How to build a bedroom addition

Thoughtful planning and low-cost but good-quality materials helped make this a successful project. With two growing boys in the family, we found that we had to add a room to our old house. The structural problems won’t be discussed here, except to say that they existed. Every old house and differing local zoning laws present individual problems. As for the finishing, we wanted good-looking and inexpensive materials that could be handled by the average home handy man.

Most of the structural and exterior work was done by professional carpenters who were familiar with the zoning law requirements, and who could get the room under wraps before the rainy season began.

The room addition measured approximately 8×22 feet. Two large aluminum sliding windows were installed, as was a closet at each end of the room. We handled all the electrical work, puttingin three plugs and two ceiling lights, each on its own switch. Cost of all electrical materials, including the flush lights, was only $35.

All insulating material was put up in about two evenings. For the ceiling we used insulation faced with aluminum on one side, and a low-cost rock lath was nailed to the ceiling beams. All walls were covered with plywood. For this we chose a light-colored wood called Japanese Ash, put out by U. S. Plywood Corporation; it is tough-wearing and low-cost, and is excellent for almost any type of room. For wood trim, light-colored. Korina was used. This also is made by U. S. Plywood. Here’s a good tip: Before installing plywood and trim, give them about three coats of a good quality, hard-wearing, clear finish such as Satinlac, Fabulon, or brushing lacquer. Plywood and trim were finished off in the author’s shop, brought up to the room, and, there, cut to size and fitted on the spot. The plywood was nailed tothe wall studs with 1-in. brads, after the stud locations were carefully marked off.

Next came the floor covering. Linoleum was used. For the ceiling, acoustical-type square panels were employed to silence the noise that children invariably make. Brand used was Armstrong Cushion-tone, which is attractive, inexpensive, and simple to attach. We chose the type that is fastened to the ceiling with an adhesive paste. The ceiling was marked off to locate the panel positions, and the panels requiring it were easily trimmed to size with a matte knife.

The only trick to applying the acoustical panels is to get the paste in four even pats per square. The panels stick easily to the ceiling, and the holding quality of the cement paste is amazing. After the ceiling is in place, you can walk around and push up the squares a bit to make sure you get it nice and even.

Between the windows we attached one sheet of pegboard, painted off-white to match the ceiling. Pegboard is perfect material for a child’s room, and my sons use it to display their prize toys, etc. Be sure to space the pegboard at least % in. away from the wall so that hangers can be hooked in place.

Where there once was an old bathroom window we installed a large, deep medicine cabinet. Translucent Alsynite was used for sliding doors. A fluorescent bulb inside acts as a night light – a small item, but an important one for any bathroom, we felt. Shelves are glass, and old, heavy plate glass was ideal for these. Incidentally, an adequate-sized medicine cabinet is a surprisingly expensive item if you go to buy it. It’s one item that it definitely pays to make.

At each end of the room, we built a 2-foot deep closet. Both closets are similar in construction, but a row of drawers was built into one of them to hold shirts, other clothing, and for general small item storage.

The sliding closet doors can be purchased in several sizes. Made of Nova-ply (a water-resistant, laminated wood product for interior furniture and panel use) , the doors remain flat and warp-free through years of use. The doors can easily be cut down in height, and we did so in order to keep them in scale with the rest of the room.