If we’re honest, the majority of us could benefit from more space in our homes. Small country cottages might have met our needs years ago, but we now have more belongings than our ancestors. We’re also way past the trend of sharing our rooms and living on top of each other. Now, we value our space and privacy. Sadly, our homes don’t always respect that wish!
Upsize or extend
The typical expectation now is that you’ll move house as your family or your needs grow. Upsizing is a common occurrence especially among young homeowners whose needs are still evolving. The trouble is that moving house is one of the most expensive processes any of us could embark on.
It’s no wonder that many of us are embarking on cheaper ways to gain more space. Many people now opt to extend their homes rather than moving altogether. Some even settle for smart storage solutions which buy them more space in the rooms they already have. Others still are opting to build up into their attics, and it’s this we’re going to look at here.
Attic renovations are a fantastic way around any space issues you could be having. This is also one of the best chances you have to add value to your property if you do come to move down the line.
Although your attic is ready and waiting to go, though, there’s no guarantee that this path will be easy. In reality, there are often many issues to start which make an attic space unuseable. Far from moving straight up there, you’ll need to think about tackling the following common problems.
The majority of attics have exposed floorboards. Some of these rots or have large gaps between them. Given that your floor is essential for everything renovation-based, it’s critical you tackle this first. Fail to spare it any thought, and you could soon fall through rotting wood before you get so much as a feel for your attic! In some cases, you’ll be lucky enough to get away with a lick of paint and replacing a few dodgy floorboards. In some instances, though, floor trusses make this issue a whole lot more confusing. That’s because these are put in place for structural support only. If you try to put weight straight on top of these, you could soon find yourself with issues. The structure won’t be able to hold furniture, let alone the weight of you walking around. In this instance, you need to consider ways to distribute weight and avoid imbalances. You can do this by laying flooring solutions like plywood on top of the trusses themselves. The worst case scenario is that you’d need to determine ‘no-walk’ areas to retain your attic’s integrity. In some instances, you may not be able to lay flooring directly on your trusses at all. In this case, your best bet would be to build your own flooring unit. That way, you can walk around without needing to worry about damaging anything. But, you’ll never know that this is necessary unless you spare some attention of your attic floor as it stands!
Trusses you can Trust
Speaking of trusses, these also need some attention. Your attic trusses or rafters are the pieces of wood which hold the whole structure in one piece. And, they can be problematic for renovations. That’s because your ability to renovate largely depends on the structures in place. If those trusses run from the peak of the roof out, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty renovating the space. You may even be able to install a false ceiling if you want to. But, if your trusses are set up in a different shape, you could run into issues. W shaped trusses, for instance, are notorious for causing problems. Equally, trusses which meet in the centre of your attic floor are going to make renovation tricky. The good news is, none of this needs to stop you from following your dreams here. Many people simply find they need to remove or redesign their attic structures. This means supporting the roof as you remove and replace trusses. If you aren’t sure how to renovate around beams already in place, it’s worth calling in a builder to see what they recommend.
No Natural Light
Structural issues aside, you also want to take note of whether your attic has natural light as it stands. No matter what you have planned for this room, you need to be able to ensure natural light. If you fail to do that, you could soon find yourself avoiding the space. Even if you don’t mind darkness, you may find that you start to experience issues with damp and mould due to a lack of air. In many cases, attics will already come complete with windows. Even if these aren’t the best quality right now, the light they afford will be enough to see you through for now. If there are no windows in place, though, you should turn straight to companies like Roof Depot who provide a variety of roof lighting options. It’s worth doing this sooner rather than later, as the positioning of windows is also dependent on those trusses we spoke about. In general, you should aim to include at least two skylights in an attic renovation. In a long space, you may even want to install more. Consider realistically how much light you need entering the area. In an ideal world, you want the entire attic light enough that you don’t need to rely on artificial light during the day. Only then can you guarantee that this becomes a pleasant space to spend your time.
What about the electrics?
You’ll also need to consider the electrical situation in your attic right now. The majority of attic spaces have a connection of some sort as they need at least one light bulb. But, these often run on simplistic and outdated circuits which won’t be fit for anything else. This can cause real issues in the modern home, where we rely on electricity in every room. If you fail to take care of this, you could find yourself with a renovation which has none of the wirings you need. You would then face ripping that floor back up, or having to undo your progress completely. Either that or the space wouldn’t be much good for anything. To make sure that doesn’t happen, think about the wiring in place before you start any significant works. Bear in mind that this is about the one job on this list which you can’t take care of yourself. You’ll need to hire a registered electrician to take a look for you. They’ll then be able to tell you what needs to happen to ensure you have access to a full electrical set up upstairs.
Attic renovations can be fantastic, but they aren’t without their faults. By foreseeing these and taking care of them as you go, you ensure that they never hold you back. Only then can you guarantee a space which gets the use you’re hoping for. And, only then can your attic renovation take care of the space issues which prompted you to build it in the first place.
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A blog about the renovation of our old house and it’s garden in the English countryside. I also blog about interiors, general gardening tips and visits to glorious gardens.