Things to Consider Before Remodeling an Unused Space in Your Home


Usable Family Space – Home Solutions

Depending on where you live and the age of your house, you might have an attic, basement, or garage that you want to convert into usable family space. If that’s the case, it helps to have a seasoned contractor on hand who knows how to manage these sorts of projects and the related surprises that inevitably pop up.

If you’re looking to do a project like this, here are some things that you should consider before you start pulling out the sledgehammer.

First, think about the zoning rules in your neighborhood. Many cities require that each single-family home has a garage that can fit at least one car. If you’re looking to convert your garage into a rec room or even a bedroom, you’ll need to make sure that you’re able to do that. Furthermore, if you’re looking to turn it into a bedroom, many cities will require that any sleeping area has a window of specified dimensions. This is a fire safety measure in case somebody needs to escape from their sleeping quarters. When fires break out at night, often times people aren’t aware of it until it’s too late to go out through normal exit pathways, so a window is crucial. You’ll need to make sure that you have a large enough wall space in your garage that you can install that window.

Second, you’ll need to look at the support structures your house currently has. If you’re looking to convert the attic, for example, you need to make sure that the beams supporting the attic space are strong enough to tolerate extended human occupancy. If they’re not, you’ll need to figure out if you can either reinforce them, install stronger beams, or do something else to make sure that the structure is sturdy enough. That also applies to any basement area. Oftentimes, people will want to knock out pillars and walls in basements to make it a more open area, but that can remove crucial support that you need for the rest of your house. Before you go removing any pillars or walls, make sure you know which ones are load-bearing.

Third, you’ll want to consider whether the living space that you’re planning to build will require running water or gas. For example, if you’re planning to turn it into a guest suite or apartment, with a bathroom and/or a kitchen, you’ll need to make sure you can run gas and water hookups to that area. Think about your existing walls, where your pipes are currently located, and whether it would be feasible to plumb and pipe things the way you want them.

Finally, you’ll need to think about insulation. Most attics and basements are not well-insulated, which means that attics can be terribly cold in winter and terribly hot in summer, and depending on where you live, your basement can be very, very cold during winter. You’ll have to think about how insulating the structure will affect your usable space, and whether different types of insulation might affect your plans for that space.

One more thing: if you’re planning to trim out your basement, think long and hard about rain patterns in your area. Do you frequently get enough rain that things start to flood? Or are you in a pretty dry desert area? if you’re somewhere where it floods, what is your plan for keeping the basement dry? Will you use a pump, or structure it in some other way to prevent water from getting in?

Are You Finding The Best Plan For Your Home

These are all crucial questions to consider before turning an unused area like an attic, garage, or basement into a usable family space. Luckily, a good contractor can help you sort through all of these issues before you start construction. You can take a look at some of our basement remodeling work here. We’re happy to talk through your options with you and help you figure out what’s the best plan of action for your home. Give us a call anytime.

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