If you are currently using your attic as a place to store holiday decorations and gather dust, it might be time to update it. Many attics are large enough to be converted into a bedroom or office space; it just requires finishing it first. Here are some tips for finishing your attic.
Get the Right Permits
The first thing you should do when you want to finish your attic is make sure you are doing it legally. You don't want to be halfway done with the attic, then find out from the city that you weren't supposed to complete these renovations without paying a fee and getting a permit first. Visiting the local permit office also allows you to find out important information about codes, such as the minimum size of attic required to turn it into a bedroom. Having the permit beforehand can help avoid steep penalties if the city finds out about it after the fact.
Insulate the Attic
Your attic needs to be properly insulated in order to maintain the temperature. Even if you have an attic fan and proper heating and cooling in the space, lack of insulation will still make it hot or cold and very uncomfortable. When the room gets to the desired temperature, lack of proper insulation could cause the energy bills to go up. If you are not sure about how to improve the insulation, consult a contractor to inspect it and improve it as needed.
Have the Electrical Wiring Inspected
Since the attic is now going to be used as a living space, it will need to have better electrical access. If there are limited outlets in the attic, have an electrical contractor install new ones. Re-wiring is not something you should do on your own. Even if there are already outlets, getting the electrical work in the attic inspected beforehand is a good idea.
Build Up the Floor
If the attic is going to be used for a bedroom or other room that gets used often, you need to build up the floor. Unfinished attics often have plywood as the floor, which is weak and can't withstand much weight. It also makes it very noisy for the rooms underneath the attic. You can solve both problems by building up the floor and adding a subfloor, plus some carpeting. Hardwood flooring is not ideal since moisture in the attic can cause it to warp, and it gets noisy for the rooms underneath the attic. Carpeting is soft and quiet.
If you have not done so already, make sure you treat the attic for pests before you finish the room. This is one of the areas of your home where pests tend to be drawn. This includes rodents like rats and mice, along with ants, cockroaches, spiders, and termites.