If you’re expecting a new baby, have an elderly parent moving in with you, want to rent out part of your home for some extra cash, give a teenage child some more space of their own, or sell your property for a bigger profit, it pays to utilize every square inch of your home.
You might have an attic just sitting there, not being utilized right now. If so, turning this part of the property into usable space is an excellent use of time, energy, and funds. Here are some tips for making the most of this level in your house.
Get a Professional to Check for Potential Issues
The first step is to ensure you can legally and safely convert your attic. There are numerous considerations here. For instance, there needs to be enough space available to provide head clearance for adults in the attic, and what’s available must pass local council regulations or related zoning and other legal requirements. Typically, an attic needs a minimum seven-foot clearance once the ceiling work is completed, but building codes do vary. You’ll need to check what’s allowed in your area, and you may need to have a builder or other contractor raise the roofline to make your attic space permissible.
You’ll need to pay attention to the floor of your attic, too. While it may hold up now as a storage area for a few boxes, this doesn’t guarantee that it can do the same for lots of heavy furniture plus multiple people standing in the space. Hire a professional to complete a structural analysis of your attic to ensure it can take the weight and will comply with safety regulations. If not, modifications may be required to shore up the flooring. Always obtain the proper permits for any changes you want to make to your building and ensure you have completed paperwork when all is done to show the attic is up to code and has been both inspected and signed off on by the relevant parties.
Declutter the Area First
Next, if you’re like most people, your attic is probably currently a hold-all spot for all the “stuff” you’ve accumulated over the years and haven’t known what to do with or wanted to throw out. As such, before you can turn this top part of your home into livable space, you’ll need to do a major clear out. Spend time going through all the belongings in your attic and see if there are things you can sell, donate, recycle, or bin. You’ll probably find many things you had completely forgotten about. You may come across pest infestations or mold or other issues to rectify before you want to spend much time in the attic, too. If you still have too many things to hold onto and need somewhere to put them while you wait for the attic to get finished, consider hiring a storage unit for a time. Look online for handy options in your area by searching for “storage San Diego” or “hire a storage unit in Texas,” etc.
Add Heating and Cooling Options for Comfort
Attics provide handy space to utilize, but since hot air rises, they can become quite scorching, especially during the warmest months of the year. This means you’ll likely need to get some heating and cooling options installed in your attic so it’s pleasant to spend time there all year round. A reverse-cycle HVAC system can be a good choice since it will cool you down in summer and give you some warmth in winter, too, if you live in a cold part of the country. Some other options you could consider are installing one or more ceiling fans, depending on the size of your attic, or adding plug-in heaters or fans, or other appliances for occasional use.
Finish Off the Space
Lastly, you’ll need to finish off your attic so it’s as comfortable and inviting to be in as possible. The walls and ceiling will likely need plaster and insulation added if this hasn’t already been done, and you’ll want to add flooring such as carpet, vinyl, floorboards, or another option to reduce sound issues below and make the attic pleasant underfoot. Then, paint the ceiling and walls to dress up the room and consider if you also want to add any feature elements such as vaulted ceilings, tongue-and-groove paneling, or beadboard panels, etc., for extra style. You may also want to put in a skylight if you don’t currently get enough natural light in your attic. This light will be essential if you’re going to use the space as an office.
You’ll also need to hire a licensed electrician to check or install lights, power points, and other wiring for your attic, such as television or internet cables. Add smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for safety, too. Doing up an attic can give your property a significant amount of extra living or working space and give you more value to boot. There’s no time like the present to start updating your home if funds allow, so why not get busy turning this space into a comfortable zone today?