Do it Yourself Attic Conversions

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It's always nice to have more space in the house. Whether you need a bedroom, an office, a study room or a game room, if you own a house with a large attic space, it might be the perfect place to add another room. Check your city codes to make sure there aren't any restrictions on conversion of attic space to living space.

First Things First

  • The first thing you want to look for is the amount of the insulation between the ceiling joists in the attic. Since you will be covering this with plywood, it's a good idea to be certain there is plenty of insulation between the ceiling joists. But remember, the idea is not to stuff the insulation in--you are looking for the right combination of insulation and air space.

    Once the insulation is taken care of, you are ready to install three-quarter-inch plywood on the ceiling joists. Install the plywood using a variable speed drill and a Phillips head screw tip plus either drywall screws or decking screws. Install one screw every 8 inches on the ceiling joists. Be certain to make your splices where the plywood comes together center on top of the ceiling joists.

Framing In

  • The walls should be built out of 2-by-4 lumber and should not be any shorter than 84 inches (7 feet). Build these walls as you would any other wall in the construction of a room, by placing the studs on 16-inch centers. A door should be framed in at one of the highest points of the room. This opening should be 2 inches wider than the door itself.

    Keep in mind that the corners of two of the walls need two studs in order to secure wall covering solidly. For example, build one wall with two studs on both ends. The two walls that connect to it can have just one stud.

    Make your ceiling joists for the room in the attic out of the widest lumber that will fit between the top of the wall and the roof of the attic. Two-by-6 lumber will be adequate for rooms that are less than 8 feet wide. If possible, secure the ceiling joists to the new walls and the roof rafters.

Finishing Up

  • Once the room is framed in; you are ready to run electricity to it. It would be best to use a breaker in the electrical panel just for this room. Find the best possible route to the electrical panel box and run as much wire as is needed for the room's purpose. If any of the wire needs to run on the outside of the house, be sure to use conduit pipe for safety reasons. Install the needed boxes to the stud for electrical outlets, light switches or junction boxes.

    Next, cover the walls on the outside of the room with plywood. This allows for adding installation in the walls of the new room in the attic. Add the installation inside the room between the studs in the walls. Then cover the inside of the walls and ceiling with the desired covering.

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