So, you have an older house with what seems like a ton of hot, wasted space in the attic. Should you finish your attic?
There are a number of reasons why this might be a good idea. The top 3 are:
- More living space.
- Higher resale value.
- Relatively inexpensive space.
Why more living space is important
You may be a couple who each need your own space. A finished attic can mean a “man cave” or a “she shed.” This can be a place for you to hang out, watch the game, read, write, do yoga, paint, or even work on architectural drawings. The space can translate into a guest suite which provides more privacy for your family and your guests. If you have a growing family you may want to use the space as a family bedroom or playroom. The beauty of an attic is that it is typically more private, an entire floor dedicate to the use you decide.
How an attic translated into higher resale value
When I remodeled an American Foursquare on Iglehart Avenue I converted a bedroom and bath into a bath- suite. I redid the kitchen and I also finished the attic. When it came time to sell, we were told that potential buyers oohed and ahhed when they came up into the brightly lit top floor. It may have been what sold the house.
It is not very expensive to finish your attic
An addition typically means digging out a foundation and pouring footings.These take time and money. An attic is space that already exists, and in older Victorian homes this is usually a lot of space.
Can you finish your attic? You will need to consider:
- What type of access there is: Is there a full staircase, a ladder, side doorway off the main stairway or other way to enter.
- Is it insulated? How much insulation will you need to add to bring the space up to code. It may be R60, R50 or are the ceilings sloped steeply and considered walls? This would mean you’d need R20 insulation.
- The floor: Home attics are usually good to go. You only need to put down a finished floor like linoleum, laminate or carpet. Some floors were never intended to support daily living. For example 2 x 6 floor joists may need to be beefed up. This can add time and cost to the project but often is worth doing if the attic is a feasible living space.
Every home, and every attic is different. But many offer nearly unlimited potential. The diy network page offers some great ideas. You can save time and money by speaking with an experienced architect before you start. You will get a better understanding of the scope of your project and some design ideas that you may not have considered.