this is going to be too heavy to do it.

i have a traditional roof with a massive pearling each side that runs into the wall from 1 end to the other, it is joined by what i call "z" overlaps, (overhead view of pearling join would look like a z) , i have screw plated over these joints to sturdy them up and i have braced the rafters together over my head and braced all the joists together before boarding the floor, havn't put bigger joists in because its well supported by breezeblock walls throughout the length. i have 4 v's from the pearlings to the top of internal walls along the 30' length that i havn't moved and all does seem really sturdy when i'm up there, no flexing etc in the floor at all. do i carry on haha??

i work with brickies and joiners as i am an electrician and have consulted a few, they say it will be fine but they havn't picked up 1 of my baseboards
plus what happens when all the wood expands in summer??

i have 64 sets of points, 100 lengths of bachmann flexi 00 (which is great n/silver track for the money may i add, rails of sheffield is the cheapest by far at £157 for 100) and 150 4mm cork tiles raring to go.

i have had 2 previous layouts (not of this grand scale) and had to throw the lot away when i've moved and it no longer fit anywhere so this time i'm not ballasting track and i'm corking the whole of the baseboards (more weight)
so if i move ever, i can just modify some of my boards to suit the space and relay the track as a whole new layout without having the expence of wood. i will mount the track on the cork and all scenery will be by removable self mounted dioramas as far as posible, tacked down on top of corked base. some pva and powders will be used to blend it all in, but as little as possible so it is all reusable if req'd in the future.

this layout itself is semi permanent as it will come apart in baseboard sections by simply cutting the 5" track sections spanning joints with a dremel and unplugging the boards from each other. chose to span baseboard joints with short track so theres no alignment hassle as its hot then cold in the loft causing some warping which is unavoidable, also 4 or 5 lenghts of flexi would repair it if i then sold it to a club.

the layout has 2 running lines (north and south) and a branch line (chester) which will run at a hight of 3" after out of crewe going to a terminus. the crewe side of the layout is finalised but i have numerous ideas for the other side still. e.g. all storage both sides of chimney or goods yard 1 side and storage the other. also where to put small terminus station (chester) mmmm?.
my version of crewe has a 5 line 20 loco capacity diesel depot to the south of the station and a 3 line 9 loco capacity heritage centre to the north. may add siding for an apt display???. i need at least 6 storage sidings per main line to feed the layout. if you know crewe as i do (15 mins away) then you'll understand i'm hardly being exact really in this layout. ive lost platform 2 bay and the through line and siding between platform 11 and 12 due to width to include them, but the rest is basicall there including 2 running lines through between platform 5 and 6. it will give me the feel of crewe at least and will have canpies/road over station etcm n. and plenty of monuvers i can make when running it. it will be based around 1990/91 to suit my 30 odd lima loco's and trains i have collected over the years. all of which i know ran though crewe at some point. i just need to know i'm not going to pull the roof in and i'm away. the only thing i havn't got is enough seep point motors and signals haha.

it will be in isolated sections round the layout.

the station side of the layout will be off 1 controller that i control along crewe side of layout, the other half of the layout will be set at a speed off another control making it basically automatic for that half with manual switched isolating sections to stop trains/start other trains from the storage sidings by flick of a switch. this makes me send a train out of crewe down the right lines (no cheating, and also makes it easier to control alone). the branch line will be via a manual controller from platform 9 crewe to platform 1 of small terminus for my running control, but if i'm busy elsewhere on the layout platform 10 crewe will run to platform 2 of small terminus as a shuttle unit automatic back and to. i will make the automatic trains stop in the headshunt of platform 2 terminus i.e. put the diode just past the run round points. making me able to still manually run round trains at that terminus end from the manual control or run alternate trains up and down manually by simply turning off the shuttle timer and control by a switch.

hope this makes some sense haha. wish i could post actual layout my plans here to show you all my ideas properly. it all comes down to making it safe as well as amazing in the end.


any ideas over my layout are welcome.

thanks.
 

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Without seeing some pics it's not that easy to advise, but IMHO if you have a well constructed house then you should not have too many problems.
 

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I have a scalextric track on one side of my loft space and my railway on the other. The scalextric track tables are much heavier and I have to climb on to it to rescue off cars and for scenery fixes. The table is fixed to the wall so only one side rests on the loft floor. I've asked the wife to watch the ceilings whilst I've been in the loft and with normal walking the ceiling doesn't flex.

If you have a look at my blog, you can see where I've fixed part of the layout to the wall and although the hidden lines tables have legs to the floor they are also mounted with beams across the rafters to the uprights (not sure what they are called) Only the "in field" tables will be on the floor and I'm making these tables quite light because I also want to be able to save the track if we move (the scalextric track is fixed so will have to be destroyed completely when we move
)
 

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If you are unsure about the weight, take a look at how the water tank(s) in your loft are supported. Water is not light; I can't remember the weight off hand but a decent size cold water tank is going to weigh a fair bit. If the only precautions for supporting the tanks are to spread the load across several rafters, then all the other rafters should be able to support a similar weight. You would be going some to get layout and baseboards to amount to the same weight as the water in your tanks. If you are really concerned about the baseboard weight, maybe switch the tops to plywood.

This is just a suggestion to help you assess whether or not you will have a problem. Only a structural engineer can really tell whether or not what you have done is ok.

David
 

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Water weighs 10lb/UK gallon or 1kg/litre.

It sounds as if you live in a house built some time ago with traditional construction, not the lightweight prefabricated roof trusses of recent years. So it's likely you will be OK as the traditional house is usually well 'over-engineered' but if you want to be reassured then as others have said, contact a structural engineer.

Wish my loft was as big as yours!!

Regards.
John Webb
 

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Before we moved back to Scotland I had a large layout in my loft. The roof was of conventional construction - what I did was to break the baseboard framing off the pearlings and support on the insides with 2x2 uprights. The whole lot was 3/4 chipboard supported by 2x2 framing at 4' intervals which I found was sufficient.

In fact the railway baseboard actually strengthened the roof rather than the other way round. It was 4' wide on one side of the loft and 2' wide on the other plus 2' wide at the ends.

I don't think you will have any major problem if your roof is of traditional construction.

My current loft layout is simply 3/4 blockboard on shelf supports 1' wide as our current loft is boxed with 2x2 uprights supporting the rafters as there are no pearlings as such on our roof. Scottish Roofs are all 'sarked' i.e. lined with tongue and grooved boards before the felt and tiles/slates are put on.
I shelved the whole loft on both sides attaching the shelf bracket supports to the uprights, originally for storing my books and photo albums - the model railway grew on the top shelf!
 

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thanks for the input.
i have no water tank in my loft and there is no evidence up there of where it used to be. i have a combi boiler, so no tank. this is a good point though because there would have been 1 at 1 time i'm sure and it would have been heavy as people mentioned. occasionally my end wall at the end i've fitted my baseboards "tinks" when i'm in the bedroom. this could possibly be expansion/contraction of the wood up there causing this noise but knowing there were cracks under my pearlings before i started at that end makes me think "is that a normal noise or is it under stress". maybe i'm just being a bit paranoid and maybe it did that before but i never noticed.

i have thought of putting extra v's from the pearling to the internal walls near my end walls to try to take some weight off the end wall that the pearling sits on, another idea is to prop the pearlings with acroprops and reblock under the pearlings with solid blocks rather than breeze blocks. this would mean the pearling would probably have to settle again which could again make things move or crack again. mmmmm. i need to get a couple of lads from work in i think. at the end of the day i just want to be safe rather than sorry. peoples explanation of their boards and lofts is encouraging and takes a bit off my mind that others have "gone big" in their lofts with no probs. as i say, i wish i could post my layout plans for you all to assess.

i have read that traditional lofts are over engineered so its good to hear people here agree with that. maybe i'll sleep a little easier tonight haha. i too have jumped up and down a bit up there while my girlfriend listened out for noises etc haha. she says its obviously all o'k because there are no cracks in the plasterboard on the ceiling. maybe she's got a point i think there haha. its the end wall that worries me. if that went then the pearlings would drop at 1 end and the roof would come down like a domino rally. i have dreamt of that scenario and it wasn't good haha.

thanks.

as i say, all thoughts are greatly appriciated.

cheers.
 

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You should talk to your local council about converting your loft for a model railway layout. The work will need to comply with the Building Regulations which came into force on 1st of October. I notice that you're in Cheshire. This guide may be of help: http://www.escheshire-bldgcontrol.gov.uk/
Costs about £311.00 if I read the schedule right. http://tinyurl.com/5khnyr
I wouldn't advise going ahead without asking as the fines can be extremely large. £5000.00 to start and then £50.00 a day until the work complies with the regs. You could also have problems when you sell your house. http://tinyurl.com/62peug
 

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I reckon it's a fair bet that there are many, many lofts unofficially converted to railway rooms & beyound. probably the total costs of building regs approvals would approach, or even exceed the costs of a decent shed.

As regards "problems" when selling the house all you would have to do is return the loft to its original state.

The fines quoted are the maximum that could be possible .
 

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I think the decision as to whether or not building regs are required will hinge on access to the space and how it is used. If the access is by stairs, you're going to need building regs. If by ladder, it will then go on to just what you put up there. My guess is that if you keep the "creature comforts" to a minimum, you're probably ok. So no easy chair, TV, computer, fridge, etc, etc. in other words more "monk's cell" rather than "prince's retreat".

David
 

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QUOTE (allenmaiden @ 1 Nov 2008, 14:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>HI ALL
. i have recently started to build and fit the 12 basebords for my 30' x 8' layout of crewe (roughly
) in my loft i have built "knee walls" (open, not boarded) along the length of my loft either side which obviously go ceiling joists upto rafters. these walls are basically a wooden frame screwed at every joist/rafter along the full length of the loft. these do not run into the end walls. the floor joists are supported by many internal solid walls.

i have then ran a 2x2 half way up the knee wall the full length. (my baseboards sit on this with legs every 4' at the front)

my baseboards are each 2x2 framework with 9mm ply on top (21" x 8', i will need 9 of these 1 cut in 2 to fill odd sized gap at end to make 30' long) and 2 baseboards (11"x 8') for widening 16' of layout on 1 side.

there is going to be 1 baseboard across each end of the loft with another 3 and a bit down the length, each side. i will be coming off 2 of these 8' boards again on 1 side of the loft with 11" x 8' framed baseboards for the bit of extra width req'd for the station itself and approaches.

what worries me is.... the boards are spread over solid internal walls and over many joists and thats great, but by sitting all these quite heavy baseboards on the knee wall, is all the weight adding up on the knee wall making 1 big weight that is spread over a number of joists but my be pulling down too hard on the roof and pearling or somthing that could end in a disaster
there were actually cracks in the blocks under my pearlings before i started and they havn't got any bigger and no cracks in ceiling plaster ect whatsoever, but it has got me worried about weight majorly after fitting just 4 baseboards. i am a bit worried that this is going to be too heavy to do it.

i have a traditional roof with a massive pearling each side that runs into the wall from 1 end to the other, it is joined by what i call "z" overlaps, (overhead view of pearling join would look like a z) , i have screw plated over these joints to sturdy them up and i have braced the rafters together over my head and braced all the joists together before boarding the floor, havn't put bigger joists in because its well supported by breezeblock walls throughout the length. i have 4 v's from the pearlings to the top of internal walls along the 30' length that i havn't moved and all does seem really sturdy when i'm up there, no flexing etc in the floor at all. do i carry on haha??

i work with brickies and joiners as i am an electrician and have consulted a few, they say it will be fine but they havn't picked up 1 of my baseboards
plus what happens when all the wood expands in summer??

i have 64 sets of points, 100 lengths of bachmann flexi 00 (which is great n/silver track for the money may i add, rails of sheffield is the cheapest by far at £157 for 100) and 150 4mm cork tiles raring to go.

i have had 2 previous layouts (not of this grand scale) and had to throw the lot away when i've moved and it no longer fit anywhere so this time i'm not ballasting track and i'm corking the whole of the baseboards (more weight)
so if i move ever, i can just modify some of my boards to suit the space and relay the track as a whole new layout without having the expence of wood. i will mount the track on the cork and all scenery will be by removable self mounted dioramas as far as posible, tacked down on top of corked base. some pva and powders will be used to blend it all in, but as little as possible so it is all reusable if req'd in the future.

this layout itself is semi permanent as it will come apart in baseboard sections by simply cutting the 5" track sections spanning joints with a dremel and unplugging the boards from each other. chose to span baseboard joints with short track so theres no alignment hassle as its hot then cold in the loft causing some warping which is unavoidable, also 4 or 5 lenghts of flexi would repair it if i then sold it to a club.

the layout has 2 running lines (north and south) and a branch line (chester) which will run at a hight of 3" after out of crewe going to a terminus. the crewe side of the layout is finalised but i have numerous ideas for the other side still. e.g. all storage both sides of chimney or goods yard 1 side and storage the other. also where to put small terminus station (chester) mmmm?.
my version of crewe has a 5 line 20 loco capacity diesel depot to the south of the station and a 3 line 9 loco capacity heritage centre to the north. may add siding for an apt display???. i need at least 6 storage sidings per main line to feed the layout. if you know crewe as i do (15 mins away) then you'll understand i'm hardly being exact really in this layout. ive lost platform 2 bay and the through line and siding between platform 11 and 12 due to width to include them, but the rest is basicall there including 2 running lines through between platform 5 and 6. it will give me the feel of crewe at least and will have canpies/road over station etcm n. and plenty of monuvers i can make when running it. it will be based around 1990/91 to suit my 30 odd lima loco's and trains i have collected over the years. all of which i know ran though crewe at some point. i just need to know i'm not going to pull the roof in and i'm away. the only thing i havn't got is enough seep point motors and signals haha.

it will be in isolated sections round the layout.

the station side of the layout will be off 1 controller that i control along crewe side of layout, the other half of the layout will be set at a speed off another control making it basically automatic for that half with manual switched isolating sections to stop trains/start other trains from the storage sidings by flick of a switch. this makes me send a train out of crewe down the right lines (no cheating, and also makes it easier to control alone). the branch line will be via a manual controller from platform 9 crewe to platform 1 of small terminus for my running control, but if i'm busy elsewhere on the layout platform 10 crewe will run to platform 2 of small terminus as a shuttle unit automatic back and to. i will make the automatic trains stop in the headshunt of platform 2 terminus i.e. put the diode just past the run round points. making me able to still manually run round trains at that terminus end from the manual control or run alternate trains up and down manually by simply turning off the shuttle timer and control by a switch.

hope this makes some sense haha. wish i could post actual layout my plans here to show you all my ideas properly. it all comes down to making it safe as well as amazing in the end.


any ideas over my layout are welcome.

thanks.

***Relax and enjoy building it! structurally, if the construction work uses reasonable/correct materials and fixings.... you will have absolutely no problem.

IE: if the knee wall etc is apropriately built with adequate studs and is also0 fixed properly at both its top and bottom plate both the rafters and floor joists will actually be sharing the load and in fact very lightly loaded by the layout...

Think of it this way... because the overall layout load will be distributed over its length/area the "per square foot pressure" of the layout will effectively be MUCH less than that of a single person standing or walking in the loft!

Even more so if you have a solid floor.

Regards

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
i looked into this a little before starting. my loft has a loftladder and unboarded knee walls so it is officially for storage only. as it has a layout it could be classed as habitable space but i get away with it as the boards are only to create storage space underneath haha. i just so happen to have put a layout on the top instead of storing boxes on it and i am never up there long if anyone asks haha.
trouble may occur if somthing collapsed but this is why i am trying to be sure that doesn't happen beforehand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
cheers richard, any idea what this pinking sound could be though in the wall? they are hollow breezeblock and it gets me a bit paranoid haha.

cheers.
 

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Hi Allan. I would suggest you check the beams accross the floor of your attic, the older houses that others have mentioned were over engineered with 8"x2" or 6"x2" which are extreemly strong and should be adequate especially when thay have supporting walls.
Call in at your library and check the DIY books that have sections on conversions etc. Many give you practical advice on converting attics. You should find enough info to confirm any doubts you have. I do not at all think you have any need to involve your council's Building Control as you are not making any structural changes, Building legislation is quite strict if you wish to use a loft for living/sleeping etc.
Cheers Dave.
 

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Hi Allan, Following up on my reply a few minuites ago.
I have just searched for LOFT CONVERSION on Google where I am sure you will find a lot of info you need!
Dave.
 

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QUOTE (allenmaiden @ 1 Nov 2008, 23:48) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>cheers richard, any idea what this pinking sound could be though in the wall? they are hollow breezeblock and it gets me a bit paranoid haha.

cheers.

***Not really, however in adding all the bracing you've changed the way it can react/flex a little so its probably just re-settling itself a wee bit - Or as you surmise simply reacting to temp changes/humidity changes.

Given your comments about how you went about it, I'd not worry - just enjoy the railway.

Richard
 

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they're only 4x2 joists but are supported well by solid walls underneath with no big spans unsupported, so decided to just brace them together before boarding. i have actually ran a 2x2 across the joists ontop of the floor which the layout legs are fixed down to. this again strengthens and pulls things together for the floor. the floor is definitely rock solid. the joists are only about 25" apart for the whole length of the loft so theres plenty to distribute the weight there. its the roof and pulling on the pearlings which may put pressure on the end walls i'm more worried about.

thanks.
 

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I think you are worrying unnecessarily..you sound as if you have strengthened the loft. These lofts must stand a 0.5 meter snow which quite a few Tons!!! Also the point is that this is a temporary layout otherwise involving the council will only increase your council tax needlessly. A problem that I encountered was a 'bounce' in the ceiling below...this could be countered with vertical stiffeners screwed in place. Enjoy and relax in your hobby!!
Phil :)
 
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