How to Finish an Attic - A Complete Guide

License #1035247

CALL NOW! San Diego: 858-246-7421 or Orange County/Los Angeles: 714-769-0228

License #1035247

CALL NOW! San Diego: 858-246-7421 or Orange County/Los Angeles: 714-769-0228

How to Finish an Attic

Homeowners needing extra storage space or an additional room should consider looking up. Your attic provides a great new space in your home and costs less to update than building an addition. Learn how to finish an attic and how to expand your living space, whether you need a new room or more storage space.

Importance of Finishing an Attic

Finishing your attic provides more than a cosmetically improved space. A finished attic promotes air circulation throughout your home, making your house more comfortable and contributing to overall climate control. Before getting started, you’ll need to know how to finish an attic space, how much it costs, and how to stay legally compliant throughout the process.

You may ask, “How much does it cost to finish an attic?” The answer depends on the size of your attic, how much work it needs, and what you want to do with it afterward.

Points to Remember before finishing an Attic

1. Building Permit

Depending on your location, you may need a building permit before converting your attic. Most local permitting offices require you to obtain a permit under certain conditions, including:

  • Adding ventilation to your attic
  • Wiring electricity for lighting or outlets
  • Performing structural changes to your home

If you believe you may need to do more than install insulation or flooring, call your permit office and ask how to finish out an attic within local building codes and parameters.

2. Heating and Ventilation Needs

Homeowners asking, “How much is it to finish an attic,” should consider that most attics will need ventilation and heating to keep them in their best condition. A professional HVAC technician can help you determine how to add the room to your current HVAC system or install an additional unit.

3. Ceiling Height

To use your attic as a living space, you should have a vertical clearance of at least seven feet. When wondering, “How much to finish an attic space,” consider that any ceiling below seven feet in height may require you to redo your roof entirely.

4. Attic Exits

Every attic must have an additional exit in case of a house fire or emergency. If your attic doesn’t have an exit besides the ladder down, consider installing a window large enough for an adult to get through.

5. Cost to Finish an Attic

How much does it cost to finish an attic? This question depends on your needs and your attic’s size, though the approximate cost for materials averages around $5,000. If you want to estimate “How much would it cost to finish an attic,” consider these typical materials and services:

  • Duct and Vent Installation.
  • Additional Construction, like building walls, ceilings, subfloors, or stairs.
  • Painting, staining, or papering the walls.
  • Electrical Wiring and Installation.

The Process of Finishing an Attic

1. Clean Out Your Attic

The first step to converting your attic to a more usable space involves clearing the space for new insulation, drywall, and flooring. Use an industrial vacuum to remove old loose insulation and move any stored items out of the room.

2. Wire the Attic for Electricity

If you need to install new electrical wiring in your attic, first obtain a permit if your area requires one. Then, hire a professional, licensed electrician to install your wiring. They’ll ensure that your attic’s wiring meets local building codes and won’t cause future problems, like failed outlets or electrical fires.

3. Build a Subfloor

Walking on your attic joists works well until you slip and put a foot through your ceiling. A subfloor offers multiple benefits, including:

  • Ensuring the safety of ceilings below
  • Helping insulate your attic
  • Covering electrical wiring or ventilation equipment
  • Lowering the volume of sounds coming from the attic to rooms below

4. Insulate Your Attic

Insulation acts as a sound dampener while also keeping your attic at a comfortable temperature. DIYers prefer batt insulation since it comes in easy-to-install rolls and offers ultimate flexibility.

5. Install Drywall and Ceiling

If you’re wondering about “How to finish an attic,” covering up your attic’s insulation completes the space and makes it look and feel like an actual room.

6. Paint Attic Ceiling and Walls

Choose colors that make the space feel bigger. Lighter paint colors help you brighten the room, especially if you don’t install new lighting throughout the area.

7. Choose and Install Attic Flooring

Attic carpeting helps to dampen sound further while making your attic a comfy space. If you prefer a hard floor, many options exist to meet your ideal style.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Finishing an Attic

When finishing an attic, many homeowners come to us with questions. Some of the most frequent ones we hear include:

Is it worth Finishing an Attic?

When considering “How much to finish an attic,” remember that a finished attic offers you many opportunities. The benefits of a new space in your home will easily justify the initial costs of finishing your attic.

Does a finished Attic add Resale Value?

When installed well, a finished attic can increase your home’s value. Besides providing more storage space, as long as you meet local building codes, you can count the attic as an additional room when selling your house.

How to use your Finished Attic Space?

Finished attics let you create a room to your specifications. Use your finished attic as:

  • A Playroom
  • Storage Space
  • A New Bedroom

Consider adding a bathroom during construction if you plan to use your finished attic as a living space or bedroom. While this requires a higher investment, the resale value will rise if you sell your home.

If you got here by searching “how to finish an attic,” this guide should answer all your questions. You’ll find that your home suddenly has more space with a finished attic, whether you use the space as a new room or purely for storage.

Conclusion

For professional assistance in planning and completing your finished attic, Attic Projects will happily serve you. Call our office to request a free consultation.