Friday, July 19, 2013

Let's split.

    Today's topic comes courtesy of Jill from a great site to check out especially if you are going to be in or near the Houston TX area. She wants to split one big bedroom up into two smaller ones. This is a job I have actually performed a number of times and sounds simple to me. I say it sounds simple but there are numerous considerations beyond just building a wall. First and most obvious is access to each room. If you put up a wall separating rooms and stick a door in it then you have a less than desirable situation. This scenario involves bedrooms and access to a bedroom should never be through another bedroom. It's OK to access the kitchen by going through the dining room but these are bedrooms and the privacy issues of both bedrooms are compromised by this set up. This might not be a problem if we are dealing with small children but as they grow it will become one. It will also kill you at resale if you ever choose to put the house on the market.
      We also must consider egress. Fire safety codes address this concern but it is often overlooked if you have chosen to circumvent the whole permitting /inspections process. (wink wink). This does not lessen its importance however. Each of the now two separate rooms requires its own emergency exit and is normally just a window to the outside large enough to allow safe passage for a human of normal size. Without being familiar with this particular project there may need to be a window added or re-sized for this reason.
       Moving on to electrical considerations. Each room needs overhead lighting that is independently switched. I don't care what they say about hiring a professional electrician. If you are an advanced home repair/remodeler this is something you can handle yourself. If you are not, call a pro. If you are not sure call a pro. One of the things to consider especially in the south is the location of the ceiling fixture and its quality of installation. The best way to handle this is to install a box that is designed to hold a ceiling fan. A fan/light combo is best for a room even if it isn't in the budget right now. It certainly could be a future project and doing the advance prep makes perfect sense right now even if you install a cheap light as a 'get by' feature.That wall you built to split the rooms probably needs a couple of receptacles on each side as well.
       There you have it. I spoke in generalities not knowing the specifics of this case but these are the basics in order to maintain the proper form and function of a home. Individual details are open to change based on your site, budget, and judgement. Just remember not to let your budget cloud your judgement. Once again many thanks to Jill @ for today's inspiration and good luck with your project.