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5 Things to Consider Before Converting Unfinished Attic Space into a Home Office

5 Things to Consider Before Converting Unfinished Attic Space into a Home Office

Telecommuting is here to stay. But let’s face it: hunkering over a kitchen table for 40 hours a week for the rest of your work life just isn’t an option. And if reports about Zoom security risks leave you uneasy with the prospect of carving out a workspace in a corner of your bedroom, you’re not alone. As homeowners are looking for workable options, transforming unfinished attic space into a home office is growing in popularity… and necessity. But first: remember that, especially in older homes, attics were built for storing off-season items like decorations and clothing, not modern living according to today’s building codes and safety standards. While some experts discourage attic conversions, others advise homeowners of much to consider before heading to the home improvement store with a grand attic office vision and a credit card. According to the Remodeling Calculator, attic conversion costs can average $40k-50k but also offer one of the highest returns on investment among home improvement projects. So where to begin?

  1. Safety and Code Compliance. Learn the Rule of 7 before you begin any planning. Next, find out who your building code official is and request information on attic conversion standards and permitting processes for your area. The feasibility of the project, and limitations imposed by government regulations, should be looked at carefully, first.

  2. Structural Integrity. Call in a qualified expert to assess your home’s strength from the foundation up, including the current attic head space, current floor joists, and stairs.

  3. Energy Efficiency. Beyond the one-time cost of the project, consider the cost of heating, cooling, lighting, and general living in this additional square footage of living space. To avoid sticker shock on future utility bills, pay careful attention to the cost savings of better quality insulation and more efficient HVAC technology, including separate attic climate control and fans to circulate rising heat.

  4. Adding a Bathroom. Whether it remains a workspace or evolved into a family, craft, or playroom, adding a bathroom will greatly increase everyday livability and your home’s resale value.

  5. Prioritize Easy Access and Escape. Consider carefully your everyday staircase as well as the emergency egress window with a built-in rope escape ladder for peace of mind. For additional safety and convenience, remember to extend your doorbell to the third floor as well.

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