Looking for an affordable way to increase your home’s living space?
Converting your attic or loft space into a livable, functional space might just be the answer you are looking for. Attics are great locations for home offices, media rooms, creative working spaces, or bedrooms…the possibilities are endless.
Before starting an attic conversion or loft conversion remodel, you will want to review the many building codes that correspond to your home. These can be very tricky and vary from one municipality to another. So you will want to contact us for a complete review of your home codes before beginning.
Here are the most important codes to consider:
The living attic space must satisfy the same room requirements governing any dwelling. The code states that there must be at least 10 sq ft with a ceiling height of 5 feet or more.
The minimum window space required is equal to or more than 8% of the usable sq ft of the attic conversion. So if you have a loft conversion that is 100 square feet with which the ceiling is at least 5 feet or higher. Your glazed area must be at least 8 square feet. (8% of 100) The minimum for openable area is at least 4%. In this example, you would need at least 4 square feet that is accessible to the outside.
50% of the usable area must have a ceiling height of 7 feet or higher. In our example above, you must have 50 square feet of ceilings of 7 feet or higher. To satisfy this requirement, many attic conversion and loft remodels use a dormer. The use of a dormer not only settles this requirement, but they are great sources to increase natural light and improve ventilation. This is another intricate feature that is best left to the consult with an attic conversion specialist.
Your heating system must be available to maintain a steady attic temperature of at least 68 degrees according to building code. This is not an issue in most cases since hot air rises and the main floor living areas will allow heat to rise heating your attic conversion.
Your attic conversion with a fixed set of stairs is required a load capacity of 30 pounds per sq ft. Calculating this will require knowledge about the framing style of your home, area of the floor of your space, and the lumber used in construction. This will require a professional to calculate accurately.
Safe Stair Design
The construction of your attic conversion or loft remodel must meet a variety of different building codes. The creation of safe stairs is an important aspect of this remodel project. Allowing enough space to have drop down stairs or a hatchway is crucial. There are code restrictions for width, rise, head clearance and depth of stairs. In addition to access by stairs, a habitable attic needs at least one operable emergency escape-and-rescue opening. Codes regulate this opening’s minimum dimensions and proper placement.
Most attic conversions and loft remodels push the knee walls as close to the eaves as possible to create as large of a floor space as possible. Carpet is one of the most popular flooring options for attic remodels. The finishing of your loft conversion is completely up to your personal tastes. There are no building codes that govern decorating your new living space.
As you can see the building code requirements are extensive for this remodel project. Many DIY’ers find the work easy for an attic conversion. Knowing the building code for your city are best left to a professional. Our professional contractors and project managers know the limits for your attic conversion project. Give us a call today at 281-855-3400 or visit our remodel project planner and let one of our design consultants guide you through your journey to building your dream home!