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Attic Remodeling Costs

Cost of an Attic Renovation

Do you need extra storage space? Does your growing family need an extra bedroom? Or, would you like to turn your attic into a home office? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might be considering an attic conversion. The information below is designed to help you understand how a contractor will estimate the cost of your unique project.

1. Is the project feasible?

Although there may be plenty of extra space in your attic, space is not the only thing you need. There are many factors to consider before moving forward with your project. For example, an attic remodel may not be possible if your home’s roof has trusses (rather than rafters). Are the ceilings tall enough (at least 7 ft. high)? How will the attic project impact the structural integrity of your home? Consulting with a structural engineer or general contractor is the best way to determine if an attic conversion is possible.

2. Where do you live?

Your geographic location will factor heavily into the cost of labor. For example, the cost of labor will be much higher in New York City than Little Rock, Arkansas. If the cost of living in your area is high, you should also expect to pay a higher hourly rate for the contractor’s time.

Check out ProMatcher's Attic Remodeling Cost Report to find estimated prices in your local area.

3. What does your attic look like now?

Your attic’s current state may impact the cost of your project. Is the attic currently empty? Or, are you using the extra space to store old furniture and Christmas decorations?

Some items may need to be permanently relocated during the remodel. For example, a water heater may have to move to the basement. Some duct runs may be need to re-routed to other areas of the home.

Is there any mold in the attic? Mold remediation services will also increase the cost of your project.

4. Do you need to hire a professional attic cleaning service?

Before construction can begin, your attic will need to be empty and relatively clean. For major cleanup projects, hiring an attic cleaning company may be your best bet. This is particularly true if you need help removing loose-fill insulation or cleaning up a pest infestation.

SEE MORE: Cost of Attic Cleaning Services

If your pest problem is still active, don’t wait to get help. Use our free matching service to get free quotes from local pest control professionals today.

5. Do you have the necessary permits?

For most attic remodeling projects, you will need to obtain formal permission from your local building department. Your general contractor will help you navigate the permitting process. Unfortunately, this part of your project can be somewhat unpredictable.

In most cases, you will need to submit detailed building plans as part of your permit application. This helps to ensure that all work is compliant with local codes. You may be subject to serious fines and penalties by failing to secure the right permits. The contractor should include all permit inspection fees in their itemized quote.

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6. How do you plan on using the attic?

The possibilities are (nearly) endless. Your attic can be used as a bedroom, office, home theater, home gym, or even a playroom. How you plan to use the attic may impact the cost of construction. Many attics are not designed to carry “live loads”. As a result, floor joists will need to be reinforced to support the additional weight of moving people and heavy furniture.

Each project will require different appliances, furniture, and equipment. For a home theater, you will need a projector, a screen, a good sound system, and comfortable chairs. For a game room, you may want to buy a pinball machine or a pool table.

7. How large is the attic?

The size of your attic will help to determine the amount of materials required. Will the attic be one open area or do you plan on framing multiple rooms? A contractor can typically provide a ballpark estimate for the project based on the total square footage of space. This figure will typically include basic building materials (lumber, drywall, paint, etc.) and labor. However, all upgraded materials and high-end finishes will come at an additional cost. For example, natural hardwood floors, crown molding, and custom window treatments will all have a significant impact on the budget.

8. Will you be adding dormers to your roof?

Dormer construction is a great way to add additional headroom and livable space to your attic. Framing a new dormer (or two) with a window will also help bring more natural light into a dark attic. However, making these structural modifications will add to your project’s bottom line.

9. How do you plan on accessing the attic?

Right now, you may be using a ladder (or pull-down stairs) to access your attic. However, if your attic is becoming a bedroom, the ladder will need to be replaced with a more traditional set of stairs. If there is not room for a conventional staircase, you may be able to build switchback stairs or a spiral staircase. Egress window requirements vary by jurisdiction so you may have to do a little research before making a decision.

10. What type of insulation do you want?

The attic’s proximity to the roof makes insulation a top priority. Spray foam insulation is popular for its versatility and energy efficiency. It can be sprayed directly to the roof deck or right into wall cavities. Precut batts are designed to fit snuggly between wall studs. Reflective (or “radiant barrier) insulation is more popular in warmer climates. Heat energy from the sun is reflected before it has the chance to be absorbed into your attic.

Read More: Attic Insulation Options

11. What are you heating and cooling needs?

Your contractor will help you decide the best way to heat and cool this additional space. You may be able to extend your existing system to the attic. If not, electric baseboard heaters may are great for the colder months. Installing a ceiling fan is great way to keep the area cool during the warmer summer months.

Proper ventilation is an important part of any attic remodel, especially when you are installing extra insulation. When your attic overheats, your HVAC equipment has to work harder. This can lead to higher energy bills.

12. How much electrical work is needed?

In most cases, an electrical contractor will need to extend your home’s wiring to the attic. If you live in an older home, this may require you to upgrade your electrical service. Unfortunately, your budget may take a hit if this is the case. However, you will have all the power you need for light fixtures, TVs, and other appliances.

13. Does the attic need plumbing?

If you are interested in installing a sink, shower, or bathtub, it’s likely that you will need the services of a plumbing contractor. Extending your home’s piping to the attic can be a complicated project. However, you can simplify the process by installing the new fixtures right above an existing sink or bathroom. This guarantees that there is access to the water supply nearby, which can also help reduce the cost of the project.

14. Do you plan on hiring a decorator?

Professional decorating services will add to the cost of your project. However, an interior decorator can really help you pull the finished space together. A decorator can help you choose paint colors, select finishes, and arrange furniture.

15. Have you contacted multiple contractors?

It's important to get several estimates from local remodeling contractors. By comparing each quote carefully, you can decide which company is best for your unique project. Before signing a contract, verify that the contractor is properly licensed and fully insured.

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About the Author

ProMatcher Staff, ProMatcher
Orlando, FL 32803

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