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  1. #1
    Shaun Kane's Avatar
    Shaun Kane Guest

    Default Using the attic as additional rooms.

    I have a huge attic. I was going to add a room in the back of the house to give us some more working room and freeing up the small bedrooms. But while having an air handler installed, I was looking at the vast amount of space I have in the attic.

    The roof is pitched 6.5x12- There is plenty of overhead clearance. With the addition of only one dormer and two windows on the gable walls, I could fit two rooms up there.

    When I planned the house, I put all the closets, pantries, utility spaces, and the bathrooms in the middle of the floor plan so I do't think that bearings for the structural I-beams is a problem.

    I've done a good job in the past of looking up the code myself and saving the inspection office from a lot of "sit down" time with me. I'd like to do the same while investigating this project.

    I think that my plans will fall under accepted pratices but would like to know under what heading I should be looking up the code involved for additions like this. NC has a pretty good site but it can get tricky to navigate.

    Has anyone ever worked with attic additions like this?

    Similar Threads:
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Using the attic as additional rooms.

    From what you describe, the most likley shortfall would be the floor framing for the prospective space. If it was originally designed as an attic it is possibly/likely not enough for a floor structure. Not that it can't be built up to meet the requirement but it can be difficult.

    Creating living space is really not too "hi-tech". You just need the structure, access/egress and heat. There are some other things too but nothing that difficult.

    To get started I'd find out what size/span/spacing the floor framing of the prospective space is and compare it to a span table.

  3. #3
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Using the attic as additional rooms.

    SK: Back in the day I did hundreds of attic conversions. As MF mentioned, the important issues to deal with are:

    (1) Adequate floor joist sizing.

    (2) Adequate ceiling joist sizing.

    (3) Adequate emergency egress provisions.

    (4) Adequate heating/cooling.

    (5) Adequate electrical lighting and receptacle outlets.

    (6) Adequate insulation.

    (7) Adequate construction skills or enough money to hire them.

    BTW, number 7 is the most critical.

  4. #4
    Shaun Kane's Avatar
    Shaun Kane Guest

    Default Re: Using the attic as additional rooms.

    Thanks for the quick reply guys.

    I already feel much better about moving forward with this project in the next couple of years. Your outline will make my presentation to the inspections office very logical. I've identified a couple of points that may be sticky and in just a few minutes on Bing, found the work-arounds I'll need.

    My inspectors have been more than happy to help me out during this last addition I am working on. I'm not trying to battle them like my neighbors do so they may have given me a list like y'all wrote the very first day I questioned them about my idea. That said, I still feel like I can get more sound advice right out of the box if I have the fundementals covered and I can maintain my credibility as a tradesman if I walk in prepared.

    This is a great forum. If more people would learn how to talk to you guys- maybe more, how to listen to you guys- projects would go smoother and your own work days would be less stressful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Chicago IL

    Default Re: Using the attic as additional rooms.

    AD nailed it, all issues that have to be resolved. You may want to look into whether or not your muni has a Zoning ordinance that restricts additional living space based on a percentage of the lot size. Many of the burbs around here have such restrictions. The idea came about to combat McMansions that were being built lot line to lot line.
    Also look into required kneewall height. This may affect your room layout.
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    state of jefferson

    Default Re: Using the attic as additional rooms.

    ad had some very useful suggestions but left out the need to have the foundation and headers evaluated for the additional live and dead loading that the second story will create! involve a design professional

  7. #7
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: Using the attic as additional rooms.

    In addition to all of the above mentioned, planning for the stairs is often one of the biggest issues, not only in the lost space on the first floor but they must also top out in the center of the upstairs. At only a 6 1/2" pitch this could make the headroom for the stairs tricky unless you have room to put the stairs bottom to top in the center of the house.


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