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Converting Your Attic

Converting Your Attic: Things To Consider

As their families grow, many homeowners often ponder doing additions on their homes in order to create additional space to accommodate their needs.  However, while additions may bring about the needed space, they can also be costly, and if not thought out, can detract from the look of your home.  A good alternative is “building up,” which means simply remodeling that unused space you have for your upstairs storage area.  Instead, many people decide it best to "build up" by remodeling their upstairs storage area, which will both save you time and money, and it won’t intrude on your lawn and garden space.

What Think About
Before making this decision, however, you want to make sure you go in prepared.  It is essential that you have a clear goal in mind before you hire a contractor so that you can communicate your needs properly. There are a few questions you need to ask yourself so that you and your contractor are both in sync so as to work towards your ultimate goal:

What is its purpose? What do you plan to use it for?  A home office?  A rec room?  A guest room?  An additional bedroom?   The possibilities are endless, and you have to think about what your needs are.  Many homeowners think about this space like they would a finished basement, and think of fun ideas like a pool table or a bar.

Are there any obstacles?  Before starting your project, walk around with a tape measure and examine the room thoroughly.  Is the space big enough to accommodate your needs?  Do you have enough headroom? Is your roof pitched? Are these elements beneficial for you, or will they create a major inconvenience? Is the floor able to hold the weight of furniture without collapsing? These are the first things a contractor will determine before staring a project, so do your homework before you begin investing the time.

Does anything else need to be done first? With many homes, these upstairs weren't meant to be living or recreational spaces upon the design, so you may need to take additional steps to make sure the area is safe to live or socialize in.  When you build an addition, all the steps are customized around the project, so there’s no hassle.  When you remodel around existing space, you could run into hidden problems in these pre-existing structures, so make sure you don’t come up with a hat full of rain.

One thing you’ll probably have to think about is easy access. These areas usually come with pull-down stairs, so you’ll need to consider adding something more accessible. These areas are usually designed specifically for storage, so you'll have to add windows and lights to make the place look presentable. It can also get very hot or cold up there, so you’ll need extra insulation to protect against the elements. You’ll also need to consider flooring, drywall, plumbing, and electrical work. So before calling your contractor, make sure you give all of these factors equal consideration before investing time and money!

The Code
There’s also the process of getting a building permit from your municipality.  Most contractors will make sure everything is up to code and obtain permits, but you also want to make sure the space is approved for such a renovation.  There’s no need to get into legal trouble for wanting to make your home more livable!  

Remodeling your attic space is an expensive and lengthy process.  But once everything gets underway, attic conversions are a great way to add space to your home. The final result will add market appeal to your home and the extra room can always come in handy!  


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