Attic Conversions: 4 Things to Consider

Many homes have large, unused attics that are perfect for creative home remodeling projects. Attic conversions are a great way to add an extra bedroom, storage room, office space, craft room, or even bathroom suite. Before you dive headfirst into such a project, keep in mind that attic renovations require thoughtful planning.

Consider the following when planning an attic conversion:

1. Access. One of the most important things to consider in your attic renovation project is how you will get in and out of the space if you do not already have a staircase or entryway leading to the attic.  A pull-down staircase or a ladder is not a practical or safe mode of entry into a room that will have a lot of traffic, so you will need to think about where you can add a staircase.

2. Make a plan for the sloped walls. Attics set in steep roof pitches need creative planning to maximize the amount of living space available. Consider installing a knee wall to increase the amount of non-sloped wall space available. You can use the area behind a knee wall for storage or as a closet so the space is not wasted.

3. The existing frame. Your contractor will need to examine the joists used in the attic’s frame. Often, attic floor joists are not strong enough to hold the weight of a new room, so the installation of additional lumber may be required. If your attic has cross braces or collar ties, talk to a professional about how you can remove these without sacrificing the structural integrity of the room.

4. Lighting. In addition to lamps, consider installing a window or skylight in the attic.  Natural light is a great way to enhance daytime visibility and save on electricity.

An attic conversion is an exciting project that will increase the living space in your home. Take the time to plan the project carefully so you can maximize the room’s use.

[photo: Katherine Nagl]