How to Convert Your Attic Into a Livable Space

Attic insulation

If you find yourself wishing for more space at home, the area between your roof and ceiling could be the solution. Attics make great spare bedrooms, playrooms, reading nooks, storage areas and AirBnb rentals.

Read on to find out if an attic conversion is possible for your home, plus some helpful tips about building regulations, attic insulation, access methods and more.

Reasons to Convert Your Attic

If you’re looking for more livable space at an affordable price, an attic conversion might be a good move. Reasons to convert your attic include:

  • More usable space – We don’t often think of the roof area as valuable space, but you might be surprised how much room is up there. Instead of moving to a larger home, an attic conversion may help you expand your living area where you are.
  • Affordable renovation – Attic conversions can often be more affordable than moving to a larger home or undergoing other renovation options, such as extensions and studio buildings. Depending on the way your home is made, an attic conversion could be a smart move financially.
  • Increased property value – With more livable space, your property will likely increase in value. Plus, a well designed attic can increase the appeal of your home if you plan on selling it later. You could also rent out your attic space for short term stays such as on AirBnb.

Is Your Attic Eligible for a Conversion?

While attic conversions might be a smart solution for some homes, for other homes it’s not possible to convert the attic into a living space. Keep in mind that you may need to apply for council approval before starting any renovations.

Common reasons that an attic conversion is denied include:

  • Ceiling is not high enough – at least 60% of the space needs to have a height of 2.2 metres or more in order for the space to be classified as a ‘habitable room’.
  • Heritage restrictions on the home’s facade.
  • Foundations of the house can’t cope with the load bearing required.

Know the Local Building Regulations

As with any type of renovation your home undergoes, you will need to make sure the attic conversion complies with all building regulations outlined in the Building Code of Australia, as well as any local council regulations.

The best way to ensure you stay within regulations is to work with a local builder or architect who can handle the paperwork for you and walk you through your different options. 

If you are converting the attic into a livable space, you will need to ensure it is safe for occupants. That includes things like, having the right flooring to cope with heavier weights, insulating the area to prevent overheating and making sure there’s enough ventilation and light.

Once you’ve had your home assessed and received approval for your attic conversion, it could take as little as 8 to 12 weeks to complete the renovations. It’s most likely that you’ll be able to keep living in your home during the renovations.

Attic Insulation Is Essential

The greatest amount of heat loss and gain in a home is through the roof. That means without adequate insulation your attic space will struggle to regulate temperatures, making it uncomfortable to live in. 

Attic insulation will help prevent heat loss during winter and slow down the rate of heat gain in summer. Not only will this make the attic space more comfortable, it will also mean any air conditioning, heaters or fans you install will run more efficiently. 

In fact, having attic insulation will help reduce energy consumption and lower your energy bills. Whether or not you end up converting your attic, it’s important to insulate the roof area for better energy efficiency in your home.

Keeping Unwanted Noises Out

When you create a living space above the rest of the home, you want to make sure noises from upstairs don’t become an issue in the downstairs living areas. Without acoustic insulation in the ceiling (i.e. the floor of your attic), footsteps, appliances and voices can easily travel into the rooms below. 

Acoustic insulation batts are thicker and more dense than thermal insulation batts. Installed in between the ceiling rafters, they will help prevent sound transfer while still offering all of the thermal benefits too.

If you live under a flight path or frequently have heavy wind and rain, you may also want to insulate under the roof with acoustic insulation to reduce the amount of noise entering your attic space.

Choosing the Right Flooring

It’s essential that your ceiling / attic floor is strong enough to support people, furniture and appliances. You’ll want it to be able to bear loads of around 400kg per square metre.

An engineer or builder will need to assess your ceiling to see if renovations or further supports will need to be installed. Two methods of strengthening your ceiling include increasing the size of your ceiling joists and reinforcing your ceiling joists. 

Once your ceiling achieves enough strength, you can choose which flooring finish you want installed on top. Timber flooring, carpet and laminate are all popular choices.

How to Access Your Attic Space

Depending on what you’re using the space for, there are several access options to consider. Two of the most popular options include:

  • Ladders – If your attic will just be used for storage, then a folding or telescopic ladder which descends from the ceiling might be a good option. This is the most affordable option as it typically requires the least changes to an existing attic to install. Ladders are also good if you want to save space as they fold up into the ceiling when not in use.
  • Staircases – Staircases are more permanent and a good option if the attic will be a bedroom or other frequently accessed room. Of course a staircase will take up room inside your home. Keep in mind that you will need at least two metres of head room the full length of the staircase.

Ready to Bring Your Dream Attic Conversion to Life? Order the Perfect Attic Insulation Today.

Now that you’re ready to convert your attic into a liveable space, get your insulation ordered online today – it’s that easy. Head straight to our online store if you know what you’re looking for, or give us a call so we can help you figure out exactly what insulation you’ll need to bring your attic conversion to life.

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