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Old 04-23-2011, 11:43 PM
 
Location: Union County, NC
2,115 posts, read 6,768,787 times
Reputation: 1140

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looking for a lower cost alternative for an addition on the house. We've completely abandoned original plans and now contemplating turning the attic into a bedroom. I have a difficult time envisioning it as livable space. I've had contractors tell me they "do it all the time".

I'm worried about it looking awkward, or like it just doesn't belong there. I can only envision the stairs off the livingroom. What the heck happens to the rafters?

Anyway, just wondering if you've ever seen this done with good results.

Open to insight and recommendations.

Thanks!
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Old 04-25-2011, 05:48 PM
 
123 posts, read 266,901 times
Reputation: 84
People do it all the time down here to make up for lack of basements. I prefer it over a basement for a bedroom any day. We have owned two homes with a walk up attic but have yet to convert yet. We will do ours in our current home one day. Best bang for your buck to add livable space versus traditional addition (i.e. adding more foundation). I would also recomment adding an additional zone to your HVAC if it is in the budget.
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Old 04-25-2011, 06:12 PM
 
689 posts, read 1,551,886 times
Reputation: 655
Homes in Elizabeth and Chantilly have mastered this. Drive around and see what you like.
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Old 04-25-2011, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Mooresville, NC
2,164 posts, read 3,000,839 times
Reputation: 1701
I was walking around in my attic space just last night and was noticing all the unused space and trying to figure out how best to at least floor it (plywood) so we can use it to store stuff. This thread has me thinking media room now!
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:21 AM
 
1,661 posts, read 3,060,703 times
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I have seen it done with good results. A friend of mine turned most of the entire attic into a great master suit in an old house that didn't really have one. It also allowed them to add a 2nd bathroom in the place. The attic in this home was very conclusive to a remodel.

However, I've seen many many horrific examples of attic makeovers that suffered from bad choices in cost cutting. This biggest mistake that people make is in not raising the ceiling to 8 feet. If your attic does not have a large walkable area where a 8 ft or higher ceiling can be placed, and you are unwilling to raise the roof, then don't do it. I was in an attic bedroom in Dilworth once where you immediately had to stoop down to use most of the bedroom. Horrible. The second problem that can be expensive and which is often done badly as a result, is in the stairway. If there are not already built in stairs, then any addition is going to result in loss of floor space down below, and can be significantly expensive to implement. A spiral staircase can solve some of these issues, but it is difficult to move furniture up the things.

Attic conversions are very situational. Most modern houses, where they used trusses for the roof instead of traditional stick building, are going to be more difficult. I am thinking that in most cases, it will be cheaper to do an addition over all the things needed to convert an attic properly.
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:56 AM
 
1,546 posts, read 2,376,969 times
Reputation: 1400
Make sure the Contractor applies for a residential building permit.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:20 AM
 
Location: Union County, NC
2,115 posts, read 6,768,787 times
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I'll let you guys know where we land. We have four contractors coming out between today and tomorrow. We're getting quoted on both jobs.

My grandmother is moving in with us very soon. Original plan involved a bedroom and bathroom for her exclusive use. We were originally quoted anywhere from $20 to 60K. I have no idea why the wide disparity considering I provided the dimensions and noted what accessories we'd want.

The contractor I liked beest quoted us $28K. He put $8,000 in the quote for the plumber, HVAC work and electrician. He said, "These allowances should be enough which means you will get money back. It is hard for me to put firm numbers on these jobs without having them look at the furnace, electrical panel and plumbing supply and waste lines."

Now only more recently it occurred to me that we have quite a bit of space in the attic. Right now we use it for a limited amount of storage. The rafters are 2x4s. The room would be huge. and I figure that must be less expensive as it involves sheetrock, insulation and flooring. No foundation to lay. No permits to pull.

I'm a little weirded out about where the steps would go though. Right now we have those steps that you pull down with a string in the back hallway. That would stay there because if the attic is finished, that area won't even be accessible from the room.

I'm finding out the attic room is a common conversion in older Monroe homes. So we'll see.

Oh, by the way, my boys would go to the attic! Not my grandmother! She would get a downstairs room.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:39 AM
 
1,546 posts, read 2,376,969 times
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Really...no permits to pull. Which contractor told you that?
Advice....call the local building code enforcement office and ask them yourself before you contract. If you don't, remember this, I told you so.
You pay for what you get.




Quote:
Originally Posted by saralee View Post
I'll let you guys know where we land. We have four contractors coming out between today and tomorrow. We're getting quoted on both jobs.

My grandmother is moving in with us very soon. Original plan involved a bedroom and bathroom for her exclusive use. We were originally quoted anywhere from $20 to 60K. I have no idea why the wide disparity considering I provided the dimensions and noted what accessories we'd want.

The contractor I liked beest quoted us $28K. He put $8,000 in the quote for the plumber, HVAC work and electrician. He said, "These allowances should be enough which means you will get money back. It is hard for me to put firm numbers on these jobs without having them look at the furnace, electrical panel and plumbing supply and waste lines."

Now only more recently it occurred to me that we have quite a bit of space in the attic. Right now we use it for a limited amount of storage. The rafters are 2x4s. The room would be huge. and I figure that must be less expensive as it involves sheetrock, insulation and flooring. No foundation to lay. No permits to pull.

I'm a little weirded out about where the steps would go though. Right now we have those steps that you pull down with a string in the back hallway. That would stay there because if the attic is finished, that area won't even be accessible from the room.

I'm finding out the attic room is a common conversion in older Monroe homes. So we'll see.

Oh, by the way, my boys would go to the attic! Not my grandmother! She would get a downstairs room.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Union County, NC
2,115 posts, read 6,768,787 times
Reputation: 1140
Not one contractor said there are no permits to pull. One of my best friends actually works in the permit office in Union County. I'm pretty happy with her referrals.

I misspoke about the permits because there was actually a time when my husband thought he would do this alone. He assumed since we were doing interior improvements, he wouldn't pull a permit. I'm not comfortable with my DH and his friend doing a job of this magnatude. We're definitely hiring someone for the task.
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Union County, NC
2,115 posts, read 6,768,787 times
Reputation: 1140
We're not doing it. Three contractors explained to me today why it's a bad deal for my house. It had something to do with trusses and needing a structural engineer.


Instead we're adding on a 15x20 bedroom with a completely handicapped accessible bathroom. I'm a little bummed that I'll be losing one of my LR windows due to logistics but in the end, I believe we will all be satisfied. Most importantly, I'll have my grandmother here with me! (Now, if only we can get her house sold!) We also have to move our mulch bed and fountain. Had to break that to DH. He works in the yard obsessively.

Our septic is our biggest issue. Went to the UC Department of Health today though and that's not even going to be the nightmare I had anticipated. However, they do charge $250 to come out and inspect. No biggie.

Three estimates today very close in range. Researching the individual contractors. I'm leaning toward one.

Happy to get moving with this project.

Looks like the average is 60 days for completion. I'll keep everyone posted.
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