If you are looking for an easy way to increase living space in your home without adding a room on, you may want to consider converting your attic. While you won’t have to deal with major zoning restrictions, there are still some building codes as well as some others concerns that you may have to deal.
While building codes may be seen as a major obstacle, they are there to keep you and your home safe. Codes vary based on location, so you will need to speak to a local inspector or contractor to get a list of local codes. However, basic codes tend to be the same everywhere. For example, codes normally require that ceilings are seven feet six inches high if a room has 70 square feet of floor area. In addition, there should be a minimum of two exits, such as a door and a window.
Structural Integrity of the Roof
The rafters or trusses that frame your roof will determine whether or not an attic conversion is even possible and what it could potentially look like. Internal beams and rafters that extend from the roof’s peak to the roof’s eaves will ensure that the attic can easily be remodeled and that there will be a lot of open space in the center of the room. W-shaped trusses, however, will make the remodel much more difficult, as it could mean that you will need to cut through and alter the framing. In some cases, it may not be a good idea to modify the trusses. A contractor or structural engineer can inform you whether or not you should move forward with a conversion.
Getting Access to the Attic Space
To meet code, a standard staircase will need to be built, as a ladder will not suffice. The addition of a ladder will take up space below the attic, so it may be a good idea to consider a closet conversion. Straight run staircases are easy to build, but will take up the most space (more than 40 square feet). Spiral staircases are beautiful and take up little space; however, they usually cost more. If you have little interior space to work with, you may want to consider going with an exterior access staircase.
While the aforementioned needs to be considered before you jump into an attic conversion, converting your attic into usable living space is a great way to add value to your property in the event that you ever decide to sell it. Plus, you’ll get use out of it until you move – most homeowners who do convert their attics do not have regrets.