If your attic is large enough, it may feel an empty wasteland better served by transforming it into a functional living space. Bay Area attics often have plenty of room to create living spaces that are recreational or that become a source of income.
However, you can’t just lay down flooring, install drywall, and call it a room. There are several steps homeowners must take before investing any money in an attic conversion to ensure it’s safe, efficient, comfortable, and built to current code standards.
Scheduling an inspection with a licensed insulation professional is the first step when planning an attic conversion. During that inspection, you’ll learn:
We may also suggest thorough attic cleaning or sanitation so the renovation moves forward with a “fresh slate.” Once we’re done preparing your attic, you’ll be ready to move on to the next steps.
Attic conversions must be built to current code standards to be considered a legal addition to your home. This includes scheduling specific inspections with the local building department, which puts the conversion on record. The investment you spend on these inspection permits is well worth it.
Firstly, they mean you can advertise that space when listing the house in the future, notably increasing its sales potential. Second, if the renovation isn’t correctly permitted, you face the prospect of penalty fees and fines AND will have to rip out and re-do work for all those inspections to be done after the fact anyway.
If you don’t plan to do the work yourself or with a knowledgeable friend/tradesperson, we recommend interviewing at least three different licensed contractors. From these meetings, you’ll know who you want to partner with for the attic renovation. If you go the professional contractor route, they do all the work with the building department for you.
Attics tend to be the hottest spaces in the house due to their construction and the fact that roofs transmit a significant amount of solar heat (called solar heat gain). Heat rises in the winter, so the attic can become hot and stuffy if you haven’t prepared for that.
Things to think about when it comes to attic comfort are:
Finally, your transformed attic needs a safe entrance and exit. Some homes may already have a pull-down stairway or ladder. If that’s not the case, speak to your contractor about the best way to safely enter and exit the attic space once it’s finished.
If the attic is going to be used as a regular bedroom, hangout space, or as an income rental, it’s probably worth considering the attic “the top story of the house” and finding a way to build a designated stairway to the space. If it’s going to serve as a more occasional recreational space, fabricated attic stairs are an option.
The team at Attic Solutions has provided expert attic and insulation services to Bay Area homeowners for more than a decade. Contact us to schedule an attic inspection before getting started on transforming an attic into a functional living space. We’ll leave you with a checklist of things to think about and will get your attic into perfect shape before the contractors arrive.