21 Attic Remodel Tips That Work!
Your attic remodel is perhaps one of the trickiest types of remodel to complete. Often this unused area is stuffed full of old boxes and forgotten cases of things from grandparents. But tackling your attic remodel doesn’t have to be a nerve wracking task here are some tips and tricks available to help you make the most of it. Before you begin to clear out the old and put in the new take the time to look our tips over, they may save you money and time.
Tips and Tricks for an Attic Remodel
1. Make sure you have enough space: Most building codes require that part of the ceiling is at least 7 feet high, the usable area must be 7 feet wide, and it must be 70 square feet in area. These are not exact dimensions and you should consult your local building department for the proper clearances.
2. Weight Limits: A finished attic weighs much more than an unfinished attic. Most attics are not constructed to carry this amount of weight safely. Have your attic inspected to make sure your house can structurally support this added weight.
3. Access: How will you get into the attic is something that you need to consider. Do you have room for stairs? Some attic spaces may already have stairs, but often they are so narrow it is not with code to use them as access.
4. Building stairs: Prepare to include the cost of building appropriately sized stairs in your budget. Also look at your floor plan before you begin to determine where you have space to put your new stairs to the attic.
5. Tougher walls and ceilings: Your attic will be a smaller space which will inevitably result in people knocking into the walls and lower ceilings. By putting in beadboard or some other material that is stronger than drywall you can save yourself time and expense fixing the damage down the road.
6. Ceiling Fans: A ceiling fan can be an invaluable asset to your attic remodel. The fan can help your attic with ventilation. In most attics it can be difficult to have good ventilation as usually there are fewer windows and they are often smaller than in a standard bedroom.
7. Recessed LED’s: Using recessed lighting with LED bulbs saves space in a low ceiling situation and doesn’t add more heat to an already warmer room.
8. Muffle the sound: Make sure to use carpets or other means to stop your attic from being a source of noise. You can put some extra money into your flooring to make it more soundproof during construction. This can include using thicker joists or use specialized insulation to deaden sounds.
9. Use Spray Foam: Your attic is going to be warmer than other rooms. The roof is a major heat sink for your home and makes your attic much more difficult to heat and cool. You will save money in the long run by spending more on insulation at the time of your remodel. Spray foam may be as much as three times more expensive but it will keep the space more comfortable and the bills lower.
10. Bathroom Placement: If you are including a bathroom in your attic remodel you are better off if you place it above an existing bathroom. By doing this you can save money by tying your new plumbing into existing lines.
11. Skylights: A skylight can gain you a few inches where you need them. It can be useful above a sink or table, and it adds much needed natural light and ventilation to your attic.
12. Knee Walls: The unusable space where the slope of the roof meets the floor can be a great place to put in some storage options. Build in storage in this useable space to maximize the usefulness of your attic space.
13. Escape Ladder: An innovative choice for an escape ladder is to hide it in a cabinet under the window itself. In most building codes it is a requirement that any bedroom has two forms of egress. In an attic this may require a rope ladder to exit safely.
14. Separate AC: Your attic will have a different heating and cooling profile than other rooms in your home. Giving your attic its own thermostat allows you to not spend money trying to cool the entire home just to have a livable attic.
15. Use the peak: If you are going to use standard pendant lights placing them in the peak of the roof is the best location. This is the most useful location and is usually dead space in an attic.
16. Wall Beams: To stiffen your floor to code may require a beam. Often this can’t be placed under the attic joists due to the room below. In this case you can put the beam where you want a wall. This hides the beam and provides the stiffness you need to be code compliant.
17. Plan for wiring: As you begin your remodel ensure that you have the space to run wiring where you are hoping to put fixtures.
18. Think about access to build: When remodeling your attic consider how you are going to get materials into the space. If you plan on putting a bathroom in, figure out how you will get a tub or shower into the space.
19. Get Inspected: Have a certified architectural engineer examine your attic before you begin your remodel. This should identify any problems before you spend money on your remodel.
20. Dormers: Dormers can gain you the space that you need to comply with building codes. They are also the best way to get enough space to put things where you’d like them.
21. Insulation Removal: It is often well worth the cost to pay for a professional to come and remove any traces of old fiberglass batting insulation. Fiberglass can be an extremely difficult substance to remove and even small traces can cause health issues later.