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Converting your attic: everything you need to know before you start

22nd Nov '16 • By Emily Ayers

Converting your attic into a room will not only give you the opportunity to make the best use of an extra room, but it will also increase your property’s market value.


However, before you get started, you should consider factors like time and finance. Whether you are opting for a DIY or calling in a professional, there are several things that you should consider before you go ahead with an attic conversion.

Changing the roof structure
If you don’t already have high ceilings, you will need to consider raising the roof. Unfortunately, this is probably the most expensive part of the project. Besides costs for additional designs, you will have to remove and rebuild the entire room. Also, building approval might be required for the project.


New Ceiling Joints
Before you renovate your attic, you will have to reinforce the floor. Generally, the attic floor is not designed to support a new room. Keep in mind that you have to be aware of any building regulations before changing joints. Size and grades will be specified by the structural engineer. 


Insulate roof structure
When it comes to roof insulation, there are two possible methods. You can use the “cold roof” or the “warm roof” method. The first one implies filling the space between the rafters with 70mm-thick slab foam insulation and ensuring a 50mm spacing between the roofing felt and the insulation. On the other hand, the “warm roof” method uses 100mm Celotex insulation and a covering capping, followed by the tile battens and tiles. However, the latter method is not the most practical option. You should go with the “warm roof” method if the roof coverings have been stripped off.  If you’re not sure which method is best for your home, ask your service professional for advice. 


Windows and skylights
Unless your attic already has windows – and most attics don’t – you will need to consider building windows, in order to utilise natural sunlight and have proper ventilation. You have two options in this case, build skylights or dormer windows. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Skylights are the easiest and straight forward method for attics, but dormer windows not only give light but add space.


Building staircases
While a ladder would continue to do its job just fine and give your attic a rustic look, building a staircase helps give off the impression that you are entering a room situated on another floor and not a converted attic. Keep in mind that a minimum height is required for stairs. Also, the maximum number of steps of the staircase, their size, and the height of the balustrades require to be adjusted to a standard. All of these will be determined by the professional you hire for the job.


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