How Do You Convert an Attic Into a Living Space?


Quick Answer

Converting an attic into a living space involves consulting to see whether building codes allow the remodel, confirming that the support structures are in place to allow the conversion, extending infrastructure to the attic and creating easy access to the new room. While converting an attic to a living space is a good way to make use of the area, a contractor may have to confirm that the conversion is cost-effective or even possible.

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Full Answer

  1. Confirm building codes regarding an attic conversion

    Check the ceiling height of your attic space. If the height is lower than local building codes require, you may not be able to convert the attic without raising the roof. Consult a structural engineer to determine if the attic's floor joists can support the weight of the remodel and whether the space can also accommodate the additional infrastructure. In addition, your new living space may require multiple exits.

  2. Check to see if your attic roof has trusses or rafters

    If your attic roof is held up with rafters, it should convert into living space fairly easily. If the roof is dependent on trusses, substantial modifications may be required.

  3. Expand infrastructure to the attic

    Make sure your electrical panel can handle the increased load to the attic; if so, extending electricity is simple. If you're adding a bathroom or other plumbing such as a sink, make sure your design calls for any toilets to be placed near the main stack which carries waste water to the sewer. Confirm heating and cooling plans with a specialist to see what must be added.

  4. Add access to the attic

    Look for a space to add a staircase, which is required by building codes. You may be able to convert a closet or part of a hallway to stairway space. Consider a spiral staircase or an outside staircase if you have limited floor space available.

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