Things to Consider When Finishing Out your Attic Space

White Attic with Furnitures - Considerations for a Finished Attic graphic

If you are planning to convert your attic to a living space, or undertake another attic remodeling, there are some critical points you should keep in mind.

First and foremost is the question of space. You’ll need to make sure your attic is big enough to meet headroom and minimum space requirements for living areas.

The professionals at Attic Projects can help you answer this critical question first and then work with you through the entire attic remodeling process to guarantee the finished project suits your vision and goals.

How Much Space Is Needed for a Finished Attic?

There are a couple of questions to consider when assessing the basic space requirements to finish your attic. While your space may look big, remember that you’ll be installing flooring, wall, and ceiling materials that reduce the dimensions. It’s the finished space that includes all of these elements that need to satisfy the space requirements.

The International Residential Code (IRC) sets forth the requirements used by most local building codes. Any habitable room must be a minimum of 70 square feet overall, with at least 7 feet in any direction.

Hallways and living rooms must have a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet. For a room with a sloping ceiling, which is most common when you convert attic to a living space, at least 50 percent of the room needs to have a ceiling height of 7 feet.

Your attic remodeling professional is an expert in these requirements and will determine your best options for converting your attic space.

What About Roof Framing and Insulation?

In general, most houses are framed with wooden rafters or roof trusses. If you’ve taken a look at your attic space, the chances are good that you have rafters or attic trusses, which created the open space below the peak of the roof.

These structures are critical in supporting the structure of the roof, so if they are in the way of creating an open living space, removing or relocating may either lead to trouble or an expensive renovation. With luck, they’ll be in exactly the right places, and you can launch right into your attic remodeling project!

You’ll also need to assess if there is enough space in the roof framing for attic insulation. Building in enough space to provide adequate insulation for both your home and the attic space is a critical part of the design process.

What Type of Floor Should Be Used?

Most attic floors are constructed using truss members or floor joists. There is a good chance that the existing floor joists are large enough to handle the new floor.

Most building codes require that floors can handle 30 pounds per square foot, so depending on the spacing of the joists and rafters, you may need to add some structural support before laying down your attic floor.

Access the Finished Basement

Once your attic is remodeled, how do you access it?

This is a critical question many don’t think about in the beginning!

Most unfinished attics are accessed via a fold-down ladder. To make it into a usable living area, you’ll need to devote a sizable amount of space to meet standard staircase requirements.

Most building codes require stairs to be at least 3 feet wide and provide a minimum of 7 feet of headroom. You’ll also need to build a 3-foot landing at both top and bottom to meet code requirements.

Our designers are experts in building an access staircase into your attic remodeling project.

Other Considerations?

Depending on the structure of your home, you can create a fantastic new space that perfectly suits your needs! Give us a call, and we’ll discuss your attic remodeling options. We’ll also go over details like the need for natural light, heating, and appropriate ventilation.

We look forward to helping you with your attic remodeling project and creating the perfect attic space! Contact us today to get started.

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