Convert your attic into a beautiful living space

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If you have a decent sized attic, you are sitting on a potential treasure chest. Redoing the attic can not only create additional room for you, but also increase the overall re-sale value of your home. Quit thinking of using it as a mere storage space, and get set to revamp it into so much more.

Attics can be converted into a spare bedroom, a children’s play room, your game room, a study or even a home office.  It can be converted into a quite reading corner you want to escape to, or even a miniature garden area. Treat your attic like an extra room and you’ll begin to realize its full possibility.

But before you cook up those attic dreams, you need to pick up on some ground realities. Will it have the strength and capacity to get converted into a living space? Will the floor hold the weight of a few people and the few extra things you plan to add to the space? How much money are you willing to spend on a remodelling project to do up the attic? Please bear in mind that some attics may need significant modifications in both flooring and roofing. If you are willing to undertake the entire process, then read on.

First check the laws and rules

Your local or municipal laws may impose a bunch of restrictions on attic conversion. Most of these laws are set keeping in mind the safety of the home owner, and the potential long term impact of the structural modification. Here are some of the laws you need to keep in mind.

-  You can replace your existing roof with the same material without seeking permission from the society or the local municipality.

-   You can’t remove or replace any structure members or load bearing walls. If your roof has one of these, then you’ll have to keep it as it is and do your modifications around it.

-   You can’t change the vertical or horizontal existing dimension of a structure. It means, if your attic doesn’t have much height, you can’t build over without prior permissions.

-   You can’t add or extend a mezzanine floor or loft without prior permission. (that doesn’t mean you can’t use what you have)

-   You can’t flatten your roof or repair it with a different material

-   You can’t increase the internal height of a structure

A lot of these laws can make attic conversion challenging, so consult a local engineer or architect to determine what can be done in your specific jurisdiction before you come up with attic ideas.

Is it high enough?

Attic comes in all shapes and sizes. Typically the rule of 7 applies to an attic. It should be at least 7 feet high, 7 feet wide and have around 70 square feet of space in order to be converted into a room. If this is not the case, you can still make use of what you have as creatively as possible. Children don’t need a 7 feet high space; they may just as well fit well into something 4 feet high and actually be very happy to have found their interesting nook hidden away from adults. Similarly, if you don’t intend to spend a whole lot of time standing in the attic (which is generally the case), you could create a cosy space with floor seating. It would limit the attic renovation, but you can still make good with what you have.

Make sure there are enough skylights

Attics can be a bit claustrophobic with the roof closing in. To change the feel of this, you’ll need to surround it with ample light during your conversion efforts. If your local municipality sanctions it, then you can go for a skylight roof window which can be a great source of natural light. Skylight windows involve a particular section of the roof being covered by treated glass or similar transparent materials, which directly allows the inflow of sunlight – in short, a window on your roof. You’ll need to work through the basics if you want to install one – how big it’ll be, will it have a shutter, will it be manual or remote controlled, will it induce any potential roof leaks and how you will keep it clean from the outside elements. Get inspired by this gorgeous space adorned by Deinschrank.De GMBH, supplier of furniture and accessories from Germany.

Consider thermal insulation of the roof before building the attic

If you are lucky enough to surmount the hurdles so far, you can concentrate on adding thermal insulation of the roof. If you live in a cold climate, a properly insulated attic can save over 10% in your power bill. In the reverse, if you live in a warm climate, an insulated attic can stabilize the home’s indoor temperatures to keep cooling needs in check. You’ll need to check if your attic base can take on the added weight before you get started. You can choose from rock wool, slag slabs, gypsum boards, asbestos cement board among others, and your choice of insulation material will depend on its cost, area to be covered, resistance to insect attacks, moisture, deformation and fire.

Make provision for power lines and water pipes

A lot of attics contain the home’s line of electrical and water supplies. You’ll need to find a new way to set them up or conceal them in a way, which don’t come in the way of your décor. You’ll also need to run a check on the water lines for leaks and insulate them well. Electrical wires on the other hand need to be treated carefully around insulators. The best option is to go for regular wiring concealing material that you’ve used around the rest of the house. Industrial style homes often have pipes and fixtures incorporated into their design. You can opt for such a finish in your attic too, if you have no other way around it.

Don’t forget sound insulation

When going for attic renovation, sound insulation counts among the good attic ideas. The neighbourhood noise will be less this way. The overhead aircraft noise will also be muted. And there really is no price on the reduction of stress.  When going for attic conversion, you can go for a material that serves the dual purpose of acoustic and thermal insulation like cotton fibre.

Once you take care of everything mentioned above, your attic will be ready for serene and rejuvenating inhabitation. For more ideas, take a look at this ideabook - Smart ways to turn your attic into a reading room.

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