Before You Turn Your Attic Into A Room…

before you turn your attic into a room

Are you thinking of turning an unused attic into a room? It’s a great way for Bay Area homeowners to gain extra living space or create an income-earning rental space. In either case, it is worth the time to read these considerations before making the space official. 

We also recommend reviewing our post, Converting Attic Space to Living Space: How It’s Done, for more specifics about the actual process. 

7 Considerations Before Turning Your Attic Into A Room

From ensuring you’re building the space to code and keeping yourself well within the law. In addition to following these guidelines, you’ll also ensure your attic room is safe for occupancy, comfortable, and energy-efficient. 

Contact your local building department

If this is a DIY project for you, you’ll be working directly with your local building department. In order to be built to meet current federal and state building codes, you’ll need to know what the current fire, earthquake, safety, and energy efficiency codes are and adhere to them. To do that, you’ll schedule regular inspections pertaining to different phases of construction – framing, electrical work, sheetrock and drywall, fire sprinklers, etc.  

If you are hiring someone else to do the work, make sure you hire a licensed contractor (you can verify their licensure, insurance, and bonding with your building department). In that case, the contractor’s job is to ensure all of the work is done to code and that each of the permit cards is signed off so your attic renovation is finalized. 

There is a basic “rule of 7s” for attics, which means the finished attic space must have at least seven feet of height from floor-to-ceiling, seven feet wide from wall-to-wall, and be at least 70 square feet. If your attic won’t accommodate that, the project may be a no-go. 

WARNING: Failure to build your attic to code can have serious consequences ranging from large fines to diminishing the resale value of your home. 

Consider a durable ceiling finish

If your attic ceiling is on the seven to eight feet high (or has pitched, A-line ceilings) speak to your contractor about using a more durable ceiling finish to protect it from dings as furniture and furnishings are moved in/out and put into place. Some ideas include: 

  • Beadboard 
  • V-groove wood paneling 
  • Ceiling tiles (these can be as simple or ornate as your design taste) 

Think about skylights or solar tubes

This is a great time to consider skylights or solar tubes. They are a smart way to have “free” daylighting and can be added to your roof to gain a lighter, brighter, and more spacious feel in your attic space. If you do choose to add them, we recommend having the work done – or approved – by a licensed roofer to eliminate any risk of leaks or moisture control issues down the road. 

Be careful about lighting selections

Even the best of daylighting ideas fade once the sunsets. Most of our clients choose to install recessed cans as a way to gain the lighting they want without impacting the air space. Any fixtures attached to the ceiling will take inches off the headspace around the fixture. That’s fine if you’re dealing with an A-line or sloped ceiling with lots of room from floor-to-ceiling at the peak, but not so pleasant for people who are 6-feet tall or taller in a 7-foot space. 

Consider alternative insulation options to increase usable space

Instead of using traditional batt insulation, consider using insulated wall panels or spray foam options to minimize interior wall space and optimize the usable square footage in the room. In a small attic space, gaining a few extra inches on each wall makes a big difference in how the room looks and feels. 

Even more importantly, using spray foam insulation in the exterior walls and roof will exponentially increase whole-space comfort, minimize energy consumption, and will also help to dampen the sound when it rains. 

Think about quiet flooring when turning an attic into a room

Your attic was built with the idea that nobody would be living up there, so there wasn’t any attention placed on soundproofing. Once somebody’s living up there, the clomp-clomp of their steps, the scrape of a chair being pushed back from a desk or table, and even the sounds emanating from stereo systems or televisions can be obnoxious for whoever lives below. 

Make sure to take this into consideration. Consider amending or shoring up the existing floor joists to make them sturdier (and less squeaky),  and be extra generous with soundproof flooring options, such as thicker, sound-resistant padding under carpets or hard surface flooring. 

Take extra precaution with toilets/sinks/baths

If you’ll be adding a bathroom and/or kitchen area, you want to be extra careful that the added plumbing is done by a professional to minimize the chance of leaks. Often, plumbing issues in attic spaces go unnoticed for too long because the water seeps into the interior wall spaces. Also, make sure the new plumbing lines drain all the way down to the ground to increase drainage pressure and to properly vent the sewage gases. 

Are you thinking about converting your little- or unused attic space into a comfortable living space? Contact us here at Attic Solutions.

When You’re Ready, We’re Ready

We can help you every step of the way, from clearing out old insulation, cleaning up and sanitizing any evidence of previous pest, mold, or mildew issues, and keeping your insulation plans on track. We are local, licensed, and come highly vetted. Our team looks forward to providing a free quote and competitive prices. 

attic renovation ideas

5 Awesome Attic Renovation Ideas to Inspire You

Is your attic simply a space that’s collecting dust? Maybe you store some old exercise equipment up there, but only ever go up there once in a blue moon?

If your answer is yes, then you’re like many people who don’t make use of their attic space.

Attics sort of get a bad rap- people think of them as creepy, dark spaces that are magnets for bugs and dust. While that’s certainly true for those who hardly ever go up to their attic, those who renovate and maintain their attic will probably tell you it’s one of their favorite rooms in the house.

But, how exactly do you renovate an attic?

Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of creative ways you can renovate this space.

If you like the idea of converting your attic into a livable space but aren’t sure where to start, read on to learn about the top attic renovation ideas to inspire you.

Turn It Into a Home Office

If you’re someone who works from home often, then you know how difficult it can sometimes be to stay focused on your work.

From noisy kids to noisy pets, to the temptation of the television and kitchen snacks, working without interruption can sometimes feel nearly impossible.

Many people find that having a space in their home that is solely dedicated to working is the best way to go. Many people put their home offices on the main floor or in the basement.

However, the main floor is usually where all the distractions are. And, working in the basement means you don’t have a window to peer out of and gather inspiration.

This is why an office attic is the perfect solution. Plus, attics tend to have a lot of space. This means there’s enough room for you to add not just a desk, but other things like a big whiteboard, a comfy couch, a large table, painting easels- whatever it is you need to get your work done!

A Game Room

Who doesn’t love spending a night in playing games?

If you have kids, games are a great way for your whole family to bond by partaking in an activity together.

But, the problem is that a lot of houses don’t have space for more than a couple board games. And, many people are afraid to put a big game table (such as an air hockey table or foosball table) in their basement due to the noise.

This is why turning your attic into a game room is such a good idea.

If your attic is big enough, you can add one or two big game tables – air hockey tables, pool tables, ping pong tables, and foosball tables are all great ideas – and, you can add a sitting area for when you want to play board or card games.

Best of all, while the noise may travel downstairs a bit, an attic game room won’t be nearly as loud as a basement game room.

A Sunny Dining Room

Many people love the idea of entertaining guests in their dining room. However, a lot of homes these days don’t even come with a dining room.

Or, if they do, a lot of times they are small and cramped.

if you love the idea of having a beautiful dining room in your home for small parties, consider turning your attic into one.

All it takes to make a beautiful dining room is a big table, some chairs, and a few nice decorations.

Attics with large windows make especially great dining rooms, as the windows help make the space feel larger. But, even if your attic doesn’t have large windows, building a dining room here is still a great idea. Gathering in a space that’s closed off from the rest of the home can make your parties feel more intimate and special.

A Bedroom

Maybe you have kids who are old enough to have their own room? Or, maybe you’d just like a spare room in case you have guests over?

If you answered yes to either of this, consider turning your attic into another bedroom. Even if your attic is looking dim right now, once you clean the space, add a nice coat of paint and do some flooring renovation, you can really turn the space around.

And, even if you don’t anticipate family or friends using the space as a bedroom, it can still be a great idea if you’ve ever considered AirBnBing your space.

Airbnb guests often like to find homes that offer a decent amount of privacy. With a bedroom attic, guests get all the feelings of staying in a real home with the added privacy benefit.

A Library

If you’re a bookworm, you’re probably constantly looking for places to store all of your books. And- if you live in a noisy household- you’re probably also looking for somewhere you can read in peace and quiet.

By converting your attic into a library, you’ve solved both of these problems.

With an attic, you have all kinds of space to build bookshelves. In fact, some people even make use of the A-frame shape of the attic by building unique looking bookshelves right into these structures.

Add a couch, a couple chairs, and a nice rug, and you’ve created a library space that’s Pinterest-worthy.

You could also designate this room the general “quiet room” and make it your space where you simply go to relax and recharge.

For example, if you’re a yogi, you could convert the space into a small yoga studio. Or, if you meditate, you could turn the space into a peaceful meditation room.

Attic Renovation Ideas: Are You Ready to Start Your Renovation Project?

After reading all of these attic renovation ideas, you’re probably more than ready to get started on your project.

But, before you dive in, you have to make sure your attic is ready. That’s where we come in.

We can help make sure your attic is sanitary, clean, and free of rodents and pests. Get in contact with us today to learn more about our services.