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Attic Remodeling Tips

Bathroom Remodeling
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The attic is often a forgotten space. While homeowners may use it to store a few small items, most of the attic is unused. If you find yourself in need of a new bedroom or an extra living area, an attic remodeling might be the way to go.

The first and most important step in attic remodeling is checking structural integrity! Because unfinished attics aren’t designed for living, they don’t come as strong as the downstairs floors. Before you and your remodeling contract start drawing up blueprints, grab a flashlight and head upstairs. Look at your roof supports – are they W-shaped trusses or an A-frame? If it’s the former, you’ll probably find it more cost-effective to plan a first-floor addition – a trussed roof is a complex system that requires a lot of engineering know-how to replace. An A-frame, on the other hand, is ideal for attic remodeling – it’s sturdy and leaves a lot of open space.

Check your local building codes – they’re the law, and a good idea. Most building codes require that floors for living space handle a total load of 40 pounds per square inch between materials, furniture and people, but most attics (especially in older homes) are designed for half that. Reinforcing the floor will also effect the available headroom – building codes generally call for walls to be at least 7 ½ feet high. Don’t forget about fire codes, especially if you plan on making the attic a bedroom – most codes call for a window to be used as an emergency exit. Of course, you’ll probably want to add windows anyway.

Once you’re ready to begin attic remodeling, what does the attic need? Most attics are completely unfinished, so electrical wiring will be a must. Proper ventilation is also a necessity – because warm air rises, an attic room with insufficient ventilation will quickly become unbearably hot, especially in the summer. Don’t forget about access! If you only plan on converting the attic into a loft, a ladder will be acceptable, but most building codes require stairs for bedroom access. A spiral staircase is your best option, as it will take up the least space downstairs.

Attic remodeling is a big undertaking, and one that absolutely calls for professionals. Your local remodeling contractor will be indispensable for this project, and more than willing to help turn your attic’s forgotten space into a whole new living area.

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