Is it possible to finish my attic?

Old 09-13-14, 04:18 PM
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Exclamation Is it possible to finish my attic?

I have a bungalow and i just recently crawled into the attic after 3 years of living in the house. I thought i will never use this for storage i wonder if i can finish this but i have 2 problems. First, There is a bunch of rafters going across the attic the ones that keep the roof from sagging. But the one i'm worried about is that the peak of the roof is about 9 inches above my head theres barely any headroom.

That is definitely a problem because i would need a structural engineer to raise my roof.

Is it still possible to finish it and still use it for other reasons?
Old 09-16-14, 08:12 AM
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It depends on what size joists are there & how much weight you want to add to it. We really need more details.
Old 09-16-14, 09:20 AM
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It's possible. An architect could help you out.
What they would look at is existing foundation and if it can support a second story. If you get lucky, you won't have to add any depth to the foundation.

Replacing existing ceiling joists with floor joists, raising roof and walls, could be a little pricey. But there's a lot there you can do yourself. I wouldn't want to do any foundation work myself.
Old 09-16-14, 11:07 AM
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I'm a bit confused. Are you asking if you can "finish" (whatever that means) your attic space that has only nine inches of headroom without raising the roof? Why on earth would you even consider that? Or are you asking if it is practical and cost-effective to add a second level to your house?

You probably could add a second level but it would be quite expensive, it would likely be cheaper to move to a different house depending on several factors regarding location.
Old 09-17-14, 08:15 PM
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In short: not with the existing roof framing and ceiling joists.

1. The ceiling joists would now become a floor. This is your biggest concern because most ceilings are not built to support much more than their own weight and some insulation. Making this a habitable space requires having a structual engineer or an architect design you a new floor, (with proper load bearing joists, which would lose you about 7" of headroom because your ceiling is now a floor and will require taller joists) completely removing the existing ceiling and joists (which normally requires removing the roof as well), and setting the new joists and any required load bearing straight down to the foundation.

2. The "rafters going across the attic" are probably cross tie collars and horizontally joining each rafter at one third of the height of the space. Those cannot be removed without re-engineering the roof, removing it, and replacing it.

The cost of all of that would soon be better spent to just popping the top and officially adding a second floor (and finding another place to live for a few months).

On the other hand: Doing it yourself by making it look as much like a livable space as possible (adding insulation, rocking the walls and putting plywood and flooring on the floor) will make your house unsellable and unsafe due to lack of permits and code allowable additions and probably cause cracks in the lower ceiling or worse.

On the up-side: Whatever you legally spend popping the top, depending upon your location, you'll generally get back around 70% of the cost on improved value of your home (the first year). That will appreciate accordingly. The more beds and adequate baths, electrical and HVAC on that second floor will improve that ratio.

Historically, bungalows were built at a low cost to be affordable. Your attic space (and ceilings below) were built to provide the minimal structural integrity. It's an attic, a home for insulation and air, and was never meant to be habitable space.

Last edited by Builder 1; 09-17-14 at 08:31 PM. Reason: On the up side thought
Old 09-17-14, 08:45 PM
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Welcome Builder 1,
That is about the best first post I have ever read.
For storage, why finish?
For living, a whole other story.

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