Finishing an Attic: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

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  • 20-80 hours
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  • 200-2000

If you are considering finishing attic space in your home and using it as another room, you have many possibilities open to you. Any empty space is a blank canvas for your imagination to take hold of and make special. There are some potential dangers you could run into if you do not do your research properly, though. Beware the following mistakes when finishing your attic.

1. No Permission

Before doing anything else, visit your local building department and find out if you need permission to make any structural changes to your home. Different jurisdictions have different rules and regulations regarding home renovations, and in many places it is actually illegal to convert your attic into living space. Not following these regulations can earn you legal penalties.

2. No Windows

attic converted into playroom

Take accurate measurements of the attic and draw plans to benefit the structure. If your attic roof currently has no window, plan to add a window or two if space permits. You'll especially want windows if you plan to convert the attic into a guest room or spare bedroom in the future. Authorities usually require bedrooms to have at least one window for safety purposes.

3. No Budget

Make a list of everything you will need and what it will cost, including drywall, screws, paint, wood, plumbing materials, pipes, carpets, and doors. Allow yourself a 10-percent leeway on your budget. Be careful not to go over the amount set.

4. No Vision

Decide what kind of room your attic will become. Will it be a guest bedroom? Maybe you need a room in the house that can be your quiet place or office space. Be clear on the function of the room and how it will need to be structured before you start making purchases.

5. No Insulation

construction worker installing insulation in attic ceiling

Using drywall in the construction of interior rooms is probably the best solution. You can still insulate the walls between the studs. Many people make the mistake of forgetting to add insulation to the studs as they build, and this makes the room cold.

Remember, the attic is the room in your house that will be the hottest in summer and coldest in winter without proper insulation. If the insulation you had before needs to be replaced, make sure to install new insulation that has the proper r-value for your region.