If you’re looking to create additional living space in your current home you may want to consider converting the attic before doing anything else. Not all attics can be converted into living space but if you’re lucky it could be an affordable option.
There are pros and cons to all home renovation projects and before you get too excited let’s look at the reasons an attic conversion may not be feasible and worth pursuing.
Can Your Attic Be Converted Into Living Space?
Even though your attic may be a decent size and could be used as a bedroom or office you will need to research the local building and energy codes. You may find out that converting the attic means the space itself needs to meet specific building codes and standards. This may mean that floor joists need to be replaced as well as roof rafters etc.
You’ll also need a stairway built to lead to the attic. This could drastically reduce the living space of the attic and the cost of labor and parts may go through the roof at the same time. In reality, it may be better off in the long run to build an additional story to the structure.
In addition, when converting an attic you’ll typically add some load or weight to the home and it could turn out to be too much for the existing structure. You may need the services of a structural engineer to make sure your attic conversion makes sense and can be done without weakening the existing structure.
Some attics can definitely be converted safely into living space at a reasonable cost though. Each house is typically unique which means there could be some options. As long as you can abide by the building codes/permits and there’s nothing really stopping you there’s no reason you shouldn’t convert an attic if it’s possible to do so.
Preparing For Renovations
Be aware that permits are needed in most areas if you’re adding ventilation or electrical wiring to the space. You may also need to have duct work done to support the home’s HVAC system. If this isn’t possible you could use baseboard heating as an alternative for heat and rafter vents could be installed for air flow. A ceiling fan is another possible idea.
Depending on the size of the attic, the costs will vary for materials such as insulation, drywall and flooring etc. Of course, before getting started with the project you’ll need to thoroughly clean out the attic and you may want to remove any old insulation. If the insulation on the attic floor is in fine shape you may place sub-flooring over top of it.
An experienced, licensed electrician will be needed to make sure all of the electrical work meets your local building codes. A good professional can install wiring across the ceiling and walls and you may want to consider placing an outlet every 12 feet and having at least one on each wall.
If you can see joists on the attic floor you’ll need to have a sub floor built. This should be done after all the ventilation and electrical work has been completed. A thicker sub-floor or added insulation may provide better soundproofing for the attic.The floor of the attic can be carpeted since it helps with soundproofing and insulation.
Some of the best insulation for a converted attic is batt insulation as it comes with a vapor-retardant facing. It’s quite easy to install and flexible and can be layered if you’d like additional coverage. If the batts are too big they can be trimmed with a utility knife.
After the insulation has been installed you can then work on the ceiling and drywall. If the height of the ceiling allows, you may opt for a dropped ceiling in the attic. Once the drywall has been installed it can then be primed and painted to your liking. However, if the ceiling was also dry walled it’s a good idea to paint it before starting on the walls.
If the attic is dark and without much natural light you may want to consider brighter colors for the paint. A skylight is also an option.
Is a Finished Attic Right For You?
Converting an attic to living space is a choice you’ll have to make yourself after all the pros and cons have been considered. If you decide to go ahead with it you’ll find it can be achieved at a reasonable cost and time frame. It can also be a fun-filled project for many homeowners.
If you are interested in finishing your attic, contact Element Home Remodeling today. We specialize in converting attics into beautiful living spaces and can provide a free consultation on your attic project.
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