What Is the Purpose of an Attic?

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You have many uses for an attic, including extra storage space.
You have many uses for an attic, including extra storage space. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Depending on how creative you are, you can turn your attic into much more than just wasted space. With little to no effort, your attic can be used as a storage facility, protecting the treasured items you have collected throughout your life. With a little more work -- and possibly the help of a professional -- your attic can be converted into an office, bedroom or anything else you can imagine.

The Purpose

An attic is located directly below the roof of either a building or a house and can be used for a few different purposes. For example, depending on the size of the attic, you can convert it into a spare bedroom or guest room. If you have gathered a fair amount of items over your life, you can use the attic as a storage room. Or you can turn it into a den or office. Attics also supply support for the roof, utilizing either rafters or trusses to do such. Rafters are types of beams while trusses are triangular pieces of wood. If your attic has trusses, turning it into a livable or workable room might be more difficult. Trusses are typically found in smaller attics, also known as crawl spaces.

Converting

Before you convert your attic into a livable or workable space, take measurements. Ensure there is enough head room to walk around comfortably. Measure the distance between the walls to see what types of furniture you can place inside. Larger attics can be converted into comfortable bedrooms while smaller attics might make a better work area or at-home gym. You can also add a dormer, which adds head space to the attic ceiling and allows for a window to be installed, creating more light within the area.

Ventilation

If you are building an attic -- or already have an attic -- see that it has attic vents. An intake attic vent allows fresh air to enter the area from outside the house while the exhaust vent allows stale air to exit the attic. Attic vents protect against moisture that can build up, especially during the wintertime. Once this moisture builds up, the insulation and wood within the attic can begin to rot. This moisture can also lead to mildew and mold. Any of these symptoms would make your attic space unlivable.

A Cool Attic

Vents can be used to cool an attic during the warm summer months, allowing you to use less air conditioning and preserve energy in the process. However, you can also install an attic fan, which uses a thermal switch to automatically turn the fan on when the attic reaches a specific temperature. Whatever you use your attic for -- whether for storage, sleep, work or play -- you'll want to keep it cool.

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