3rd Story Attic


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Old 09-02-22, 08:12 AM
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3rd Story Attic

My house has a full ceiling height third story attic The attic is unfished, but has a full sub floor, the walls are insulated, and the roof has radiant barrier panels (metal roof). It is large open space with nothing inside it except for the upstairs HVAC unit.

It has 6 windows...
5 of them are around 30"x60" with 1/2 of that able to open (slides up). 3 are north facing, 1 east, and 1 west. There is also a 4'x4' crawl space that goes out over the garage (where the house is only 1 story) and it has a small window facing south.

In North Texas, so I'm not too concerned about heating. For cooling; however, anything I can do to help cool the house I would like to explore. I am also concerned about high humidity in the Spring/Fall.

What I am wondering is, should I put screens on the windows during the summer and open the attic space up? What about a fan in the East and West windows, one blowing in and the other out, in order to create a cross breeze? Would using UV tint on the windows and/or UV screens be something I should consider, or will the difference be worth the effort and expense? Anything else I should consider doing or should I even be going down this path?

Bit late to help with this summer, but I do want to start planning before I find myself smack in the middle of next year's heat cycle.
 
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Old 09-02-22, 01:14 PM
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Six windows in the attic. That's a big attic.

If that is not a conditioned space then it needs to be ventilated to keep the temperature as low as possible. The problem is heat from the attic passing thru the attic floor into the conditioned floor below. Keeping the air handler and the ductwork cool is helpful too.
 
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Old 09-02-22, 03:21 PM
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Thanks! I figured opening it up and getting air to blow across that space would be the way to go.

Yup, 6 windows is a lot, but the space is over 600 sq/ft. My understanding is, the original owner was planning to turn it into some sort of kids/play room, but due to illness and such never finished. The space is even stubbed out for a bathroom and has a sub-panel setup and ready to run wire. I probably would have started finishing by now, if it were not for the fact that I really don't want to have to hull all that drywall, flooring, lumber up two flights of stairs.
 
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Old 09-02-22, 03:28 PM
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I've never been excited by finished attics. Typically they aren't designed for an easy fire egress.
A large window will allow you access to a roof.... but not a route to safety.
 
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Old 09-02-22, 11:21 PM
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I've always thought that was an issue of most all of the 2+ story houses I've ever looked at. With so many of them, if you don't install some sort of escape ladder system, the 2nd story windows are often fairly lousy points of egress all around. My rule of thumb has always been... if your teen cannot figure out how to sneak out of it, it probably isn't a very good egress.

I this particular case, none of the windows offer any good same level roof access. Three of the windows would certainly be no go... they are gabled dormers and not only sit on a very steep roof, but are near the edge. One is gable window at the end of a crawl space that goes over the top of a bonus room over the garage (those, I am not a fan of)... a 20+ foot drop onto a concrete pad and a couple of condensers. The other two are gable windows; however, the drop is only a few feet to the 1st story wrap around porch roof (most adults could drop safely, an kiddie fire escape ladder would be even better). With plenty of room to walk (~8-10ft wide) and a gentle sloop, that roof provides a number of exit points to the ground, much like any single story roof (and a permanent or drop down ladder or exit system could easily be setup at the rear of the house if one were so inclined).

That said, I love a full sized attic, finished or unfinished and wouldn't build a house without it having one (likely just partially finished with things like a sub floor and stubbed for plumbing). Unfinished attic space is fairly inexpensive compared to the rest of a house, and since I live in an area where they don't build basements, attics are a great option for extra space. Not only do they give you a tremendous amount of extra storage, they also give you a lot of sq. ft that you can easily and quickly expand into (e.g. a buddy of mine turned his master into a mother-in-law suite and built out his his attic as the new master so that he could move in and take care of in father-in-law with dementia... a co-worker turned his into a large bedroom when he found himself suddenly taking care of his newly incarcerated cousin's kids).
 
 

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