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5 Worst Mistakes DIYers Make in their Attics

Many do-it-yourselfers who want to expand their home into the attic by creating an extra bedroom, bathroom or kitchen don’t always start these projects with the right steps. Before beginning your attic remodel, make sure you’re not going to make some of these terrible mistakes.

Not Getting the Required Permits
While some homeowners feel that they are able to add value to their home with an attic room since it’s extra space, you could cause problems if you try to alter your home without the proper permits. It might not be a problem when you live there, but if you want to eventually sell your home, it could impact inspections. There could be an issue with your insurance company if there’s ever an problem with the extra room since they won’t recognize it. If they don’t recognize it, they won’t pay for any problems like a fire or a roof leak into the room.

Not Figuring Out the Stairs
If you have a set of loft stairs that drop down into a hallway, they can’t be used as the permanent stairs to the attic room. They wouldn’t be able to handle the increased traffic to the attic. They are dangerous and a violation of building codes too. You’ll need to figure out how to add stairs to the home without having to configure the entire upper floor space though. That can require a complete remodel in other areas of the home to accommodate stairs.

Live Load Requirements
When the attic was built, the floor wasn’t meant to hold human beings and furniture. Since they weren’t designed for holding people, the live load requirements are minimal. The attic floor is most likely constructed with 2 x 4s while most floors are built with floor joists that are 2 x 8s or 2 x 10s. You’ll have to reinforce the flooring with supports and new materials that can support the weight of furniture and people. An architect or structural engineer can inspect the space to ensure it’s suitable for adding a new room.

Preparation of the Space
Many do-it-yourselfers don’t prepare the space properly when they decide to remodel the attic. Along with the requirements of the floor, the space has to be properly insulated, have heating and cooling ductwork to the space and electrical wires for outlets. If you plan on making a bathroom in the attic, you’ll need to worry about plumbing pipes too.

Foundation Requirements
Once the attic is inspected for suitability as a room, the foundation has to be scanned. The foundation has to be able to handle multiple floors of the home. The unique foundation requirements of a two-story home compared to a three-story home could mean major modifications to the foundation.

Once you have prepared the space, gotten permits and figured out the layout of the room, you can begin construction secure in the knowledge that you’ve taken steps to avoid terrible mistakes.