Peter Sun

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Feb 23, 2013
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Creating Living or Storage Areas in Roof SpaceMost houses have roof space that is ready for converting into either extra living or storage space. It only costs a fraction of the price of a renovation or extension. Conventionally, a renovation can cost between $3,000 and $4,000 a square meter. If you convert roof space costs it usually costs only about $1500 a square meter

Attic conversions usually involve adding skylights, insulation, floors and a dormer window. Keeping natural ventilation is important. You can raise roof lines to accommodate taller members of the family. Generally, the attic is the largest space in a house. This is especially true if you have an older-style bungalow, semi or terrace where the roof pitch is high. You cannot, however, convert all attics.

If you have a space-poor house like a terrace, then you can add an extra 25 or 30 square meters of space for a very low price with an attic conversion. If your home is a more modern house with triangular-shaped support beams, you won’t be able to convert the space.

Attic conversions are somewhat of a “grey area.” They depend on whether the room is considered habitable under the building codes for your area. Usually, the room needs to have at least 60% of the space with a height of 2.4 meters to meet the code. This may vary.

You also need a proper fixed staircase. Attics in houses with a roof that has sloping ends and sides can make creating a staircase access that has adequate head space difficult. If you renovate to add a storage room, it is much easier and needs only a pull-down ladder for access. A fixed staircase installation will help you to get the most use out of an attic room. Creating a fixed staircase will cause you to lose at least 3-3.5 meters of floor space on the ground floor, if you only build a 750 millimeter-wide staircase. This won’t have any space to get furniture up and down it.

Extra storage space always comes in handy, even if you can’t convert your roof space into living space. Pull-down attic ladders only cost between $400 and $1300 to build, and can be cheaper than creating a built-in wardrobe. If you want to store heavy things such as boxes of boos, you should get your attic areas checked for load-bearing capacities. If you have an older style house, you’ll probably have good capacities. They are built with hardwood joists. These are typically one-and-a-half times stronger than e treated pine joists, which are usually used in most houses today. Each square meter needs to be able to bear up to 400 kilograms of weight.

Timber joists will deflect if there is too much weight. You will be able to tell by the first sign which is cracks in the ceiling beneath the weight. If the loads are too much, you get deflection in the roof members first. The timber will bow, and you can get a sudden failure—which means the roof crashes down. A professional engineer will be able to check an attic for you.

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