Imagine having a 400-square-foot area in your home that remained untouched and unused?
A room that stayed empty, only to collect dust and cobwebs.
Seems like a bit of a waste, doesn't it?
Well, today, many homeowners are converting the wasted space often found in lofts and attics into special rooms of their own.
"Today, people have more need for space," says Greg Miller, owner of G.E. Miller Builder & Contractor. "Gone are the days of people going out for activities. Instead, people are cocooning.
"Our demographic has changed to a point where people are basically self-sufficient in their home requirements to create a personal oasis. For instance, master suites are like spas and we entertain ourselves with home theatres, electronics and game consoles that weren't thought of years ago."
And when it comes to lofts and attics, the sky is the limit in regard to what people are using them for.
They can be converted into home theatres, rec rooms, music studios, playrooms, offices, bathrooms or in-law suites.
Renovating the room is also a popular project because it gives homeowners a lot of bang for the renovating buck.
"To convert the space, and all things considered equal and there's no issues or problems, a livable loft or attic can be converted for $35 to $50 per square foot," says Bryan Baeumler, host of HGTV's Disaster DIY and House of Bryan. "For more difficult or problematic loft/attic renovations, it can cost upwards to $100 to $150 per square foot and up."
However, when it comes to return on investment, converting that space can up the value of a home by a significant amount.
"For example, let's say you have a 2,000-square-foot home," says Miller. "If you create a livable loft or attic, you're adding 400 square feet to that home, or an additional 20 per cent of additional floor space. That could increase the value of your home by 20 per cent."
Baeumler says livable lofts and attics are especially trendy for older homes situated in urban areas.
"They're more worthwhile in downtown homes that are smaller," says Baeumler. "You're not going to get as much bang for your buck if you put it in an acreage property in the middle of nowhere."
Although it sounds like a no-brainer, converting a loft or attic into a personal hideaway is no simple task, and homeowners must take special considerations when undertaking the reno.
"Changing an attic into a room is not as simple as banging a hole in the ceiling and putting in some plywood," says Baeumler.
Before you start your renovation, you must make sure you get the appropriate building permits and that everything is up to code.
"These days, there's a demand for everything to have an engineering sign-off," says Miller. "Building codes have specifications for roof load and, depending on the region, will have a calculation that can take a certain amount of snow load. The codes are in place to assure public safety so a collapse doesn't happen."
When it comes to insulating the room, Baeumler warns homeowners to use the proper insulation and ensure there's enough air space in the area.
"You can't just stuff insulation into the ceiling and put drywall in it," says Baeumler. "If you're insulating improperly, and don't leave a lot of air space, mould will occur in the joint space above."
Moreover, if your home's attic is built with trusses, it makes it more costly to create a livable loft or attic. Trusses are like spiderwebs made up of two by fours. A lot of newer homes are built with trusses because it's an easier way to build for contractors. However, to convert an attic with trusses, contractors would have to tear the roof off, take the trusses out, and build a floor platform in there because the framing wouldn't be able to take people's weight.
"At that point, you're looking at big bucks," says Miller. "You might want to look at adding an addition instead."
Via: The Vancouver Sun
Craig Rushton, CENTURY 21 In Town Realty, 604.505.6503, www.craigrushton.com