A garret or an attic in a house can be a real asset. According to each person’s preferences, this space can become a revamped living space or a mere storage area to keep space in closets. Nevertheless, before falling for a property with this “little extra”, here are some thoughts to help you choose.
Insulation: a major weakness of a lot of attics
It is often observed that, in houses, heat dispersion is much higher at roof level, a space which is often poorly insulated. When you visit, never forget to ask to see the garret or the attic to check its condition.
Basically, if you notice any humidity marks, thermal bridges or the absence of insulation, you must keep in mind that this space, if not renovated, will make you lose money. Indeed, heat dispersion means more heating and a higher energy bill.
Yet, if you really love the place, a poorly-insulated attic must not necessarily dampen your enthusiasm. There are several ways to perfectly insulate this part of the building and it is not always very expensive. Ask for several cost estimations before making a proposal so that you might negotiate a discount on the purchase price in consideration of the necessity of such works.
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How can you know if an attic has the potential to become a living space?
When you plan to buy house and then extend it and when the attic has not yet been converted, it is difficult to imagine how it could look after some works. Several measurements can help you to know what is possible or not.
It is usually considered that a space needs a minimum height beneath the ceiling of 1.80 m and a minimum roof pitch of 30% to be turned into a living area. Sometimes, the roof framework seems too massive to allow the conversion of the attic: however, do not give up for that reason, as a specialised company might be able to modify the structure or even raise the roof.
Once more, if you have a doubt, it might be appropriate to contact specialised companies and ask for cost estimations so as to know if the attic can be converted and at what price.
Floor, light, thermal comfort: the relevant questions to ask before converting an attic
Once you decide to increase the living area of a house using the attic, you have to make sure the floor is strong enough. Suppliers often recommend to use drywall and plasterboard systems to limit weight, but you can also reinforce the floor to enjoy more freedom of choice in the future.
If you convert the attic into bedrooms, light will not be a problem as roof windows will be sufficient. But, if you intend to build a play or an office room, for instance, take advice on the possibility to increase glass surface without sacrificing thermal comfort.
“Take advice on the possibility to increase glass surface without sacrificing thermal comfort.”
Everybody knows that attic rooms are quickly becoming very cold in winter and very hot in summer. Think about this when you buy: you can always insulate from the outside later. Otherwise, inside, you have the choice between different kinds of insulating wools (glass wool, rock wool) and you can even select super-insulated glazing to avoid too much heat in summer.