Attic Conversions

“I have a huge attic that I would like to convert to give us some more working room and free up the small bedrooms. What should I consider in making this conversion?”

We get this question fairly often. It’s a logical place to start, but we recommend deferring to a professional engineer to determine the feasibility of this project.

First and foremost, he will take into consideration if the structure can support the space in mind.

He will most likely ask you what type of space you have in mind and the type of furniture/equipment in order to determine the load it will need to support.

An assessment of the current space and items that will be taken into consideration are:

(1) Adequate floor joist sizing.

(2) Adequate ceiling joist sizing.

(3) Adequate emergency egress provisions.

(4) Adequate heating/cooling.

(5) Adequate electrical lighting and receptacle outlets.

(6) Adequate insulation.

(7) Adequate kneewall height. (This may affect your room layout).

(8) Adequate construction skills (or enough money to hire them).

All issues mentioned above are ones that have to be resolved before any construction can begin. You will also want to look into whether or not your housing area/subdivision/HOA has a Zoning ordinance that restricts additional living space based on a percentage of the lot size. Many of the subdivisions now have such restrictions. All permits will need to be secured before you can begin the construction.

Make sure any contractors considered have referals, bonding, insurance and all current licenses. If they are members of the BBB, be sure and check out their records.

At the end of the construction process, you can then contact your inspector or engineer to take a look if you have any questions before the final payment is made to your contractor.


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