Preparing to Start Our Summer Construction Project

A rough sketch I made when trying to figure out how to design the floor.

For a long time I'd planned to build my son a loft bedroom above our stairway that doesn't reach anywhere (because we made the second floor into a rental unit) but things came up and then I was waiting for answers regarding my divorce that would affect my finances. But I never got answers, and my son needs a room of his own more and more lately, so I decided that this summer we'd do it, we'd build him his room.

To build his room we'd need to first remove everything that we store on the stairway (we'd be able to move them back under the loft once it is built) and since we don't have room for that in the house, I'd keep those things in my yard. Summer is not only a time that my kids are off from school and so we can do this project, but it is also a time that it doesn't rain, so putting things out in the yard won't ruin them. 

I'd had this rough guess in my head how much this project would cost. I have no idea why but the number $2250 stuck in my head as how much this would cost. I made a plan for how to build this room, what type of wood would be needed, where it would be needed, how long the would would need to be and how many boards I'd needed, and then asked professional carpenters if my plan was safe and if the wood I wanted to use was strong enough for the room to be safe, and I got the go ahead. And then I priced it out.

Much cheaper than I'd thought it would be. Much much cheaper. Of course, that is just talking about the wood, but still.

This is what we need to do for the room.

  • First, there is going to be a wooden frame along the sides of the stairwell drilled into the wall. (We have cement walls.) Then I will have wooden beans across that, going the short way, spaced a little bit apart, and drilled into the wooden frame. Above that, I will have interlocking floorboards going the long way across and perpendicular to the beams below.

  • We'll need to have part in the floor open to access from below with a ladder.

  • The floor will need varnishing.

  • Because the area isn't currently a room, I'll need to extend wiring for lighting and plugs there. 

  • The room will definitely need an air conditioner for fresh air because there are no windows there.

  • Part of the cement railing will need to be knocked down.

Here's how I figured out the cost.

  • The room will be 2.8 meters by 1.8 meters. 

  • The 10x20 boards for the sides will need to be 2.8 meters each for a total of 5.6 meters, and at 22 dollars per meter it will cost $123.

  • The 5x10 boards will need to be 1.8 meters long each, and while I don't need as many as that, I rounded up and said I want 20 of those, for a total of 36 meters, for $159. I'll probably make the ladder with some of the extra, along with a railing to prevent people from falling down into the hole..

  • The interlocking floor boards are 3.8x15, and I need fewer than 20 boards but I rounded it up, for a total of 36 meters, for a total of $182.
Yes, I know those are expensive prices, but wood is pricey where I live. Total for the wood would be $464. Delivery is an extra $115. Total then would be $578.

Then the additional costs would be:
  • A sledgehammer to break the cement railing (or is it called a wall? banister?) at the side of the steps- roughly $50 for one of those (I can price compare but that is the price I found when I looked).
  • Varnish- this works out to be roughly $50 assuming my math is correct..
  • Air conditioner- this will cost about $550 once I factor in the extra cost because of the distance the AC will be from the other wall. 
  • Extending the wiring for the lighting probably won't be too expensive (there is currently a bulb about a foot below where the flooring will be, so it shouldn't need to be extended too far, I'm guessing no more than another $100 for that, but hey, I could be wrong.
  • Screws and drill bits and brushes and wires and all the other bits and bobs, I'll guess around $150, but that is totally a guestimate and may be significantly less or more.
Total for this work would be about $1500 which is a decent amount less than I'd originally imagined in my head. I will also need to spend some money on furniture for him, but some of the furniture will be things that I'm moving from other rooms, but that will also add up.

Now, when will I actually do this? 

First we need to set up the pool in our yard, hopefully today, but some more yard work will be tomorrow, and then I will need to get the sledgehammer so we can break down the wall, and then we can start building, so I'm probably going to order the wood next week.

I'm really excited about this. I think it'll be wonderful and my kids also can't wait. I also can't wait to post pictures as we do the project!

Have you ever done construction at home? What did you build? How much did it cost?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. You're very enterprising! I'm looking forward to seeing your progress along the way.

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