Author Topic: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?  (Read 10366 times)

dizzean

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How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« on: April 30, 2013, 12:45:10 PM »
My wife and I bought our house a year ago and we are now at the stage where we would like to improve the inside (it was a foreclosure).

We bought a 1.5 story because we really liked all the room/storage space that it has.  What we didn't know about the .5 story was how difficult it gets when it is your master bedroom.  It gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

There appears to only be 1 vent up there as well and it's in front of the bathroom, so I'm wondering what we can do to make this space livable as our master bedroom.  Right now it's not "bad" but it sure feels inefficient having to run a window unit upstairs just for the bedroom.

Here are some pictures of the space (excuse the mess): http://imgur.com/a/LqTrj
Here is the front of the house: http://imgur.com/9cpnUtL

I'm wondering what we can do in terms of insulation, windows, or what to be efficient and make this livable.  Or do we just turn it into the office and move the master bedroom into one of the smaller bedrooms on the main floor.

Freda

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 12:54:25 PM »
Is there a door at the bottom of the stairs?  If so I would open or remove it. 

Heavy curtains are always a start.  They keep cool air in, hot sunlight out / cold drafts out, heat in depending on the time of year.  Or even up to 4mm plastic if you are so inclined.

I think the office idea is good but you will still want to be comfortable.


dizzean

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 12:57:21 PM »
Is there a door at the bottom of the stairs?  If so I would open or remove it. 

Heavy curtains are always a start.  They keep cool air in, hot sunlight out / cold drafts out, heat in depending on the time of year.  Or even up to 4mm plastic if you are so inclined.

I think the office idea is good but you will still want to be comfortable.

You are a genius!

Although, I guess the reason we close it is because otherwise the cats think it's okay to jump on my face at 2am.

Freda

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2013, 01:00:00 PM »
Is there a door at the bottom of the stairs?  If so I would open or remove it. 

Heavy curtains are always a start.  They keep cool air in, hot sunlight out / cold drafts out, heat in depending on the time of year.  Or even up to 4mm plastic if you are so inclined.

I think the office idea is good but you will still want to be comfortable.

You are a genius!

Although, I guess the reason we close it is because otherwise the cats think it's okay to jump on my face at 2am.

LOL! 

We have new rod/fin assemblies in our bedroom so it gets hotter than the other rooms till we get around to remodeling those too, so we now have to sleep with our door open so the temps between the hall and the bedroom average out or I'm roasting by 3am (with the thermostat at 65!).  The cats now sleep in the laundry room!! 

Freda

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2013, 01:00:58 PM »
Also, if you were feeling really ambitious I might knock out that kneewall and put a bannister rail / iron rail / whatever so the airflow isn't choked off. 

KingMe

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2013, 01:09:30 PM »
For the summer, consider the following:

1. Ceiling fans.
2. Improve installation of window A/C unit; it doesn't look like it was installed with a great seal.
3. If your light bulbs are the traditional incandescently, consider replaces them with ones that emit less heat.


matchewed

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2013, 01:10:03 PM »
I didn't look at the pictures but is there anyway to get a ceiling fan installed to go with the added airflow form leaving the door open?

That would help with equalizing the air temps throughout the house.

*edit* darn you for beating me to it KingMe

cynthia1848

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2013, 01:13:25 PM »
Is there any access panel to see whether there is any insulation in the roof?  If so, and if there is no insulation, you could use the access panel to install some icynene up there, which would also help.

dizzean

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 01:17:39 PM »
Is there any access panel to see whether there is any insulation in the roof?  If so, and if there is no insulation, you could use the access panel to install some icynene up there, which would also help.

I have full access to the crawl spaces between the roof and wall.

Kenoryn

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 02:09:10 PM »
Ceiling fans are good for winter too. You can run them in reverse to help draw warm air upstairs.

dizzean

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2013, 02:17:44 PM »
Ceiling fans are good for winter too. You can run them in reverse to help draw warm air upstairs.

Well we have 1 in the dining room on the main floor.  Are you saying installing one upstairs too?

It's a pretty low ceiling.

Another Reader

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2013, 02:52:51 PM »
There is a lot of dark surface area on the outside of the half story that absorbs heat in the summer and radiates it out in the winter.  Complete insulation helps, but fans, efficient A/C units, and and better venting for the existing HVAC system are also needed.  No point in making the area an office unless you solve the problems.  I would consider skylights that open, bringing both light and air into the space.  Check out some remodeling magazines next time you are at the library or browse at the bookstore for half story remodeling ideas.

Rural

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2013, 05:38:47 AM »
A baby gate where the door is now would allow airflow and might (or might not) discourage the cats.

Kenoryn

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2013, 12:11:17 PM »
You need two baby gates, stacked, to keep cats out, I have learned. ;)

Yes, I meant a ceiling fan upstairs. If the ceilings are too low I guess that won't work, unless you could put one over the stairs or something?

Be careful with skylights. You want to keep sun out as much as possible in summer so you'd want good insulated shutters with a reflective exterior or something to go over the skylight in summer.

Spork

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2013, 12:28:32 PM »
You need two baby gates, stacked, to keep cats out, I have learned. ;)



...depends on the cat.  We've had cats that can flatfoot jump 6+ feet.

We had one small (20lb) dog that could climb up and over a smooth 6 ft plywood barrier.  I wish I had video.

Rural

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2013, 03:01:37 PM »
You need two baby gates, stacked, to keep cats out, I have learned. ;)



...depends on the cat.  We've had cats that can flatfoot jump 6+ feet.

We had one small (20lb) dog that could climb up and over a smooth 6 ft plywood barrier.  I wish I had video.

A screen door might be a good option if all you have is cats. We also have big dogs; we gave up and built the critters their own bedroom in the new house.

Spork

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2013, 03:10:38 PM »
You need two baby gates, stacked, to keep cats out, I have learned. ;)



...depends on the cat.  We've had cats that can flatfoot jump 6+ feet.

We had one small (20lb) dog that could climb up and over a smooth 6 ft plywood barrier.  I wish I had video.

A screen door might be a good option if all you have is cats. We also have big dogs; we gave up and built the critters their own bedroom in the new house.

As did we.  I also built a cat room.  Patent pending.

MC

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2013, 07:15:06 AM »
You could go with a louvered door.  Some look better than others, but it wouldn't block airflow like a solid door, and would keep the cats out.

dizzean

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Re: How to properly deal with a 1.5 story house?
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2013, 12:01:01 PM »
You could go with a louvered door.  Some look better than others, but it wouldn't block airflow like a solid door, and would keep the cats out.

I did not know this existed.