So, your family is growing, you need more guest room space, or somewhere to locate your home office/ entertainment center/ playroom? It’s not practical to move house and too costly to build an addition, so you’re thinking of converting the attic. Great idea! Maybe…
Because whilst buzzing through inspirational attic conversion images on Pinterest is certainly getting your creative inner designer juices going, the reality is that there is a great deal to consider when planning an attic conversion to ensure that the finished project is worth the investment.
For a start, unless you are a seriously proficient DIYer and are fully (truthfully) happy to explore all the fine print and detail of building codes and regulations, you’ll want to hire a professional who can guarantee both a good, quality finish and make sure your attic conversion is safe.
But even before you get to hiring a pro and working out the budget (FYI, the average attic bedroom conversion costs just under $52,000.), there are five essential considerations that you can use to work out if remodeling your attic is the right investment project for you. So here’s what you need to know.
1. Is your attic the right kind of attic?
Basically, there are two types of roof support construction. A–framed constructions are the best for attic conversions as they are already supporting the roof load very well and can take some extra load (if for example you need to add dormer windows). W-shaped trusses, on the other hand, (where the beams supporting the roof form “W” shapes) make a much weaker construction that isn’t going to be able to support any extra load. This will mean extra cost for you to hire properly qualified experts to install a series of steel supporting beams to make your conversion safe. This is NOT a DIY job.
Also to be considered: is you attic floor construction currently sufficient to take the extra load of people/ furniture etc (code specs say it must be able to take 30 pounds per square foot)?
2. Is your attic big enough?
If your attic doesn’t provide the following specs (after you’ve allowed for the thickness of finishing materials such as carpeting, ceiling boards etc) then forget about it!
3. How are you going to access the converted attic?
You know the pull-down ladder that you access the attic from your bedroom? Well that’s not going to make the grade as far as building codes go! You will need to plan for a permanent stairway that is at least 36 inches wide, ample tread depth and head clearance. Stairway access needs to be carefully considered, as it will impact floor space both in the attic and on the floor below, though you can opt for spiral stairs that are more compact. Along with internal access to the attic, you will also need to have a proper escape route from the window.
4. How far away is the nearest bathroom?
If the answer is two floors down at the end of the hall, then you might want to consider adding a bathroom into your attic conversion plans. Doing this, by the way, will make your attic miles more desirable as, according to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value Report, an attic with a 5-by-7 foot shower room will have a 77.2% return on investment! Try to site any new bathrooms above existing ones to avoid costly plumbing bills!
5. Is it going to be super cold or super hot?
Nothing worse than a gorgeously finished attic bedroom only to find you suffer frostbite after the first night’s sleep, and then get sunstroke on the first day of summer! Factor in adequate insulation, heating and/or air con, and whilst you’re at it make sure there’s adequate sound proofing too!
So, once you’ve got through this list in detail, got all the right answers, and all seems good – then, and only then, should you start getting excited about little reading nooks or clever knee-wall storage solutions! Here’s some attic bedroom design inspiration to get your started!