Attic Renovations: How to Turn Your Attic into a Bedroom
By Kara Parlin
Feeling like you could use a little more room in your house, but don’t want the price tag that comes with a major addition? Then consider repurposing existing space in your home — such as your attic — that you may be underutilizing. Attic renovations can help you gain some much-needed square footage while also providing a positive return on investment.
But before your project gets underway there are some things to consider. Read through our quick guide to discover how to get the most out of your attic renovation.
Investigate building codes and regulations
Before making modifications, you’ll want to acquaint yourself with any requirements that could jeopardize your project’s success if you overlook them. While they vary from city to city, most areas will specify building code requirements for:
– Ceiling height
– Floor space
– Suitable access
– Egress points
– Floor joists
Renovating your attic can help you avoid zoning restrictions on a home addition. But you will need to take height restrictions into consideration if you’re thinking of adding dormers or changing the roof height in any way.
Evaluate your attic space
Once you’ve determined whether you can turn your attic into a bedroom, take a closer look at any existing fixtures or structural elements you may need to relocate or modify. First, determine if you have roof rafters or trusses. Rafters provide more clearance space, which makes the renovation easier. According to The Spruce, “If you have trusses, it will be next-to-impossible to reconfigure them to allow for clear space. You’ll be better off looking for other areas in your house to expand.”
Also check for any water heaters, HVAC systems or other units you’ll need to move elsewhere in your house. Consider consulting a licensed contractor who can suggest the best way to relocate these components and maximize efficiency.
List your electrical, HVAC or plumbing requirements
Now that you know what you need to move out of your attic space to make room for a bedroom, you’ll want to take note of the key systems you need to add. Electricity and climate control are necessities. Your contractor can inspect your current systems and tell you if you can simply extend them to serve your attic space, or if you need to upgrade.
Additionally, if you want to include a bathroom in your new space, it’s a good idea to locate it close to the existing water and sewer lines to reduce costs. If you plan to do the work yourself, check with your local municipality to see if you need permits or inspections.
Estimate rough costs and return
Your final costs can vary widely, depending on the changes you make and the materials you choose. Use tools like Emprove to get inspiration and estimate costs to determine your budget. You’ll be better prepared when talking with contractors and making choices on details.
The amount you put into the renovation will impact the value it adds to your home. But a report from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) notes that you can potentially recover 58% of renovation costs as added value to your home.
As you turn your attic into a bedroom, a plan will give you a roadmap to renovation success. Follow these four steps and you’ll ensure the project fits your budget, complies with building codes and exceeds your expectations.
Kara Parlin is a writer with more than 15 years of experience. She has served as magazine editor for home and business technology publications and brand copywriter in the consumer packaged goods industry. Parlin holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Boston University College of Communication.