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22 Attic Remodeling Facts That Matter

Attic Remodeling Facts
An attic remodel can give you a whole new room to work with. From turning your attic into a bedroom, or a play space, the options can be overwhelming. There are some basic facts that apply to any type of room that you can put into your attic space. These facts will help you decide what you should do with your attic. Some of these facts will even help you decide if you can even pursue turning your attic into living space.

The one main fact to remember about your attic is that it more than likely was not originally intended to be living space. This means that the basics for even what you would find in a basement are lacking. You will likely not have outlets, windows, true walls, or even floors that are built up to code. Because you are building in unfinished space you will likely encounter ducting, and wiring that is not nicely tucked away like in the other areas of your home. All of these unique problems will need to be addressed as you plan for your attic to become a bedroom.

22 Attic Remodeling Facts That Matter

  1. It Can Cost You: The median cost for a bathroom is around $65,000 for a remodel that includes a bathroom.
  2. It Adds Value: Attic to bedroom remodels usually retain about 65% of the money put into their construction.
  3. Rafters come in different styles: Rafters are either in an “A” shape or a “W” shape. Rafters that look like a “W” are usually much more expensive to work around if you want to remodel.
  4. Floor joists matter: If the floor of your attic was made with smaller boards such as 2×20’s you will likely have to rebuild to be able to support more weight.
  5. You Need Windows: Adding a window will probably be necessary, it is required if you are turning your attic into a bedroom.
  6. Dormer Windows Are a Good Idea: Dormer windows are built out of the roof profile to give you a vertical window.
  7. You Need Better Insulation: Most attics have only floor insulation for the home below. To turn it into a livable space you will need to add insulation.
  8. Consider Spray Foam Insulation: For the angle of the roof, and the way the insulation will hang spray foam insulation is one of the best bets to insulate your new roof.
  9. You Need Climate Control: Check your existing HVAC system to see if it can support the additional square footage of your newly remodeled attic space.
  10. You need a Permit: You will still need to get a permit to build out your attic. Stock plans may not be approved so spend the money to have an architect draw them up correctly.
  11. You’ll Have to Deal With Roof Vents: Your attic will have roof vents that will need to be closed, or otherwise addressed as part of your remodel.
  12. Plumbing Can be a Big Issue: To put a new bathroom in your attic may require tearing out portions of the ceiling below to get your water and waste lines run.
  13. You Probably Need New Stairs: Most codes require approximately the following
    • Minimum 44 inches in width
    • Have headroom of at least 80 inches
    • Riser height of a maximum of 7 inches
    • Tread depth of 11 inches
  14. Space Depends On Roof Pitch: The pitch of your roof will largely determine the useable space in your attic. The higher the pitch the more space that you can use. Higher pitched roof lines are more common in places with heavier snowfall.
  15. There Are Minimum Space Requirements: You need to have at least 70 square feet where you have over 5 feet of clearance from floor to ceiling.
  16. There are Ceiling Requirements: At least half of the useable square feet must have a ceiling of at least 7 feet.
  17. You Must Have an Egress Point: Your new space will need a way to escape in case of fire. Plan for a window that is reachable, and opens, to allow people an escape route in case of fire.
  18. Sound Can Be An Issue: Your new bedroom will likely be over other rooms. Plan to add sound insulation to ensure your new bedroom is not so noisy.
  19. Consider Knee walls: By closing off the edges of your attic’s slope you create what are called “Knee Walls”. These provide excellent spaces for built in storage areas.
  20. It Might Not Add Square Feet: Your attic remodel may or may not add the square footage to your home. This will depend on your local building codes and should be looked into before you begin remodeling.
  21. Have Separate Climate Control: Even with good insulation and tying into your current HVAC your attic will still be hotter or colder than the rest of your home. This can often be addressed with a separate control for your HVAC in this space.
  22. You Can Estimate Useable Space: For the math savvy, you can calculate the amount of useable space you can get from your attic. First find the pitch of your roof, this is usually expressed in terms of inches rise, over inches run. Normally it will look like 6:12, or six inches rise per foot. With this information you can estimate how far in until you reach 7 feet of space. In our example you would go “In” towards the center of your attic 14 feet to get to a spot that is 7 feet tall. Do this from the opposite side and you create your “square footage” area. This can be increased with dormers however.
References
http://www.rodzenconstruction.com/blogs/post/Attic-Remodeling-Basic-Facts/
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-an-attic-bathroom.htm
http://www.bobvila.com/articles/attic-conversion/
https://www.houselogic.com/by-room/basement-attic/evaluate-your-house-attic-bedroom/
http://homerenovations.about.com/od/additions/ss/Attic-Conversion-Regulations-and-Requirements.htm