Is an Attic Renovation Right for Your Home?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

If you're looking for a way to increase your home's usable floor space, consider your attic space. An attic renovation is a great way to turn unused space into a functional bedroom, den, playroom or office.

To determine if an attic renovation is right for your home, check your local building codes and access regulations that may impact your building plans and renovation costs.

Building Codes

Local building codes establish important regulations for sound structure and safety in a home renovation. Local building codes vary, so it's important to talk to a local city building inspector who can provide you with a list of applicable codes and required home inspections.

* Ceilings – Typically, an attic renovation for a floor area of 70 square feet requires a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet 6 inches. If your attic has a lower ceiling height, you will not be allowed to turn it into a living space.

* Joists – Talk to your contractor or architect to see if your attic floor joists meet local codes and can support the additional weight of a usable space. You need to make sure that the rafters can support drywall, electrical, plumbing, HVAC system components, and lighting.

* Egress – Egress codes vary based on the type of room you are adding. For example, a regular bedroom typically requires at least two exits, one window and one doorway. An attic bedroom requires both a window and a staircase to the lower level with an escape ladder in clear view.

Access to the Attic

An attic renovation requires a standard staircase that meets local building code regulations. A ladder is not sufficient. Adding a staircase to your attic will take up space in a room below the attic, so think about using a closet space. You can regain the storage and closet space by adding a new closet under the staircase when it's finished.

Staircases with straight runs are the easiest to build, but they take up the most space, typically 40 to 50 square feet. Spiral staircases take up the least amount of space, but they are usually more expensive to build. If you have limited inside space, consider building an exterior staircase, but check with your local zoning department first. In some cases, an exterior staircase can change your zoning requirements to a multi-family dwelling. For more information, get a quote here.


Post a Comment