At some point in every homeowner’s life a desperate cry arises from the depths of the heart; if only we had more space.
The expansion of the family, the build-up of household items and tools or simply the need for a home office or studio means your existing home may no longer be adequate.
But for many people the thought of adding another room or an extension to the house is just too complicated and expensive.
But there is another alternative — an attic conversion. Many Australian homes have large amounts of unused space in the roof cavity.
This area may be perfect for an attic conversion. The most common roof structure in Australia will involve a truss system or rafters and will contain some electrical wiring, maybe some ducting and pipes and your ceiling insulation.
The rest is dead space. And there’s a good chance that you can turn that space into an attractive storage area, a loft studio/ office or additional bedroom or living space.
What Are The Benefits Of An Attic Conversion?
In most cases, an attic conversion will work out considerably cheaper than extending your home.
The work will also be less intrusive so there will be less impact on your downstairs living space. For example, you won’t need to remove external walls and open up your home to the weather.
Attic conversions significantly increase your property value. They’ll also make your home easier to market and sell.
And, of course the whole family will really appreciate that extra room whether it’s the teenager who’s been craving their own space, the spouse who needs a private home office/ studio, or as a spare room for guests and grandchildren.
Plus converting your attic may be the perfect time to install or replace ceiling insulation.
A Few Attic Room Ideas
The very nature of attic spaces invites you to be playfully creative and to unleash your inspirational talents.
There’s something mysterious about an attic; that hidden space above. Your imagination can do wonders with that space to create magical areas in your home.
Imagine having the extra space for the following:
- Private bedroom with ensuite, separate from the rest of the house
- Living area — an escape space for the parents or the children
- Work / Office/ Studio — alone at last, now you can get some work done
- A family rumpus room — games galore, make all the noise you want
- At last your dedicated home entertainment centre and cinema
Need Some More Storage?
By using the space in the roof you can potentially add up to 30% of your floor space.
That’s a massive amount of space that you can use as extra storage for those unwanted or little used items.
You can never have too much storage, whether your kids are off on their big OE and need the mum and dad safe deposit option or you want to de-clutter and keep your winter clothes somewhere clean and dry for the summer.
Not Sure Where to Start
WE ARE THE ATTIC EXPERTS
What You Need To Know
Converting an attic or roof space is a serious undertaking because it impacts on major structural aspects of the house.
Your roof space may not be suitable for conversion because of height restrictions or the load bearing capacity of your trusses or rafters.
And if you don’t do your homework you could end up in serious trouble with Council, and your insurance company.
So, your first step is to find the right builder and architect who can work through these issues with you.
Here, at No.1 Roofing and Building, our years of experience mean we can give you some really sound guidance about next steps.
We can give you invaluable advice on your materials choices. And we can point you in the direction of really experienced tradesmen and help you get the best from your contractors.
What Are The Requirements?
Attic conversions are a major renovation and so involving a designer will ensure your attic conversion meets your local council requirements as well as comply with the Building Code.
In simple terms, if you intend to use your attic space as a living area then you must have Council permission.
If you are simply creating a storage attic with ladder access then you do not need Council approval.
Experienced designers will be able to prepare plans for Council and liaise with engineers over structural requirements.
Your designers will also be able to work through the height requirements and deal with any heritage value challenges that restrict the outwards appearance of your conversion too.
The Building Code generally requires 60% or more of the area to have 2.2 metres height clearance for a habitable space.
Roof pitches of around 30 degrees are often suitable for attic conversions. Lifting the roof or altering the roof pitch may be an option where the ceiling height limits are not adequate.
If you are remodelling the roof you might want to explore some of our special roofing cladding types.
Or maybe you want to go with concrete, terracotta or slate tiles. Monier has had a superb reputation for its quality tiles for more than 100 years and they make any roof look great.
This is a great opportunity to install high quality ceiling insulation.
Check out our enormous range of insulation types from Bradfords, Knauf Earthwool, Permastop and many others and be really warm this winter and manage you heating costs.
You will also need to install adequate lighting and ventilation. We have some really exciting skylight, roof window and dormer window options that will open up any attic to an abundance of natural light.
The floor of your attic is another critical area that will have to meet Council and Building Code requirements.
A structural engineer may need to assess the load bearing capacity of your attic floor. Additional strengthening elements may be necessary.
Electrical cabling and plumbing may run through your ceiling and some work may be needed to ensure safety or for realignment if you’re going to add a shower and toilet.
What’s The Best Access?
You’ll want to think carefully about how you access your attic space. If it’s just a storage area then folding, telescopic or spring-loaded ladders may be your ideal option.
These fold into the trapdoor and mean that you retain all the space that would otherwise be lost to a permanent stairway.
We supply the elegant and sophisticated attic ladders from the Attic Group and Keylite range.
There are height requirements around stairway access; you’ll need a minimum of 2 metres of headroom at the top even with a foldaway ladder.
A permanent staircase will require 2 metres of headroom the entire length of the staircase.
Need An Attic Ladder or Stairs?
we have all the top brands
What’s The Best Flooring?
You cannot assume that your existing ceiling will be strong enough for an attic conversion. If you intend to use it as a liveable space then it will need to be able to bear loads of 400kg per square metre.
You will need an engineer to determine the kinds of span distances and other specifications as most roofing span tables only account for the dead loads of the roof and ceiling.
Unless your roof structure was designed with a later attic conversion in mind then some strengthening work will probably be required.
Laminated beams offer real strength allied with precision engineering ideal for this situations.
Once you have an adequate floor structure then you can have fun choosing your flooring.
Timber is always a great option as its natural warmth will reflect the light and make your attic space seem larger, brighter and even more inviting.
We have a range of beautiful native tongue & groove timber flooring including:
- Red Gum
And we can supply imported timbers too such as Ash, Alder, and Birch.
We also supply a wide range of flooring options including special sheet floorings such as the Structarfloor range in 19mm to 25mm thicknesses.
What's The Best Options For Light?
You can transform any attic conversion with natural light thanks to our spectacular range of skylights, roof windows, and dormer windows.
Manual or fully automated opening mechanisms including rain sensors will infuse your new space with an abundance of natural light and enhance your views.
Dormer windows are a great option too but these may be restricted where it impacts on the heritage values of older houses.
Explore Natural Lighting Options
we are the skylight experts
What’s It Cost For An Attic Conversion?
Attic conversions can be surprisingly affordable. Naturally, it will depend on the size of the conversion, any complications such as lifting the roof, and the materials you choose.
In most cases, a thoughtfully designed attic conversion will add significant resale value to your property as well as give you the much-needed extra space.
It pays to get expert advice. Get multiple quotes from professionals. We can recommend a number of builders who do loft conversions in your area.
Remember, anyone doing a loft or attic conversion must be a licensed builder. In your budget don’t forget to allow for the following costs:
- Plumbing & electrical fixtures
- Carpet or other flooring
- Council fees
- Plans and design fees
As a very general rule of thumb you can probably count on spending from $1500 per square metre for your conversion.
A very basic storage loft might cost from $2500 whereas a habitable attic might cost in the region of $100,000 and up depending on the size and purpose of the new space.
But this is still a very cost effective solution when you think that a typical home extension costs around $4000 per square metre.
Need An Onsite Quotation?
When you have some lofty ideas, it’s time to think big or even just a little bigger; talk to the experts at No.1 Roofing and Building Supplies; we can help you get the attic conversion you have been dreaming of.