If your home has an attic, the chances are that it is a dusty, cobweb-covered place used to store old boxes and broken furniture. If this is the case, you have a missed opportunity on your hands. Your attic might not look like much, but it is a hugely valuable piece of real estate that could be turned into an extra bedroom, living room, or a home office. By converting it into a usable living area, not only do you have a spare room in your home to enjoy, but you will also dramatically increase your property’s value. If the time comes to sell your house in the future, the extra value should more than match the investment you put into your attic conversion.
Although there are many benefits to converting your loft space, it is not a project to be taken lightly. It will require a great deal of planning, money, and hard work to get it right, but the results will pay off in the end. It can seem like an overwhelming task, but the tips below are designed to help you manage your priorities and get the job done as efficiently as possible.
Get the red tape out of the way
First things first, you need to check that you are legally allowed to convert your attic. Your conversion will have to meet building codes in the same way as the other rooms in your house. Check the local requirements for your property and ensure your space fits the criteria. If not, you may need to do some more work when you come to convert it. These guidelines will usually require a certain amount of vertical space and square footage, accessibility via a full-sized staircase, and an emergency exit such as a large window. You may also need a permit for your conversion, particularly if you are installing electrics or ventilation, so reach out to a permitting office to get yourself legally set up.
Clean out your attic
Depending on how you look at it, this will either be the most unpleasant job or the most satisfying. This is your opportunity to turn your attic into a blank slate that you can turn into anything you wish. Clear out all the debris and give it a deep clean from head to toe.
Wire it up
Now that your attic is clean and up to code, you will undoubtedly want to install electrics. This way you will be able to enjoy TV, computers, music or a place to charge your phone in your new space. Hire a licensed electrician to do the work for you.
Build a subfloor
If the joists and supports are visible on the floor, you will need to install a subfloor to cover them. This should only be done once the electricity has been wired. You may want to add insulation below the sub-flooring to minimize any sound traveling to the rooms below.
Insulate your attic
Attics are often cold, draughty spaces, so it will need to be adequately insulated to turn it into a usable living area. You can either order some insulation and do the job yourself or hire a company to take care of the attic insulation installation for you.
Install walls, ceiling and floors
To give your attic a more homely feel, you will want to put up some drywall. This will improve the room’s aesthetics as well as covering up insulation and wiring. If adding in a dropped ceiling, you will need to be careful that it is still high enough to conform to the building codes. Consider the type of flooring you’d prefer. Carpeting is a good option as it has a comfortable, homely feel and provides additional insulation. It will also muffle footsteps to prevent sound traveling.
Paint the walls
Once you have chosen a colour scheme and painted the walls, your attic will really start to feel like a proper living space. You will need to add at least two coats of paint for the best results. Consider bright colors to create a more positive space, particularly as your attic may be limited in the amount of natural light it receives.
Fill your space
Your attic conversion is complete and ready to go. Now all you need to do is fill your new space with all the items it needs to be a fully-functional room of your house. Kit it out with furniture, storage units, artwork, and personal items to add some character. You can now enjoy your brand new living space to your heart’s content.