Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thinking about that attic

Not all attics are created equal so before you start dreaming of that gorgeous loft you need to determine a few things. That means going up to the attic and taking a look around. What do you see?

1) You may have potential for an attic if it has a kind of A shape. Some are designed with a W shape (this refers to the trusses that support the roof). If it is the W kind of attic, you may find that the expense of remodeling makes a project elsewhere in the house make more sense. Remember, these shapes are about the supports for the roof so you can’t take short cuts.

2) If the attic has potential, you’ll need to determine how much headroom there is. This will be guided by the pitch of the roof. There are often building codes in place that require a minimum amount of headroom so even though you can stand up easily that doesn’t mean you can go ahead.

You’ll need to measure and determine how much room there is and if it meets codes. You’ll also find headroom down the middle isn’t sufficient. There is usually a minimum area of the attic that needs to allow for the proper headroom. Keep in mind, building materials will likely take some of the current height away.

3) You’ll also need to consider how people will get up to the attic. Standard stairs will take up a considerable amount of space from the floor below. You may be able to reduce this with stairs that have a landing halfway up. Another option is spiral stairs which generally take up the least amount of space from the floor below.

4) If you’ve considered all of these and see that everything is a “Go!” then take a moment to consider the insulation for the loft’s walls and how the room will be heated and ventilated. Then … start the dreaming!

5) Lastly, remember to always check with local codes about what you can do and what requirements may be in place, such as exits. You don’t want to find yourself with a project that, when finished, can’t be used or can’t be insured. Check those codes!

And if all that seems overly daunting, take a breath and relax. With experts like those at Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes, you have a skilled help on your side.

Serving Northern Virginia
Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
8630-C Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
Tel:(703) 641-9800
Fax:(703) 641-5938