When is it a Good Idea to Remodel the Attic?

When is it a Good Idea to Remodel the Attic?
  • Opening Intro -

    It is a good idea to remodel your attic if it needs extra space or if you want to raise the value of your home.

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Many potential uses for attic space

For those who have had their homes for a while, the attic is a tempting storage space. However, this space can be used to meet many other requirements in your home. With a little imagination and planning, you can remodel your attic to give the home that extra bit of space and functionality.

What it takes to re-purpose the attic

Before you get started on a home improvement project, it’s prudent to find out if the return will justify the investment. So, what makes a particular attic suitable for remodeling?

First, how the attic is built informs the cost of remodeling. If the roof is held up by ‘W’-shaped trusses, it may be cheaper to simply build an extra space.

Second, does the attic have any existing utilities running through or housed in it? If the attic houses the furnace, chimney or the whole-house fan, you should prepare to disguise or reroute the home’s ventilation. A contractor should be consulted to determine the cost and feasibility of re-purposing the attic.

Next, how much space and standing room is in the attic? Most building codes specify a minimum square footage and height for living spaces, because a living space should be easy to navigate. The attic should be easy to access, so space for a staircase is needed. Spiral staircases are known to use up the least amount of space.

Lastly, attics may need extra windows to serve as points of egress and sources of light and ventilation. Insulation is needed in attics that are used for anything other than storage. Also, the attic floors must be reinforced so that they are able to support the added strain of increased use.

Turning the attic into an extra bathroom

Having an extra bathroom in the attic drastically increases the resale value of a home. An extra bathroom during the morning rush is invaluable for the people that live in the home. It may take some work, but an extra bathroom is an invaluable addition to a house.

An important consideration in making an attic bathroom is space. Most building codes stipulate that more than half of a room should be at least seven feet high and seven feet wide with at least 70 square feet of floor. Because no one likes a cramped space.

As for the plumbing, the attic should ideally be located over a bathroom to reduce the cost of running the new plumbing. The closer the attic is to existing plumbing, the cheaper it will be to install the bathroom.

Bathroom fixtures are heavy and the attic floors should be strong enough to bear the weight.

If these considerations are taken into account, then the attic can be transformed into a gorgeous and relaxing bathroom, and if the attic space is large, the bathroom can be part of an en suite attic bedroom.

Making a playroom in the attic

There are few things more relaxing than hanging out in a space that is away from all the noise. Attics are ideal for a rec-room where you can relax and watch the game with only the rustling of leaves for company.

Unlike a bathroom, a rec-room is simple to install. If all the constraints of remodeling an attic are taken into account, the next most important part of making a great living space is the ambiance.

Design makes a world of difference

Clever design will make the room feel and look bigger. Adding a dormer increases the room’s height, which is great for playing games like pool and ping-pong. Adding a skylight and extra windows increases lighting and ventilation and makes a room feel spacious.

Strategic placement of furniture goes a long way in making the an attic room attractive, as well choosing the right fabric for the drapes and carpet. The choice of colors in the attic can also make the room look bigger, more welcoming, while giving out a relaxed vibe.

Is it worth it?

If an attic is suitable for a remodel, the investment is definitely worth your while. Remodeling the attic increases the amount of living space and adds value to the home at a cheaper cost than building a brand new space.

If the home were to be sold, it would fetch a better price because of the extra square feet. For the homeowner, having an extra place to get away from the noise, or an extra room for the kids or the guests is a worthy investment.

Image credit: Section View and Reflected Ceiling Plan View, on Flickr

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