How To Renovate the Attic

Renovating attic

Itching to change the look of your attic?  Renovating the attic may seem to be a daunting task if you have no prior experience.  But it can also be a fun and rewarding project.  Follow these steps to renovate your attic:

1.    Decide what the space will be used for. 

A playroom for the kids?  An extra bedroom in the house?  A home office?  Or do you just want to keep it as an extra storage room but with more flair?

2.    Find out if the attic is structurally sound.

Find out also if there are structural limitations that need to be addressed before the renovation. An attic is the space between the top floor and the roof.  As such, most attics are meant for storage and never intended to be living spaces. Answer these questions:

  • Does your attic have enough headroom for people to walk around comfortably?
  • Can the floor withstand the additional load?  Remember, the attic floor is the ceiling of upstairs rooms.
  • Is it well ventilated?  Although you can use electric fans to cool the attic during the hot summer months, installing windows will allow air to better circulate.
  • Are the walls and roof adequately insulated?  Adding proper insulation can lower your energy cost during the winter.  With good insulation, you may not need additional heaters to warm the room.
  • Are there any damages to the flooring or the rafters that need to be addressed?  Are all the electrical wirings intact?  If you have a rat problem, you know how they love to chew on wires and on anything made of wood.  Exposed wires are a fire hazard.
  • How do you access your attic?  Via a pull-down ladder or a door leading to a permanent but unattractive staircase?

You should consult a local building inspector or a qualified contractor (if you are hiring one) to ensure that everything is up to code.  A renovation normally requires a local permit.

3.    Design the plan.

If the project is simple, you can design the plan yourself.  But for major renovations, you may want to hire a professional contractor and/or an interior designer for the job. Ask for references and estimates before hiring anyone.  Consult interior design magazines and websites to give you additional ideas on how to update your attic.

4.    Determine your budget. 

As you design the plan, you should also decide on how much you are willing to spend.  The conversion of your attic from storage to a living area need not be expensive.  However, you may want to make provisions for any unforeseen expenses.

5.    Finally, execute the plan. 

If you have a well planned design, the renovation should be a breeze and stress free.  If you have hired professionals to do the job, there is usually an agreed length of time for the project.  But if you are doing it on your own, don’t rush.  It’s better to take a little longer to finish the renovation than end up with a haphazardly done space.

Renovating the attic need not be difficult or costly.  A well renovated attic adds value to your house should you decide to sell it.  But more importantly, it gives you a place where you can relax and retreat.  Once you’re done with the renovation, just sit back and enjoy your new attic!


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