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Finishing Out Your Attic: How Does It Work? 

October 8, 2021


Finished Attic


Many homes have unfinished attics, whether they were built within the decade or are much older. Finishing out your attic can be a smart way to add space without changing the exterior look of your home with an addition. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you begin this process.  

 Clear Out the Space 

It is common for unfinished attics to be used as storage space. Before your builder consultation, it is a good idea to remove any personal objects from the attic. This can help highlight any areas that may need repairs or additional attention. Walk through with your builder and look out for any areas where light or air come through – this may be a sign that extra work will be needed on the exterior as well.   

Check Local Building Codes 

When converting your attic into a living space, it is important to know the basics of your local building codes. To meet most codes, your new space should include at least a seven-foot ceiling in most areas, measure at least seven feet in any direction, and have 70 feet of square space. It must also be accessible by a full-size staircase and have at least one possible emergency exit such as a full-size window in case of fire damage.   

Use the Existing Roofline

Many attics feature a vaulted ceiling. While you may want to have a traditional flat ceiling, using the existing roofline can actually make a dramatic impact. Your builder can help you determine how to place lighting within your vaulted ceiling, and this will make a smaller room appear much larger. Because heat rises, vaulted ceilings can also help keep some of the warmer air away from your living space as well. 

Evaluate the Floor 

Most building codes require floors to support at least 30 pounds per square load. If you have a rafter-framed attic currently, the floor joists that support the weight for the ceiling below may not be strong enough once furniture, plumbing, and other finishes are added to the new living space. These may need to be reinforced or replaced, and your builder will be able to help you determine this. Sturdier and thicker floor joists also help eliminate noise in rooms below, so it can be a good area to modify during the construction. 

Add Insulation 

While you may not be as concerned about heat and air control in an unfinished attic that is used as storage, you will want to have a comfortable temperature when the space is converted. Batt insulation is commonly used for attics because it is flexible and easy to customize for a variety of wall heights and widths. Depending on your climate, batting is also easy to layer for more protection from the elements. 

Finish the Space 

When deciding what to include within the finished space, you may want to add a few unique features that can help increase the value of your home. This could include a full or half bathroom, built-in storage, or window seat. Consider ways that you can increase the utility of the new space, while also improving the overall appearance.  

Partner Properly 

As with any home renovation, it is extremely important to work with an expert builder to complete the construction. Your attic supports your home’s roof and is vital to maintain. While DIY projects can appear like an attractive option, a mistake can be extremely costly if it causes damage to your entire roof. Serving Middle Tennessee residents, the professional team at RSU Contractors is highly skilled in home and attic renovation projects. With decades of experience, we understand the importance of work done correctly and efficiently.   

Interested in finishing out your attic? Contact RSU Contractors at (615) 269-3906 today!