Attic Renovation

A Helpful Guide To Attic Renovation

If you are tossing around the idea of attic renovation in your home, there are a lot of things to take into consideration.  How are you going to access it?  Is their suitable head room?  Are you using an existing frame?  What about lighting?  Perhaps you want to consider heating, cooling or even installing a bathroom?

A good majority of homes have an attic space that is larger than the owner even realizes, especially those with steep roof pitches.  Attic renovation is an excellent way to make use of wasted space.  Projects typically include building rooms for office space, art rooms, dance studies, bedrooms and even an additional, much needed, extra bathroom.  Before starting a project of this size, it is really important that you plan it out first rather than just make it up as you go along.

Entrance And Exit

If your home is like most, your attic may not have a conveniently accessed entrance to get into it.  If there is already a staircase or a door that is of normal height you have one less hurdle to overcome.  However, if you have a pull down ladder or you have to simply stand on a free standing ladder, then boost yourself up into the space, this is not a suitable entrance.  You will need to evaluate where the best place would be in your home to build stairs and cut a hole in the ceilings.

Headroom

If you have a steep roof pitch, your attic renovation will be a special treat because you already have a substantial amount of headroom.  If not, you will have to determine what the maximum height is that the space can offer.  It is recommended that you install knee walls to the minimum headroom level.  This could be as high as eight feet or as low as two feet, it pretty much depends on how you are using the area as well as where exactly the roof line fits into your home's outer walls.  Quite often, these are ideal areas to use for storage or closets so the space isn't totally wasted.

Framing

An important part of your attic renovation will be the framing.  Keep in mind that typical attic ceiling joists are probably not going to be strong enough to support the additional weight of the space and any contents added to it.  Therefore, you may need to add larger lumber to the existing floor and ceiling joists.  If you don't tend to the joists and they are inadequate, you will end up with cracks in your ceiling of your main space.

Your framing may also require collar ties and braces to be added.  This may require the help of a local building inspector or architect to find out how to correctly replace all of these structural supports without obstructing your living area.

Heating And Cooling

You may want to consider heating and cooling as part of your attic renovation because that space can get bitterly cold in the winter and like an oven in the summer.  Of course, you will add insulation but quite often that is not enough.  It is not always practical to add the space into your home's HVAC system so you may want to consider just using a portable heating and cooling unit.

Plumbing

If you are including a bathroom in your attic renovation, things can get a bit tricky.  You have to add it to your existing drain and vent stacks so the location of the bathroom will probably be decided for you.  You also need to make sure that you have the structural support for the additional weight if you are installing a tub.

You will have to snake some plumbing lines up there which can cause a lot of issues if you aren't qualified.  When in doubt, call a professional so that your renovation project will be guaranteed to be completed a little bit smoother.