If you’re looking for some extra living space in your home, the answer may lie right above your head—in your attic. Have you ever considered converting this space into an extra bedroom, playroom or master suite? Before you jump in to this home improvement project, you need to determine if the space is useable. Consider the following points.
1. First you need to figure out the structure of the attic. If you see W-shaped trusses in the attic ceiling, then it won’t support a remodel. If, on the other hand, you see A-shaped rafters supporting the roof with open space underneath the rafters, then you probably have a construction that will support remodeling.
2. How much ceiling height do you have? Check your local building codes for your state’s specifics, but most require 7 to 7 ½ feet of headroom over a floor area of at least 70 square feet, measuring 7 feet in each direction.
3. How will you access the room. Most building codes require a full-size staircase with a minimum of 6’8” clearance above it. A spiral staircase will take up less room.
4. For safety’s sake in case of a fire, make sure you have another way out of the attic, such as a window.
5. Another important consideration is the floor support. You will probably need to reinforce the floor with additional joists and a subfloor. Wiring, duct work and plumbing all need to be figured into the plan. Consult with a general contractor to lay out a master plan for your space.
6. Decide if you want to add any windows to the space. Attics tend to be dark spaces, so you may want to add another window or two for adequate lighting and ventilation. Letting in the light will help to open up the space and make it feel bigger.
7. Do you want to add a dormer or two to the construction? Adding a dormer will create more useable space and open it up even more.
8. Decide if you want a bathroom in the space. If possible, locate the bathroom directly above an already-existing bathroom on the floor below. This will help to reduce plumbing costs.
Consulting with a home remodeling expert will help you figure out the feasibility of your home improvement project as well as the type of room you will add on. You’ll be amazed that such a dark, dingy space could be transformed into a beautiful, functional room.