Updating an 18th Century Country House

Updating an 18th Century Country House

Built in the 18th century

Looking at this charming 18th century red brick house in a leafy lane of a quintessentially English village boasting many listed buildings, and you could think you were back in a Jane Austen novel. But whereas the Jane Austen house museum on the other side of the South Downs features an upper storey housing attic rooms with dormers, this spacious family home was in need of additional sleeping accommodation and bathroom facilities.

insulating breather membrane used with mineral woolAny insulation used needed to be breathable

Since the roof was in a poor state after several years of neglect, re-roofing was necessary. Because of its Heritage status the Historic Buildings Adviser required that the lath and plaster ceilings be retained or replaced, and that any insulation used was breathable. In the main part of the house the rafters were deep enough to allow TLX Gold plus 50mm of mineral wool to be fitted, with the main bedrooms having vaulted ceilings with exposed purlins.

Used in this way a minimum of 30mm of rafter depth is required to accommodate the lower part of the TLX Gold and the reflecting air gap underneath; there is no condensation risk - even with the lime plaster underneath, because of the breathability of TLX Gold.

Rafter depth was very limited in placesexample of an insulating breather membrane counter battened

However, the smaller attic sections at the back of the house had very shallow rafters, and the lath and lime plaster used underneath intruded some 20mm into the rafter space. In spite of this limited rafter depth, the Architects were able to design a sympathetic loft conversion - even managing to have exposed purlins in keeping with the rest of the house, by using TLX Gold taut and counter-battened.

The result?

An attic room conversion in keeping with the character of the building, but which offered additional accommodation – whether for guests, a teenager’s room – or even for a live-in nanny!

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