How to Remodel an Attic: The Ultimate Guide
Do you want to know how to remodel an attic? This is the perfect resource to help you learn exactly that. We have gathered all the information you could possibly want at the ease of a click. There’s a lot of information, and you can either choose to read all of it, or you can simply study the parts you’re more interested in by following the links below.
- 22 Attic Remodeling Facts That Matter
- 13 Steps: How to remodel your Attic
- 10 Ways to Save Your Small Attic Remodel
- What They DON’T Want You to Know About Attic Remodeling Costs
- The Big Truth Behind Small Attic Remodel Costs
- 11 Things No One Told You About How to Remodel an Attic on a Budget
- 20 Great Ways to Save Money on Your Attic Remodel
- 12 of the Smartest Attic Remodel Ideas That Increase Home Value.
- 21 Attic Remodel Tips That Work!
22 Attic Remodeling Facts That Matter
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
- It Can Cost You: The median cost for a bathroom is around $65,000 for a remodel that includes a bathroom.
- It Adds Value: Attic to bedroom remodels usually retain about 65% of the money put into their construction.
- 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.
- 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.
- You Need Windows: Adding a window will probably be necessary, it is required if you are turning your attic into a bedroom.
- Dormer Windows Are a Good Idea: Dormer windows are built out of the roof profile to give you a vertical window.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- There are Ceiling Requirements: At least half of the useable square feet must have a ceiling of at least 7 feet.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
13 Steps: How to remodel your Attic
When looking for additional space it’s sometimes difficult to expand the footprint of your home. The attic of your home may be space that you can reclaim and turn into a cozy bedroom. This usually junk filled area can be cleared out and remodeled into a bedroom or other useful room. The space is one of the more unique areas to work with and has some special considerations that mean you have to put even more thought in to the process. We’ve put together a step by step how to remodel your attic guide that will put you on the right track.
Your step by step guide to your attic remodel
Step 1: Determine if your attic can be used
Not every attic can be converted to usable living space. Your best way forward is to hire a contractor to come and inspect your attic. They will have a good understanding of local building codes and can give you an unbiased opinion on if it is possible.
Your attic will need to usually need to have a height of 7 feet and a square footage of 70 feet. If you don’t have the necessary clearances, you can put in what is called a dormer. A dormer extends out your roof on a flat and creates a place for another window as well usually.
It will need stairs up into the space that comply with codes, and a window that is large enough to be used as an emergency escape route. The floor will also need to be able to support the additional weight of flooring, walls and furniture.
The trusses in use in your attic are another major consideration. If you have manufactured roof trusses it can be expensive to replace them. Manufactured roof trusses normally have a set of cross members that serve as structural supports. They normally look like a “W” rather than an “A”.
Examine your existing HVAC and electrical system to see if it will support the additional loads of your planned space. If you have to put in a new system for either it can come with significant costs.
Step 2: Budget
If your space is capable of being transformed into your hideaway, then you have a decision to make. This decision is how much are you willing to spend on your new attic. The budget that you decide will largely determine what you can do with your space. The national average for an attic remodel in 2015 was around $50,000.
Once you have determined how much you have available you need to make a rough estimate of how much you are going to spend on each element of your remodel. This includes dividing your budget between framing, flooring, wall treatments, and any electrical or plumbing you decide to put into it.
Step 3: Plan
With a budget in hand you can now begin planning. Your planning needs to be detailed and thorough. It can often take weeks or months to accurately plan out your remodel. In the planning stage is when you take a look at the different finishing ideas and select from the available options. Taking the time to make a detailed plan keeps your remodel on track and makes sure that you have thought about all of the different aspects.
Step 4: Permits
The need for permits is something no remodeling effort can ignore. Prior to doing any work coordinate any inspections and permits that your remodel will require. This is not always as easy as it sounds so ensure you give yourself enough time to make all the requests and get the right approvals.
Never do any work without an approved permit. Work completed without an accompanying permit may not be included in the value of your home. This means you could put tens of thousands of dollars into an addition that at best is not able to be recouped, at worst if you attempt to sell the home may need to be redone.
Step 5: Reinforcing structural elements
Before any work can begin the structure needs to be inspected and reinforced. Joists in an attack are rarely constructed to hold the weight of finished rooms. Your joists may need to be reinforced, either by doubling them or by inclusion of a beam to hold the additional weight your remodel will add.
The roof joists may need to be reconfigured depending on the style of roof that your home has. “A” frame roofs are usually better suited to an attic remodel than are “W” style supports. This can often be a significant consideration on your potential remodel.
Step 6: Subflooring and sound insulation
To begin your remodel, you need a stable surface. Your subfloor is the place to start. If you are installing any sound deadening insulation or materials, they need to be put into place before you lay down the subflooring. With these materials put into place you lay down the plywood subflooring. This will be the base for your other work.
Step 7: Framing walls and storage
Now that you have a floor you can put your walls into place. This includes framing out any built in storage options that you have chosen. As you partition your attic space take the time to measure realistic placement for your furniture. This is a good idea in general, and especially in a space with unique requirements for heights and angles of the roof.
Step 8: Insulation
Insulation is critical in your attic remodel. With the roof the only thing between your room and the heat of the sun, or the cold of winter insulation is all that allows you to heat and cool the room effectively. Although more expensive using spray foam insulation will pay off in the long run.
Step 9: Heating & Air Conditioning
Your heating and air conditioning needs must be addressed before you begin any of the finishing touches. The ducting can sometimes be extended from other rooms and your attic tied into existing systems.f
If possible, consult or contract out to a HVAC specialist for the ability to have a separate thermostat for your attic. Your attic will be warmer or colder than the rest of the home depending on the season. Having the ability to control the heating and air conditioning for the attic on its own will allow you to avoid making the rest of the house freezing just to have a comfortable attic space.
Step 10: Electrical/Plumbing
The last step before finishing off your walls is to run any electrical or plumbing necessary. These are not do-it-yourself type of projects. Contract out this work to a licensed electrician or plumber to avoid costly and dangerous mistakes. You will need about 1 electrical outlet every 10 feet.
With everything you want hidden away completed it is time to drywall. A consideration at this point is paneling. While drywall is cheaper your attic is composed of odd angles. These odd angles attract damage, as people try to maneuver things around them. Paneling may be a bit more expensive initially, but in the long run you save a lot of work on repairing the small damages caused by furniture meeting drywall.
Plain drywall is boring to look at, so you will need to put your wall covering on. This may be paint or wallpaper. As a general suggestion try to avoid dark colors on your walls, it often makes a small room seem even smaller.
Step 12: Flooring
The flooring you choose now goes into place. The type of flooring depends on your budget and personal tastes. Remember that if you have an awkward staircase that large rolls of carpet or laminate flooring may be difficult to work with.
If you have an issue getting the flooring material up, consider a boxed alternative. If you want to avoid the cost of hardwood, there are several tile or luxury laminate options that give the look of hardwood without the cost.
Step 13: Finishing touches
Your last step is to add the finishing touches. This includes any molding you decide to put into place, door handles, fixtures, outlet covers. All the little things that go into making a room. Once you have all of the pieces in place you are only left with furnishing your room.
As much as it would be great to say that this step by step instruction covers everything it doesn’t obviously. A full step by step set of instructions would be a book of its own. While you go through the process there will be unforeseen issues, and problems that require moving forward in some places while others must wait. Your flexibility and ability to creatively solve problems will be your greatest assets.
10 Ways to Save Your Small Attic Remodel
An attic remodel can run in the tens of thousands of dollars. The national average hovers around $50,000 to complete a standard size attic remodel. This cost, coupled with the unique arrangement of an attic can make your attic remodel a complicated task. The angle of your roof will create spaces within any attic that are unusable. Any space where the roof is not 7 feet tall can not be considered as usable space.
If your attic is not a spacious environment it is not a lost cause. You have additional complications in trying to remodel a small attic, but it still can be turned into a cozy little bedroom. Small spaces require a bit more thought when you plan your remodel. Even though there are complications, there are also unique opportunities involved with an attic remodel that can help you to maximize the use of your space. Our tips can help you save your small attic remodel from being a cramped, dismal addition that you regret.
Ways to Save Your Small Attic Remodel
- Use Bright Colors: Keeping the colors in your small space bright makes your room seem larger. Avoid dark colors except to provide a contrast or an accent someplace in the room. Using brighter colors will make sure you don’t make a space seem small and enclosed.
- Find Focal Points: Using focal points draws the eyes to specific places in the room. Artwork, structural elements, or even colors can create focal points. Smart use of focal points can draw the eyes to specific areas and make your small attic seem slightly larger.
- Built in Storage: Storage is often the largest problem to address in a small attic remodel. Balancing the need for storage space, against the need for living space is a difficult task. Fortunately, an attic comes with some unique options. Knee wall cabinets along the walls puts storage along the walls, in a space not very useful otherwise.
- Furniture Placement: The attic will have a different sort of arrangement than other rooms in your home. The angles of the roof will make some places in the room prime real estate and others near unusable. Place chairs more towards the side of the room where the slightly lower ceiling works better.
- Mind the Stairs: Most of the time when your attic is constructed the access is placed in the center of the attic. This is where the most useful space is when you remodel. Putting the stairs off to the side can gain you valuable space. This is very useful when you can match the slope of your stairs to the slope of the roof to keep the required clearance to stay within the codes.
- Add a Dormer: Although an expensive option dormers provide much needed square footage. By lifting the slope of the roof to a useable height more room is recovered. Additionally, the dormer is an excellent space to place the windows that are required. They are able to take a space totally unusable and give you just enough square footage to pursue an attic remodel.
- Skylights: One of the best methods for making a room seem larger is bringing in more natural light into the space. In an attic skylights are an excellent choice to make this happen. Unlike other places in your home your attic is not the best place to use a light tube. The distance is so short that a skylight is just as useful as a light tube.
- Give up the bathroom: A small attic remodel is probably not going to be able to include a bathroom. As hard as it may be to accept if you are working with a limited floorplan wasting it on a bathroom is often not the wisest decision. It is better to have a decent sized bedroom instead of both a small bedroom and a small bathroom.
- Tuck the toilet into the low part: If you are absolutely set on having a bathroom use the space wisely. Setting the toilet under the slope of the roof can give you just enough room for a small bathroom, you’ll need to make sure to have the required height clearance.
- Furniture: As you finish your attic remodel, even the most careful plan can be derailed by the wrong furniture. A small attic remodel should include a minimalist style for furniture. If you are pressed for space the huge couch and king size bed you have always loved are not the best choices for furniture.
Attic Remodeling Costs: What They DON’T Want You to Know About
An attic remodel can gain your home a lot of added space. If you want to grab hold of this space, you will need to prepare yourself for the costs involved. The truth behind your attic remodeling costs is that it will include items like reinforcing your current attic structurally, to finishing it out into living space.
The cost to remodel your attic will greatly depend on how luxurious you want to make the room. A simple attic remodel project with nice carpet and painted walls will be much more inexpensive than one with high end carpet, expensive wallpaper, and gilded finishes. There are some numbers that will help you decide if you can find enough money to pursue your project though.
When considering if you want to tackle an attic remodel project, you need to have an idea of the amount it might cost. The national median for attic remodeling costs is around $60,000. As non-math majors may forget, a median is the middle ground. It indicates that there are as many reported costs above that amount, as there are below. So it is a good average sort of number to consider as you begin your planning process.
The other number to keep in mind as you decide is how well it will add value to your home. Reports indicate you should be able to keep about 60% of money you put into your remodel when you apply it to your home’s value when it is completed. Again, for the non-math wizards among us, for an attic project that you put $60,000 it should increase the value of your home overall by $36,000.
- Wall Construction ($50/ft): A 10’x10’ wall section costs around $500. This includes framing and drywall. It does not include paint or wallpaper costs. To finish your wall you will need to consider which is the best option.
- Painting your wall adds about $100 per wall (including labor, $50 if you do it yourself).
- Average quality wallpaper will cost around $50/roll, and to have it hung will cost an additional $40/roll for a professional.
- Floors ($300/linear ft): The floor of your attic may, or may not, have been built to support the weight of a finished room. If your attic flooring is not made to support the weight you will need to add supports. This is done usually in a method called “sistering” where another 2×4 or wider piece of lumber is nailed to the existing supports. This will cost between $100 and $300 per joist, depending on board width and accessibility.
- Ceiling ($4/sq ft): The ceiling for your new living space is another cost that you must consider. To finish off the ceiling you can expect to pay around $4 a square foot. Additional costs will arise if you do any sort of tray ceiling.
- Access ($2000): Most attics are not accessed by permanent stairs that are up to code. Access into the new attic space will likely need to be installed. A set of prebuilt straight stairs is the cheapest option. This cost does not include renovations to the room where you will put the stairs in from. These costs vary depending on how much work must be done.
- Dormer ($5000+): A dormer creates space usable space in your attic. By flattening out the pitch of your roof it gives it a consistent height that may be necessary to comply with codes. The cost of your dormer depends largely on your roof and the exterior of your home. This price includes the structural work. Add more to match your interior and exterior finishes.
- Skylights ($900/light): Skylights are an excellent way to increase the amount of natural light into your new attic remodel. Since the skylights do not need extensive structural work to get to a lower floor they are cheapest to put into an attic space. A fixed skylight will be the cheapest at around $900 to install. This cost can increase as you choose models that open, either manually or automatically depending on light and moisture. A high end skylight can cost $1300 for the skylight alone.
- Windows ($500/window): Each window you put into the attic, including those in a dormer, will cost around $500 installed. This cost is for a standard sized, double paned and insulated window. If you decide to use specialty windows, bay sized windows, or other options this cost can quickly become much higher.
- Trim ($7/ft): Bare walls do not make for a finished looking room. Your walls will need baseboards and trim to truly look good. Standard non-ornamental trim work should run between $5.25 and $8.57. Higher end trim and molding will be more expensive.
- Cabinetry ($300): Almost all attic remodels have near unusable space where the angle of the roof makes the area too short to do much with. Knee wall cabinets are great additions for this type of area. By turning this unusable space into storage you increase the square feet you can devote to living space. Installing cabinets in this space will cost about $300 for a 12’x12’ room. This cost can be much higher depending on cabinet quality and the hardware that you pick.
Heating and Air
- Heating/Air Conditioning ($1300+): Of all the rooms in your home, an attic bedroom or living space is going to be the most in need of good heating and air conditioning. Even with properly installed, energy efficient insulation your attic space will always be hotter or colder than the rest of your home. This will require that you tie your attic into your heating and air conditioning system. This can often be done cheaply before you put your subflooring in. Occasionally it will be necessary to remove some drywall in a room below. If you need to do this, it will increase the costs. The price to tie in your existing heating and air conditioning may be around $1000.
- New System ($5000): When adding new spaces to your existing setup you have to ensure it is capable of supporting them. If your existing system is sized to be able to just barely heat and cool your home as it is, adding more square feet will make the system incapable of doing the job properly.
- Separate Control ($300): Even if your system is capable of handling the additional square feet for your attic remodel, a separate control is a good idea. Installing a thermostat that controls the temperature of your attic separately from the rest of your home makes it possible to keep your air conditioner from overworking itself.
- Insulation ($.75/Sq Ft): The importance of insulation in your attic remodel is hard to make clear enough. Without proper insulation no heating or air conditioning system will be able to make this space livable. For your attic space the best option is spray foam insulation. The pitch of the roof can make batten insulation fall away from the roof and become much less effective. Spray foam insulation fills the cavity and won’t fall away from the roof itself. The cost for spray foam insulation will cost approximately $1.00 per board foot.
Flooring and Plumbing
- Flooring ($850): The structural cost to get your floor up to code doesn’t include any sort of floor covering beyond bare plywood. This means you have to budget for some sort of flooring. The cost of this varies widely depending on what bedroom flooring options you choose. Putting in a sheet vinyl floor will be much less expensive than high end rare wood flooring. There are a lot of bedroom flooring options that you have to choose from. Your choices in a bedroom normally fall into either carpeting or hardwood flooring though.
- Carpet: The main benefit of carpet is in the softness that it provides, and the insulation that it provides to your room. Carpet that is in the average price ranger will cost around $300/square yard. For a 12’x12’ room this can cost in the neighborhood of $450.
- Hardwood: Most buyers in today’s market are looking for hardwood flooring. Just like there are many different options for bedroom floors, there are also many different hardwood flooring options. Average quality solid hardwood flooring
- Plumbing ($6000): Making your attic into a true master suite will mean adding in a bathroom. You can try to reduce this cost by placing your bathroom over an existing bathroom below. This allows you to tie into the vent stack and plumbing with less cost. A simple bathroom may cost upwards of $6000 depending on the size of bathroom you decide to create. Something else to consider is weight, while you may want a marble tub and marble flooring the costs involved to increase the weight bearing capabilities may be extravagant.
The Big Truth Behind Small Attic Remodel Costs
A small attic doesn’t have to remain an empty, unused area of your home. Even a small attic space can be remodeled into a cozy bedroom or a useful guest bedroom. But how much does it cost to remodel a small attic? The cost of remodeling a small attic is not an exact science, each home is built to different standards and have a different layout. While we would love to be able to tell you that you will spend a specific amount it is not that simple. The answer to the question of “How much does it cost to remodel a small attic?” depends largely on the decisions that you make regarding materials and quality.
The small attic remodel that you wish to pursue can be expected to cost in the ballpark of $40,000, much less expensive than a luxury remodel with an included bathroom. This project will add value to your home as well. On average you will retain around 60% of the value of your remodeling budget. This means for an average remodel of $40,000 you will be able to increase the value of your home by $24,000. This is not
- Walls: Unless you are going for an open concept or loft idea, you will need walls. Each 100 square feet of wall (a 10’x10’ wall section) is going to cost around $500 to construct. If it is difficult to determine costs by this method you can measure out linear feet. To get an estimate measure out how many linear feet of wall you want in your attic remodel and expect to pay around $50.00 per foot.
- Floors: Most attic floors are not made to support the weights involved with an actual room. The floor joists are thinner and not intended to support walls and furniture. This requires you to increase the amount of weight that they can support. To accomplish this you will usually “sister” the existing joists with new boards to make them capable of holding your new room up. This will cost between $100 and $300 per joist that must be reinforced. For every 12 feet of attic space you can expect 9 joists to be involved, making a total between $900 to $2700.
- Stairs: If your attic wasn’t intended to be living space it likely is accessed through a pull down stair. Few attics are made with a set of stairs that are up to code. This means adding a set of stairs into your budget. Even a small attic will need proper access. Adding in a set of prebuilt, straight stairs will cost approximately $2000. This includes material and labor.
- Ceiling: Your attic ceiling will require drywall to be useful as a living space. To put drywall in place this will cost you between $3.40 and $4.35 per square foot. This price includes labor and material.
- Trim: Finishing off your walls requires baseboards and trim. Baseboard and non-ornamental trim work costs in a range from $5.25 through $8.57.
- Flooring: The cost to do the flooring in your attic will be largely determined by the quality you wish to buy. Purchasing low end materials will make this price low, high end carpet or rare wood floors will push the cost up much higher.
- Carpet: The cost for average range carpeting will be approximately between $20 and $40 a square yard. This will equate to around $300 to $600 for a 12×12 room.
- Hardwood: Costing between $10 and $14 a square foot hardwood is a more expensive option. For a 12’x12’ room this will cost upwards of $1400 to install.
- Cabinetry: Knee wall cabinets are an almost necessary addition to a small attic project. They free up valuable floor space by moving your storage to normally unusable areas. Cabinetry should cost you around $300 or more depending on quality.
- Dormer: To gain the necessary space in a small attic will likely require a dormer. A dormer large enough to give you enough room can easily run from $5000 to $20,000. This price includes the necessary window, but does not include the cost of insulation and drywall.
- Heating/AC: Your attic must have both heating and air conditioning to be a space you can spend any amount of time in. Even with insulation your space won’t be comfortable without it. Extending ductwork up to your new attic space costs up to $1000. A new thermostat is often a good idea and allows for separate control for your attic. Add $300 to install a thermostat in the attic.
- The other cost to consider is that when you add a whole new space to your existing setup is if your existing system is capable of supporting it. If your new addition will require you to upgrade your system this is another $5000 to include in your budget.
- Plumbing: Adding a bathroom to your small attic remodel is not the wisest option most of the time. When you are dealing with a small area it is often not large enough to be made into separate rooms. Adding a simple bathroom can cost up to $6000, depending on materials. The more extravagant your bathroom is the higher the cost will be.
- Skylights: A fixed skylight will allow much needed natural light into your attic. For a small attic remodel this is even more important. Natural light helps a small area seem larger. Putting a skylight into place averages $900.
- Windows: Your attic will need windows. To put one in place averages $500 for a standard, double paned insulated window. Ornate, larger size, or specialized windows will be significantly more expensive.
- Insulation: Insulation is of paramount importance for your attic remodel. Without a good form of insulation your attic bedroom will be more like a bedroom sauna. With the angle of the roof making some types of insulation less effective spray foam should be considered. While much more expensive it will last longer and be more effective. Batt insulation can fall away from the inner surface and become ineffective. Spray foam insulation will cost approximately $.70 to $1 per board foot.
There are some special considerations when you are remodeling a small attic. This type of project comes with benefits and drawbacks that are not the same as a full sized room remodel. A small attic remodel can allow you to use higher quality materials that would be too costly in a large room. However, being a smaller space you have to sometimes sacrifice what you want in a room, for what you have space for.
11 Things No One Told You About How to Remodel an Attic on a Budget
An attic remodel can be an expensive endeavor. With a national average of around $50,000 needed to accomplish an attic remodel finding ways to save money can be important. Remodeling your attic on a smaller budget isn’t easy, but it can be done.There is no one magic way to save money. The best way to save money is to think every purchase through and to focus on the things you find most important. A budget is one of the best weapons you have for fighting high costs.
- Don’t Go Overboard: Although there is no law stating how much money each room in your home should have there are some generally accepted ideas. For an attic remodel the best advice is to keep the total value of your attic at around 15% of the value of your home.
- To keep your costs down use a budget: A budget is never written in stone, but it lets you make decisions based on a goal. Your budget should begin with total amount you have to spend on the remodel. Use this budget to determine where to put money from this total.
- Plan: There is no better way to remodel on a budget than to plan your remodel out carefully. It is not enough to budget for your remodel. By taking the time to sit down and meticulously plan out your remodel you avoid costly delays and mistakes.
- Decide Priorities: As you proceed with your attic remodel the best way to ensure you can complete it is to first determine what is most important to you. If crown molding and embellishments are on the top of your wish list then you must sacrifice in other areas. There is no one way to do this process, only you can know what is important.
- Make good choices: The main goal to doing an attic remodel on a budget is to make smart choices. When you are working with a limited budget every choice has to be thought of in that manner. Each item you decide has to be balanced against the other needs to complete your remodel.
- Find Deals: Shop online and look for the best deals that you can find. There’s also local auctions, and other places you can look for low cost materials. You may need to be open to not getting exactly what you want, but finding something that you like just as much.
- Do as much of the work on your own: This is one of the easiest ways to get the most out of a budget remodel. By pitching in as much as possible you free up funds for materials. Even if you are not very good at remodeling there are places you can lend a hand. Demolition, trash removal, transporting materials, these are all ways an unskilled home owner can get the most out of their budget.
- Be open to used items: Look for used materials, these can offer significant savings over brand new items. Look for a remodel store or a habitat for humanity type “ReStore”. Outlets such as these offer savings that can stretch your budget.
- Avoid a bathroom: One of the biggest expenses in an attic remodel is including a bathroom into your bedroom idea. This is an idea is one that you should avoid on a budget remodel. Even if you are able to locate the bathroom where you can easily tie into existing lines you likely will need to open the ceiling below.
- Accent with Paint: Instead of crown molding or other structural changes for accents, use paint. A feature wall or other painted accent can make your attic remodel look upscale, without the impact on your budget.
- Avoid Wallpaper: The price difference between paint and wallpaper can be nearly three times as much. To keep within your budget, stick to painted walls. If you want to have some wallpaper the best choice is to keep it for an accent wall to limit the costs.
20 Great Ways to Save Money on Your Attic Remodel
An attic remodel can be an expensive proposition. There are ways to save some of your costs as you go through the process of your remodel. Your attic is normally unfinished bare studs, so there are no savings to be found by using or upgrading the existing areas. This means to get the best out of your budget you will need to look outside of your attic for ways to save money. With the average cost to remodel an unfinished attic almost $50,000 you should do all you can to find ways to trim your budget. These 20 ways to save money on your attic remodel are a great place to start looking at making your remodel as inexpensive as possible.
20 Ways to save money on your attic remodel
1) Check the structure first: While it may seem wrong to suggest spending money to save money, hire an engineer to look over the structure. By ensuring the structure is sound you can avoid a much costlier fix later in the process.
2) Labor Costs: Unless you do all the work yourself labor is often a significant part of the budget. Doing as much of the work yourself can save you in the long run. Don’t forget transportation and cleanup work as well. These simple tasks can often be done by any home owner.
3) Recycle: Purchase materials at Habitat for humanity “ReStore’s”. These and other similar places can often sell you the materials that you need for a fraction of the cost. slightly used materials can usually be repainted and be indistinguishable from newer materials.
4) Wholesale savings: Wholesale prices can often be more than half off of retail prices. Contact building supply stores, and even specific contractors to see if you can get some savings.
5) Avoid canister lights: Canister lights are often three times the cost of normal light fixtures. Stick to normal lights and you can save money on your budget.
6) Low Cost Alternatives: Often the marble floor you are looking for, or the high price hard wood, is beyond your budget. Explore lower cost alternatives, like laminates and engineered wood. These can give you a great look without the huge hit to your budget.
7) Pre-Purchase: Buy all the building materials before you begin your project. By having all of the materials on hand you avoid costly delays. It also lets you check positioning.
8) Don’t change the plan: Once you have your attic remodel plan in place don’t change it. Changing the plan during your remodel can mean you have purchased materials you will never use.
9) Purchase damaged items: When looking for supplies ask to purchase floor models or those that have been returned. These can often be purchased at a discount.
10) Purchase Used: Explore the classified section for deals. Home owners and contractors will often offer remnants through classified to try to recoup some of their costs.
11) Buy Carpet Remnants: Remnants can often be found at a greatly discounted price. Carpet remnants are the last 20’ or so of larger rolls of carpets. They are the same unused carpeting just in smaller sections.
12) Compare Contractors: Always explore hiring different contractors. Remember that they are not doing you a favor, you are hiring them. So get quotes from multiple contractors to try to find the best price in your area.
13) Pay up Front: Sometimes a discount can be found for those willing to pay in cash up front. This goes along with preplanning for your remodel, having the cash on hand will be useful as well as potentially rewarding.
14) Paint the walls: Wallpaper is more expensive than paint. So by deciding to use paint instead of wallpaper you can save some money on your wall coverings.
15) Wall appliques: Avoid the cost of custom paint jobs or murals by using wall appliques. These can often be found at craft stores as well as big box home improvement stores.
16) Buy at Auction: There are often savings to be had when you buy supplies at auction. Look in local building stores for auction dates, or check online to find them.
17) Shop at thrift stores: Looking for lamps, nightstands, and other bedroom furniture? Your local thrift store can have great options at low prices. Some of the furniture won’t be usable of course. But with some elbow grease and a little refinishing other pieces may be just what you are looking for.
18) Light Tubes: If you are not turning your attic into a bedroom consider using light tubes instead of windows. This can save around $1000 over installing a window.
19) Do the work: The best way to save money is to do as much of the actual remodeling as you can. This can involve teaching yourself how to do certain tasks. Be honest with yourself about your capabilities though.
20) Take advantage of the season: If you can hold off your remodel until right after the new year you may be able to save 4 to 5 percent. This off time for contractors means they need your work more.
12 of the Smartest Attic Remodel Ideas That Increase Home Value
When you are consider an attic remodel there are two main ideas behind your plans. Our attic remodel ideas that increase home value will guide you on the right path as you consider your remodel plans. You are usually either remodeling for your own use, or you are remodeling to try to increase the value of your home. The choices that you make will be guided by one of these two intentions. Of course if you can satisfy both of these goals with the same choice then you are even better off.
Before you begin, decide if your pursuing an attic remodel that will increase home value, or one that is intended to provide you with a space meant for long term enjoyment. Each attic is a unique project, and no one guide can give you all of the information you may need to get the most value out of your efforts. With an attic remodel possibly costing around $50,000 getting the most return from your investment is a very real consideration. Our guide will help you make decisions that help your attic remodel increase the value of your home.
- Efficient Use of Space: Using your attic space rather than extending the footprint of your home can increase the value of your home by up to 61% of the money you put into the remodel. This makes your attic remodel of moderate value compared to some other rooms.
- Lures the Buyer: A finished attic space can be something of value to your home by drawing potential buyers into the sale. It both adds another story to the home, and is a project they will never have to do. While this doesn’t always come down to more dollars in the eventual sale, it can be the difference between a potential buyer picking your home, or another.
- Get Advice: One of the best ways to get the most value out of your attic remodel is to talk to a realtor. They will know what the local market is looking for, and help you make the choices necessary to get the best value out of the remodel. This helps you avoid the trap of picking what you like, and thinking that everyone will like it as well.
- Don’t personalize: The worst way to move forward if you are trying to increase your home value is to make your attic overly personalized. Stick to options that will appeal to the broadest possible audience. This will mean your attic will increase the value of your home by bringing in as many potential buyers as possible.
- Simple is best: Keeping the space simple allows it to be pictured in just about any sort of configuration by potential buyers. So keep your style simple and minimalist with only one or two things to give it a “wow” factor.
- Don’t Overprice: It is sometimes an impulse to put every dime you can round up into your remodel. This will not always turn out to be the best investment. To increase the value of your home you must keep your remodel in line with the rest of your home. An attic that is obviously far and away more expensive than the original bedrooms in your home will only detract from your home’s value.
- Stick to the Style: As you remodel keep your attic in the same style as the rest of your home. If you have a home that is a arts and crafts, don’t construct an attic in colonial style. The differences between the rooms in the home will make the value of your home less. So keep with the style of the rest of your home in order to get the best value for your remodel.
- Always have a wow: Even with the need to keep your style simple and your choices appealing to the broadest audience possible, you can’t make it so bland it is not interesting in some way. A feature wall, or an upgraded style to some element is something that will pay dividends in the long run. Plan carefully and use these to your best advantage.
- Hardwood Sells: As you make choices, don’t avoid the hardwood. While it might take a chunk out of your budget, many buyers are looking for it. By ensuring that you don’t skimp on the flooring you make your attic remodel more attractive and increase the overall value of your home.
- Don’t forget Tech: A good way to increase your home’s value is by adding a bit of tech to your remodel. Add in outlets with USB chargers, wire speakers in, or place wireless speakers. This is something to do judiciously though, and only after looking for what is current.
- Do the Research: One of the most important things you can do in order to increase your homes value is to compare your home to others in the area. To truly increase the value of your home you should make your attic just slightly better than any others in your area. This will keep you within the comparable market, but just at the top of it. This is your true goal, you will get the most out of your remodel by being just slightly better than the others nearby.
- Buy for value: Another good way to increase your home value with an attic remodel is to buy at the lowest possible price point. To accomplish this look for auctions, and remnant sales. Buy on bargain and each dollar you save increases the value of your home by that much. Never forget that you can also sometimes make initial purchases at home improvement stores and get a discount at the time you sign up for a card or rewards program.
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.