When you have the need to expand your home, additional space is sometimes hard to find. However, having an attic can be very beneficial, because you can transform it into a cozy bedroom, or suitable storage space. It won’t be an easy task to remodel an attic, but it can really pay off in the long run. More space will add value to your home and give you the comfort you desire. It is one of the more unique areas to work with and has some special considerations, but with the right guidance, you can transform it into a really nice space.
Determine if you can remodel an attic at all
Having an attic is beneficial to every home, but not all can be converted to usable living space. In order to determine if the remodeling is even a possibility, hire a contractor to inspect the space. He will have good knowledge of both the local building codes and construction’s capacity to endure the changes.
Here are some of the conditions:
- Determine the purpose – If you wish only to create a safe place for keeping your things, remodeling attic for that purpose truly doesn’t pay off. It will be much more costly than renting one of the many affordable storage units Sudbury can offer.
- Size of the space – In order to remodel an attic into a bedroom, space usually need to have a height of 7 feet and square footage of 70 feet. It can differ from one municipality to others, but this is a common standard.
- Stairs – A livable attic will also need stairs up into the space that complies with codes, as well as a window that is large enough to be used as an emergency escape route.
- Flooring – Floor requirements are the ability to support the additional weight of flooring, walls, and furniture.
- The trusses – This is another major consideration since it can be expensive to replace the trusses. Especially if they are manufactured ones, which normally have a set of cross members that serve as structural supports and look like a “W” rather than an “A”.
- Electricity – Examine your existing electrical system to see if it will support the additional loads of your livable attic space. Putting in a new system can come with significant costs.
Set the budget
If the contractor gives you the green light, before making any remodeling plans, consider your finances. It can be really pricey to remodel an attic, considering that a Canadian average for this task is around $50,000.
So you need to make a decision is how much are you willing to spend. Once you have the budget you’re comfortable with, make a rough estimate of how much you are going to spend on each element of your remodel. This includes dividing your budget between any electrical or plumbing you decide to put into it, framing, flooring, wall treatments, and interior decoration.
If you have any extra money left in your moving to Sudbury budget, try not to spend it. Keep it in a safe place, for unpredictable situations. Many things can go wrong when you’re improving your home, so it’s best to have some extra money on the side.
You will need proper permits in order to remodel an attic
For any major structural changes to your home, it is necessary to get proper permits from the local authorities. Even if you’re hiring a contractor to do the entire job, this task is still up to you to accomplish.
Well before the project even start.
In fact, after setting your budget, this is the first thing to tackle. It can take a lot of time to get proper permits and gather all the necessary documentation. Ensure that you have enough time to make all the requests and get the right approvals.
Never start to remodel an attic or any other part of your home without the permit. You can invest thousands of dollars into changes, just so the inspection put a stop to it. In the best case scenario, you can start over when you get the permits. The worst case scenario is that you have to return your attic into its original state, which will mean more investment into nothing. You can also face some money penalty for remodeling without the proper legal permission.
Reinforcing structural elements
Before you can start to remodel an attic, there are big chances that structure will need some reinforcement. Since it isn’t foreseen as the living space, attics are rarely constructed with the ability to hold the weight of finished rooms.
Joists will probably need reinforcement – either by doubling them or by the inclusion of a beam to hold the additional weight. This may be very expensive, but it’s an unavoidable step even when you’re remodeling your home on the budget.
Continue to remodel an attic by these steps
- Flooring – After you reinforced your structure, it’s time to make a stable floor surface. It is always a good idea to put sound insulation, which goes before flooring.
- Walls – When the flooring is complete, it’s time to create some walls. This includes framing out any built-in storage options that you want to add.
- Insulation – This is a critical feature since the roof is the only thing between your room and harsh weather conditions. It will be boiling hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter without proper insulation. Using spray foam insulation is more costly, but the most effective solution which will pay off in the long run.
- Heating and air conditioning – Before any finishing touches, take care of these features. Even with the isolation, your attic will probably need some form of at least heat source.
- Electrical or plumbing installation – The last step before finishing off your walls is to run any electrical or plumbing units if necessary. Keep in mind that this is a project which you can’t do on your own. It requires hiring a professional electrician or plumber.
- Drywall and wall covering – While drywall is cheaper your attic is composed of odd angles, so consider paneling. Paneling may be a bit more expensive initially, but in the long run, you save a lot of work on repairing the small damages caused by furniture meeting drywall.