Basement and Attic Remodel Checklist
Need more living space? Use this list to see if you have affordable options under your existing roof.
Synopsis: If you think that your house needs more living area, you don’t necessarily have to consider the expense and hassle of an addition. Habitable space might already exist above or below your current living areas in the basement or attic of your home. Architect Jerri Holan outlines the things to keep in mind if you want to transform an attic or basement into a functional space. Holan considers not just design aspects of transforming an attic or basement space into a room but also code and structural issues. Basements, for instance, may need to correct moisture issues before they can be habitable; attics may require reinforced floor and roof framing.
Perhaps you’re wondering what it would take to make a real bedroom out of that attic space your teenager has monopolized. Or maybe you’re curious if it’s possible to transform the basement into the home office you’ve been dreaming of. You’re not alone. Attic and basement conversions are two of the most popular remodeling projects for homeowners—and for good reason. Dollar for dollar, capturing existing space that already has floors, walls, and a roof can make more sense than building an addition.
An attic or basement might need only minor structural modifications and mechanical extensions to make the space habitable. By staying within a home’s envelope, the character and scale of the original house are maintained, and valuable yard space is preserved. A not-so-apparent bonus of converting an attic or basement is the opportunity to improve existing conditions such as insufficient insulation, undersize structural components, and obsolete mechanical systems.
Concrete: If the existing floor shows no evidence of moisture or efflorescence, it can probably be reused. If it’s old, cracked, or not level, or if water is present,…