A growing family will need more space in the future. Soon, your kids will demand privacy and would want their own rooms. Or, someone might need a home office to be more efficient in their job. Maybe you will have grandchildren who will promise to stay over every weekend, therefore you need an extra room where they can stay. If it’s your forever home, you’re going to need a decent space to store old yet important stuff. Instead of filling your cupboards or planning a home addition, how about converting your attic? This post contains tips on how a modern architect will renovate your attic.
It sounds like a great idea, right? You’re going to turn an unused, dark, and damp area into a livable space. Most importantly, it’s your family, not roaches and spiders, who will use the space.
Disclaimer: Not everyone can renovate their attic
You can only pursue an attic renovation if the roof of the attic is more than the standard room height of 2.4 metres in at least 60% of the floor area. There is a need for clearance because the converted attic needs to be 2.4 metres high.
If that’s the case, families living in traditional Aussie homes such as Queenslanders, Victorian terraces, Federation houses, or California bungalows can easily convert their attic space. These have generous roof pitches compared to the modern home designs we have.
It doesn’t matter if the attic space looks scary or if the floors creak whenever you walk on it. Both noticeable and hidden troubles in the attic will be resolved after the renovation process.
Who are you going to call?
To make sure that your attic conversion turns well, hire a professional. Most residential architecture and design firms do attic conversions. They have people who specialise in these types of projects. Entrusting your attic renovation to the hands of a pro will ensure proper insulation, ventilation, electrical, flooring, accessibility, and plumbing needs.
Get the insulation right
Upgrade your insulation if you want to transform your attic into a bedroom, library, playroom, or home office. This is to ensure that your space will remain cool in summer and warm in winter. Having floor insulation will also control the noises from coming in and going out of the attic space.
Obtain Council Approval
When you want to turn your attic into a habitable space, you have to get council approval. The building codes vary depending on the state you’re in so double-check it online. More importantly, hire a design pro who is updated and knowledgeable on these codes.
Most attics can be accessed through a pull-out ladder from the ceiling. This is not an ideal way of accessing an attic bedroom, library, or home office. You need to build stairs that lead there.
The construction of the stairs to your attic room will definitely cost a fortune, but it’s a good investment. It is best if you match the attic staircase with the rest of the staircases you have at home.
No room for windows? Build a skylight
Attic spaces have unique, irregular shapes. Because of that, you can’t always install regular windows. It’s either you create dormer windows or skylights.
The window is an important element of livable spaces. It enables natural lighting and ventilation. The only challenge with irregularly shaped attic windows is finding the right window treatment. Lucky if your attic windows fit regular blinds, curtains, or shutters. If not, they add a tinted solar film on the glass. It helps in blocking the unnecessary light and heat from the sun, especially during the summer months.
Fewer interruptions at home
Compared to a regular home addition, an attic conversion causes fewer interruptions on everyday activities. Most Australian builders access the attic from the roof, hence they don’t mess up the other indoor areas. You will hear more noise and sniff more dust during the construction of the staircase. Don’t worry, the stairs will only take a day to finish.
But how long will the entire attic conversion last?
Full conversion will take around four to eight weeks, once you get a go from the local council.
When can I DIY the attic renovation?
If all you need is a decent space to hide items that you don’t need every day, then the services of an architect or draftsman aren’t necessary. Wear your dust mask, roll your sleeves, and start cleaning the attic. Once you’ve cleared all the dirt, you can start migrating all the unused items you have on the bottom floors. Just be careful when piling stuff in the attic. You don’t want the items you had to fall onto you one day. Assess the load capacity of your attic flooring. In case that you need a decent flooring, call a friend or hire a handyman to help you.