The attic provides more function than just a typical storage space. There is plenty of potential for a new sleeping quarter, closet, or recreational room; all you need is a bit of imagination and some thorough planning.
But while many attics can be converted, some are not fit to be transformed into a living space. You need to understand the signs that you can convert your attic before making plans to ensure ease and cost-effectiveness.
But how can you tell your attic can be converted?
The Five Signs That You Can Convert Your Attic
Attic conversion becomes simpler with the aid of a professional. However, there are certain stipulations you must assess to determine whether your roof space is suitable for attic conversions.
1. Building Code Compliance
Building codes may be implemented for attic conversion projects depending on your region. It is vital to do your research on local regulations before remodeling your roof space.
The Building Code of Australia requires the following:
For your attic to be considered ideal for a conversion project, it should have at least 6.5 square meters (70 sq. ft.) of floor space, with at least 2.1 meters (7ft.) in every direction.
This means that your attic should be at least 2.1 x 3 m (7ft. x 10ft.) for it to be considered a living quarter.
Any less than that may result in a cramped new living space. For instance, rectangular or irregular-shaped attics may not be permitted for conversions because they lack sufficient room for escape during emergencies.
The available ceiling height between the floor joists top and ridge timber bottom should be around 2.4 meters, applicable to at least 60% of the ceiling.
This ensures at least 2 meters of available headroom when new beams or floorboards are installed. Additionally, this allows people to stand inside the attic without hitting their heads on the roof.
The Building Code of Australia requires all living spaces to have proper ventilation and access to natural light.
- Solar Tubes
- Light Tunnels
- Dormer Windows
Ventilation in your attic may be mechanical or natural. Cross-ventilation is necessary unless you have a ceiling fan or evaporative cooler installed.
If your attic meets the desired requirement to remain compliant with local building codes, you may proceed with the conversion.
Your contractor should help you navigate these stipulations, explaining all necessary adjustments to protect your attic.
Also, attic conversion specialists can assist in processing and obtaining building permits.
2. Suitable Architectural Style
The Building Code of Australia also mandates a particular architectural style before allowing attic conversion into living spaces. Your type of roof and its steepness will determine whether your loft is a good candidate for renovation.
Consider the following when inspecting your attic’s layout:
The pitch is the steepness of the roof; in other terms, the slant, slope, or angle. A flat roof, for instance, has zero pitch. Different designs with a particular slope may be classified as low, moderate, or steep pitch.
To give you better insight, below are the pros and cons of the three roof pitches:
Low Roof Pitch (0 to 30 degrees)
- Advantages: easier conversion due to decreased structural modification and increased energy efficiency and insulation, particularly in extreme weather conditions
- Disadvantages: Limited headroom that might not meet building code expectations
Moderate Roof Pitch (30 to 45 degrees)
- Advantages: Easy to clean and maintain and allows for adequate headroom
- Disadvantages: Decreased energy efficiency in heavy snowfall due to accumulation on the roof
Steep Roof Pitch (over 45 degrees)
- Advantages: Increased headspace ideal for living spaces and better aesthetic appeal
- Disadvantages: Construction complexity due to increased structural conversion for modifications and support
Generally, a roof pitch of around 30 degrees suits a conversion project. Also, if your home falls under Edwardian, Californian Bungalows, Federation, and Terrace properties, consider their roofs a likely candidate.
While attics are designed with structural integrity to support the weight of stored items, they may not have the load capacity for a living space. It might start shaking if your roof space cannot handle a bedroom. Talk to a structural engineer to assess the soundness of your attic floor.
You might also want to consider noise, especially when you plan to turn your attic into a playroom. We highly recommend using carpeted floors for soundproofing.
3. Efficient Insulation
A good attic possesses sufficient insulation to regulate internal temperatures and reduce energy bills. Roof spaces equipped with effective insulation benefit from a 10-20% reduction in power consumption and 10-50% savings on heating and cooling.
Always ensure your attic has appropriate insulation, which is crucial in keeping the occupant comfortable. It would help never to overlook this aspect since you are making a new living space.
Your contractor might recommend renovation plans to fix faulty attic insulation design. Signs of poor insulation include ice dams in the winter, water leaks, and a spike in energy bills.
4. Functional Electricity and HVAC Systems
Electricity and HVAC systems are paramount to the functionality and comfort of an attic living space. Your roof space is a good candidate for a transformation project if it ticks the following requirements:
- Complete Outlets – Your attic should have at least one electric outlet on each wall, with at least one for lighting, and contain a switch or a wall switch.
- Safe Wiring – Several electrical wiring may run through your attic, so an electrician must check and rearrange it.
- Adequate Lighting – Lighting is a critical component for attics. Since your roof space can be tight, we recommend using recessed lights that can be tucked into the ceiling to save some headroom.
- Sufficient Load – Consult a professional to help you assess whether your current cooling and heating systems can carry the load of another room. You might need additional ductwork installed.
- A Budget Alternative – If the recommended HVAC upgrades exceed your current funds, consider mini-split systems.
5. Proper Ventilation
Working ventilation is another critical requisite for converting an attic in the Building Code of Australia. It does not matter if your roof space is large enough or has great structure – if there is little to no ventilation, your attic won’t be a suitable living space.
Attics are often seen as stuffy and airless, but that is only true if you neglect to ventilate them correctly. Indicators of poor attic ventilation include:
- Moisture build-up
- Obstructions in the vents
- Abnormal hot temperatures
- Warped walls, wood framings, and ceilings
- Unpleasant odors
If your attic checks all these conditions, you might want to have it repaired first and ventilated before starting conversion. A contractor may suggest adding windows, vents, HVAC connections, and ceiling fans.
Ready to Convert Your Attic?
The best way to assess the candidacy of your home’s attic for a living space transformation is to consult a professional. They can provide you with finer details about the necessities of attic conversions and plans to turn your dream roof space into reality.
Talk to the experts. Whether you’re looking for a new office, recreational room, or better storage, Attis Plus guarantees fantastic results that improve your home.
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