If you’re looking to add more living space to your home without expanding outwards, then you’ve probably realized that you have two options – converting a basement or converting an attic.
Unfortunately, both are tightly controlled by various rules and regulations. You can’t just decide one day that you’re going to turn your attic into a guest room or your basement into a study. Suddenly, that makes both options a lot less appealing.
Here, we’re going to take you through the regulations that affect an attic conversion. Hopefully, you’ll then have more of an idea as to whether your project is feasible before getting too advanced on the planning stages.
Floor space and dimensions
There are strict measurements that you have to adhere to in order to satisfy building code when converting an attic. Essentially, it all boils down to space and whether your new room will have enough of it in order to provide adequately sized living quarters that allow an occupant to stand.
As a result, at least 50 percent of the usable floor space must contain a ceiling height of seven feet five inches or more. This is so that virtually every American – except the four who are currently known to be over seven foot four in height – could stand comfortably in the room.
The conversion must also have a minimum of 70 square feet of floor space with a minimum of seven feet in any one direction. That’s to stop the potential situation of a room being three and a half feet by 15 feet, which would technically fill the floor space criteria but would still be impractical to live or work in.
The roof structure
If you’ve got the minimum amount of space required, then the next area to check is the roof. Only roofs which use rafters can be converted into a new room. Any roof which has trusses is a no-go.
The difference? Traditional rafters are triangles; they’ll have one beam along the bottom and two beams going up which support the roof. Trusses will have the same triangular beams as a rafter but with more triangle shapes contained within.
It’s because of those additional beams which provide extra support that an attic with trusses cannot be converted. This is due to the fact that there simply won’t be enough clear space. You might, however, be able to remove the trusses if you have an entire new roof installed, at which point you’ll want to contact a roofing expert such as those at https://www.cmsofsc.com/ to discover how feasible that is. By speaking to a residential roofing specialist, you can get the best direction and advice possible.
Currently, your attic is probably accessed by some sort of ladder, whether it be fixed, pull down or one you have to fetch from the garage. To convert your attic, you must be able to provide access by a staircase which must provide a minimum of six feet eight inches of headroom for its entire walking length, be at least 36 inches wide, have treads at least 10 inches deep and have risers which are at least seven and a quarter inches high.
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