How to Convert Your Attic into a Kids Play Room or Bedroom

Converting your attic into a kids play room or bedroom is not as simple as slapping up some drywall and calling it a day. Some things need to be considered to avoid problems later. How will space be cooled and heated? Is the floor strong enough to hold the extra weight? Is the structure sound? Is there electricity in the space? If so, is there enough voltage in the home to allow for increased outlets and lights? Fundamental aspects of attic conversion that must be addressed before and during the renovation process include;

Assess and Repair
Before heading into a renovation it is vital to know exactly what you are getting into, or at least as much as possible. After you have cleared all the clutter, furniture and cobwebs out of the space take a close look at every square foot of the room. You are looking for signs of critter, bird or insect intrusion, mold, rotting wood, asbestos and the general condition of the space. If you suspect there is asbestos, please be sure to contact a professional to come and test your insulation, as asbestos can be harmful to your health. look to see if there is insulation under the sub-floor. If the walls are dry walled, cut out a small hole in each wall to check for insulation. As previously stated, checking for electricity in the space is important, as well as how many junction boxes there are. A single light hanging from the ceiling is not going to be adequate for a living space. If you are planning to include a powder room, see if there is plumbing coming up to the attic. If your home is heating via a furnace and cooled in the same manner, locate the nearest ducting to see if it can be extended. Depending on the size of the attic, the age, and condition of the home, it may be necessary to consult a structural engineer. This is a major step. When you are adding so much extra weight to the structure, it is crucial to have an expert evaluate the integrity of the building.

Before going any further, make repairs to space. Seal up crevices where creatures may have or could gain entry. If there is a window, make sure it is properly sealed and caulked on both the inside and out. Replace any rotted floor boards or studs. Remove and replace any material that shows signs of mold, even if it looks old and dried out. Mold can come back if the conditions are right.

Measure and Design
If your space is a true attic or garret situated directly below a pitched roof, you will need to use a creative eye for finding ways to maximize the space. Measure your floor space, vertical wall space, and slanted ceilings. If there are no windows, consider installing a skylight or sun tube for maximum space use. The amount of vertical wall space from the baseboard to the point at which the wall begins to slant will become one of the most important measurements. After insulation and drywall, think about how that right angled space will accommodate a bed, or if the pitch of the roof is too dramatic some low profile shelving. Don’t forget to incorporate the position of electrical outlets. Use the elements of the attic to your benefit. If there are load bearing vertical beams positioned in odd places, consider using them for the construction of bed, desk or shelving. Some large older homes are duplexed or split into condos. If your situation falls under one of these headings, and you share a party wall, it may be necessary to gain permission from the owners association or neighbor.

When you are adding a kids play room or bedroom above or below another living space, it would be prudent to incorporate some sound proofing to the design. Some homeowners like to kill two birds with one stone and insulate their walls, floors, window cavities and any other void with spray foam insulation. This particular kind of insulation is very helpful in attic space because it can reach into and fill every crack and crevice. Plus, there is a certain amount of soundproofing inherent in having such thorough coverage. Include a heavy sound proof underlay, a thick plush carpet, and the attic will be lovely and quiet. Not to mention the sound transfer from the attic to other spaces will be greatly reduced.

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If you would like more information regarding the restoration or remodeling of your attic or another room within your home, or if you would like to share your own experiences on the topic, please feel free to contact us.