It’s only natural that you would want to maximize all of the space you’re given inside your home.
If you truly want every square inch to be used efficiently, then that means finding ways to finish your attic as well.
However, that process needs to be handled with caution, to make sure that you aren’t setting yourself up for failure.
Starting the process without proper research beforehand could wind up costing you more than you intended.
Here are several tips for how to finish an attic on a budget. Be sure to consider all of these tips as you develop a plan.
1. Check to See If It Meets Building Codes
Not many of you probably realized that there are certain specifications that your local building codes have to finish a room.
That’s because the rooms that you’ll find in your home usually abide by these codes, to begin with, so you don’t have to think twice about it.
However, that’s not the case with your attic. Not many are built with the intention of one day becoming an extra room.
Typically speaking, rooms must be at least 7 feet tall in a majority of the room, just as wide, and contain at least 70 square feet within the room itself.
Also, for safety reasons, the room will need a secondary exit (such as a window) and a fully-efficient staircase to walk up into it.
Make sure to perform the proper measurements before you go any further in your attic planning.
2. Set Your Budget
If you’re trying to keep this project within the comfy confines of a certain dollar amount, you need to know what that looks like beforehand.
That’s why it’s important that you kick this project off by setting a budget. It will help you in making crucial decisions down the line.
However, you can’t just create a random dollar amount without performing proper research before setting the budget.
By doing so, you might be setting a budget that’s either too high or too low.
You’ll need to consider the average cost of some of your attic’s biggest expenses.
For example, placing in a new HVAC system will be around $4,000, adding stairs could be around $3,000, needing attic vents will cost as much as $600 to $700.
Your budget can always be adjusted once you’ve started to get quotes from professional services. In the meantime, try to fill out your budget as best as you can.
3. Clean the Attic and Insulate It
First things first, you’ll want to insulate your attic to make sure it stays as climate-controlled as possible.
However, before you can do that, you need to remove every single item that you currently have up in the attic to some other location.
This might be a bigger task for those of you that have used your attic for storage up to this point.
Since you’re trying to keep the budget down, try to rally up a few people that can help you carry items up and down the stairs.
Now, as far as your installation goes, you can invest in a spray foam kit that will help you keep costs down and minimize the amount of space your installation takes up in the attic.
Spacing is at a premium as is, so you don’t want to take up too much space with drywall and installation.
4. Install a Separate HVAC Unit
Too many people make the mistake of “cutting costs” by installing a window AC unit and an electric baseboard heater in lieu of a separate HVAC unit in their attic.
However, these options won’t give fresh air to the person living within the attic.
Not to mention that, over time, the baseboard and AC unit will be more costly over time.
For that reason, it’s best to invest in the money now to have a separate HVAC unit installed by a professional.
They can recommend certain ways of cutting costs with the installation and will make sure the unit is working efficiently.
That means less hassle for you in the long run.
Think of this investment as compared to grocery shopping.
If you buy in bulk, then you save money and don’t have to replenish it as often.
5. Have a Professional Wire Your Attic
Once again, this is a situation where making the investment now can help save you a lot of money in the long run.
Not only is miswiring your attic’s electricity bad for your budget, but it’s also dangerous for your health.
Hiring an electrician will ensure your wiring meets all the proper codes and is as safe as can be for the person that will be using the new attic space.
6. Find Inspiration for Your Project
There are several different things that you can do with your attic.
You can turn it into a spare bedroom, a movie theatre, and reading space, and so much more.
Luckily, there are plenty of ideas that you can find online to ignite your inspiration for a project.
Be sure to consider which options will be the most budget-efficient.
Also, consider whether your home has any glaring needs that can be fulfilled with your attic-finishing project.
How to Finish an Attic: Do It the Right Way
The most important factor of how to finish an attic is by making sure you’re not cutting any corners.
Those “shortcuts” can lead to significant costs down the line. Take care of everything properly the first go-around.
Be sure to browse our website for more articles related to renovations, as well as many other helpful topics!