Homeowners who need more living space have several options to choose from, but few are as cost-effective as upgrading existing spaces like garage lofts, basements, and attics. Each of these areas poses its own unique benefits as well as its own specific challenges, and the one that is best for your situation hinges on a handful of factors. Here are a few of the elements that may indicate attic conversion a good option in your particular situation, as well as a few helpful tips to make the process go more smoothly.
1.Attic Remodeling and Resale Value
...only attic conversions and garage door replacements have shown an increase in value over the past year...
Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost Vs Value Report is an industry standby when it comes to identifying the most cost-effective home improvements nationwide. When examining the statistics for 2010-2011, the following fact becomes obvious rather quickly: Most major home renovations are recovering less of their total cost in additional resale value than they did in the previous year. Attic bedroom conversions are a clear standout, however. In fact, of all the projects listed in the report, only attic conversions and garage door replacements have shown an increase in value over the past year. While homeowners should not base their decision to remodel their attics solely on these figures, those who were already considering this project can certainly view this as a positive sign.
2.The Ductwork Dilemma
If your home has central cooling, there's a good chance that the amount of usable space in your attic is limited by massive amounts of ductwork. Though this is certainly not a deal-breaker, it does make attic remodeling a more expensive and involved project. In many cases, relocating bulky ductwork to create living space in an attic is simply not a viable option due to lack of room and a different cooling system must be put in place. If your home does not have this issue to contend with, attic conversion is likely one of the better options out there for increasing your living space; if this issue exists but the ductwork is currently past its prime anyway, a newer, more compact cooling system may be a fortunate byproduct of remodeling your attic.
3.DIY Attic Conversions
Attic spaces are generally small and typically have many of the elements needed for a usable living space already in place; this makes them a more appropriate project for do-it-yourselfers than unfinished basements. In some cases, converting this space into a bedroom won't require much more than hanging a little drywall, slapping down a bit of paint, and upgrading the flooring. However, it is important for any DIY to remember that building code must be followed if this space is going to be converted. Proper exists and up-to-date wiring and outlets may play a significant role in the safety of this space, and adhering to building code during your project will ensure that your new bedroom or living area is as safe as it is functional.
4.The Problem with Temperature Control
Attics get hot. Really hot. And to make this area of the home livable, it is often necessary to increase ventilation and/or connect the area to a central air conditioning system. In areas where winters are harsh, attics can become really cold, as well. This issue can be solved in a number of ways (there are even passive solar solutions for this difficulty), so it is important to discuss which plan of action is best for your situation with a knowledgeable professional.
5.Planning Is Key
In many cases--especially those in which bulky ductwork is not a factor--attic remodeling is a fantastic fix for the problem of too little space. However, just because attics already have many of the elements needed for living areas in place, that doesn't mean that serious planning isn't needed for this project. Whether you're looking for a fully functional apartment complete with a kitchenette and bathroom or you simply want a more effective storage area, having a clear idea of the finished project is crucial. Running wire, plumbing, and other system elements may be relatively easy at the beginning of the project, but deciding that you want a more versatile space after the primary elements are already in place can be involved and costly. Plan ahead and know what you want before you call a contractor and your project will go that much more smoothly.