Attic Finishing & Conversions:
Do you feel like you’re running out of space? If you have unused attic space, a well-designed attic finishing project can reward you with a great new craft room, home office, family room, kids’ retreat or a private suite brimming with closets and a luxurious bath.
Your existing home’s structure provides limits and options. The biggest problems are typically providing stair access, framing issues, electric and plumbing concerns, and insulation.
Small Lot, Tight Budget: An Attic Conversion May be a Great Solution
If your home can’t be expanded outward with a traditional addition, expanding up into the attic is a great way to add new space and sometimes more cost effectively. Not only does an attic conversion add more living area to your home, it often is less expensive per square foot than a traditional addition.
While attic finishing comes with plenty of space planning and energy-efficiency issues, we have plenty of experience in meeting these challenges with practical solutions — and real creativity. Here are just a few considerations to keep in mind as you begin thinking about remodeling that dusty attic storage space into sparkling new living space!
Photo courtesy Andersen Windows
Attics: A Different Angle on Remodeling
Attic remodeling means working with a design that accommodates beams and sloping ceilings. The key is paying close attention to details so that the project can be planned around the specific function you want the space to serve. The more specific you can be about the function, the easier it will be to balance the structural reality of the attic with functional elements such as storage, lighting, and plumbing. To accommodate storage, for example, we often recommend built-in cabinets that can tuck in along the roof slope. This provides storage while “squaring up” the living space with the highest points of the ceiling. Depending on the existing structure of the attic (and your budget), the roof can also be opened up to create higher ceilings and taller windows that take full advantage of that rooftop view.
Energy Savings: The Big Challenge in Finishing an Attic
Your attic is a key area for energy savings or loss. The good news is that factoring energy efficiency into your attic remodeling project can mean lower energy bills for your entire home. Insulation is a primary consideration, including getting both the ceiling and walls equipped with the right insulation to keep your remodeled attic comfortable for our area’s climate. If you will be running plumbing upstairs for a bathroom, it’s important to place the pipes away from exterior walls. The way your windows, siding and insulation are all installed so they can work together with your heating and cooling systems will determine how comfortable your attic will feel and your utility costs.
An Attic Remodel that Works Well Year Round
It’s no small project to design heating and cooling systems that will keep your attic conversion as pleasantly livable in summer as it is in winter. Running new ductwork is just part of the challenge. That ductwork also needs to be properly sealed. If running new ductwork isn’t possible – structurally or budget-wise – you need to consider creative ways to incorporate “stand alone” options into your attic’s heating, ventilation and cooling system design. Your home’s insulation envelope needs to be designed so as to avoid humidity issues. Framing must allow for plumbing products and still provide structural integrity. And of course all the changes must comply with building codes.
Of course, you don’t really have to worry about issues like these! If you’re thinking of an attic conversion project, we’d be delighted to take care of all the details that will ensure you can enjoy your beautiful new living space for many years to come.Share