Posted March 08, 2016 by Gabriel Posternak

Turn your attic from haunted dead space to fabulous extra room

In most houses, the attic is something cut from a horror movie: full of rubbish, dirt, wasted family memorabilia, bugs and spider webs. And, in the worst cases, a deficient roof pours inside the neglected attic creating water damage that is only seen when it’s too late.

You shouldn’t let yourself in this group because you could turn your attic from ugly mess to a fabulous extra room with our guide and the ideas we picked for you.

Is my attic ready for a remodel?

Here are the things you have to consider before an attic conversion:

  • Check if your attic use rafters -A shaped- or trussers -W shaped-. If the latter, the remodel will be more difficult and costly so a simple addition could be more cost-effective than converting the attic.
  • Check the maximum floor load capacity with a professional. According to code, you should have 30 pounds per square foot, so ask your contractor whether reinforcement will be needed.
  • Check the ceiling height and slope and mind the thickness of finishing and insulation needed to calculate actual headroom. Most building codes require a minimum height of 7-1/2 feet over 50 percent of the floor area for living spaces.
  • Check the space needed for the access. Code asks for a permanent staircase, so you need to evaluate both the space needed in your attic and the floor below to install it. A straight-run stair will need 10 to 14 feet of floor space while a spiral staircase will be cheaper and only need half the space, but will be difficult to navigate for both people and furniture.
  • Check the HVAC capacity to feed the extra room and ask your installer if more ducts and vents need to be placed there before the remodel starts.
  • Check the electrical wiring to make sure you can feed properly all the lighting and appliances and that too is within building codes for your area.
  • Check the windows and openings. Attics are usually dark spaces, so you might add some skylight or traditional windows for natural lighting. For security reasons, the code also ask for an exit through window in case of fire, so you have to provision for it too.
  • Check the integrity of the roof. An attic remodel could be a perfect occasion to update your roofing and insulation and bundle everything in just one financing package.

Great ideas for all attic sizes

Extra storage space: Forget about piling dirt out from sight and convert the attic to a fancy extra walk-in closet or library.

Office or study space: You need a quiet space to work or study? Even a small attic can do the trick with some cheap laminate furniture and a carpet to muffle noises from below.

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Family room: A big attic can be a perfect family room because you can easily block the noise there to spread to the floors below, keeping the rest of the house quiet.

Guest room or studio: You can convert your attic to an extra bedroom for temporary guests of you can even create a studio with a bathroom and independent access to rent.

Your forgotten attic can be that perfect space you dream of, so call your contractor to check its potential and start making plans. A new paradise could be just some steps above

Featured Photo credit: soupboy via Flickr

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