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briand92

06:18PM | 05/26/03
Member Since: 03/09/03
26 lifetime posts
Bvbasement
I am exploring the idea of finishing my attic to gain extra living space. I have rafters so there are no trusses in the way. However, the attic is only 6' 8" tall in the center. I haven't been able to find any information on minimum attic heights for finishing, but this seems a little low. Can anyone tell me if that is too low for code or would it not be worth finishing? Thanks.

Jay J

06:13AM | 05/27/03
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi briand92,

You have a LOT of homework to do. If you're planning on finishing this attic yourself, it would be well-advised to hire an Architect. For just a few reasons that you mention, 1) you've never done this before, 2) you don't know the Building Codes, 3) you don't know if the floor joists can carry the extra load of a finished room (and its furniture), 4) you don't know if the HVAC system can handle the load, 5) fire escape, 6) on and on and on.

If you were to spend some of that saved $$$ on an Architect, that would be $$$ well spent. SOrry for such a short answer and a round-about answer to boot.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: God Bless America!

PPS: You might be able to tell but I'm not a big fan of finishing an attic. Unless the attic, like many basements, were designed to be finished, then I'd have a different position ...

briand92

06:06PM | 05/27/03
Member Since: 03/09/03
26 lifetime posts
I agree with you 100%. I always try and do my homework before starting any project. I thought that before I started researching the details of finishing an attic I would see if it was even feasible in my situation. My thoughts were that if the ceiling was too low I would just forget it and move on to a different project. With that said. Is 6' 8" too low? Thanks.

sebrun

02:53AM | 05/28/03
Member Since: 02/12/03
19 lifetime posts
We are in the midst of an attic conversion on a 1920 bungalow style house and we confronted some of these issues upfront. The 6'8", if I remember correctly is above code (at least in our area - MD) but you also have to consider the usable space under that 6'8" mark - there have to be so many (I think around 70) square feet of space to meet code requirements. In the end we had a shed dormer built - giving us a master bedroom and bath with about 250 s.f. total space. Because the original joists were true 2x6, we also had to sister in additional joists to support the new construction.

Other things to consider - because of the way the electrical wires were run through the attic space, we ended up replacing nearly all the electrical to accomodate the new construction. Also, if you don't have existing stairs, think very carefully (read: get an architect) about where the stairs will go and really how much space they'll take up. Luckily, our architect stopped us from making a huge mistake with stair placement.

Hope this is helpful.

Jay J

07:47AM | 05/28/03
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
sebrun kinda 'echos' my summation - Get an Architect.

RE: 6'8" - That may be the FINISHED height; not the rough height. Remember, you'll need to consider the thickness of the floor as well, along w/that of the ceiling, when determining the FINISHED height. Do realize that the marketability of your home could be deminished by what you're doing. Anyone that's 6' tall, or taller, may see your project as a non-value. With that, they won't buy into your 'position' that the attic has added value to your home. Sure, maybe for you it did, but not for the potential buyer.

Yes, I'm discouraging you. Plez re-read my original post and consider all that needs to be considered. My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: God Bless America!

sebrun

11:03AM | 05/28/03
Member Since: 02/12/03
19 lifetime posts
Just to add one more thing - our attic had a ridge height (unfinished) of about 10 feet. With the addition of the dormer, the ceiling in the addition at it's highest point is not roughly 9 feet and it's lowest point on the dormer about 8 feet. In addition, we built a kneewall at the 5 foot level on the side of the attic that did not get the dormer.

With a ridge height of 6'8" it would seem you'll have a finished height, at best, of around 6 feet, which is below code - at least in my area. Seems unlikely you'd get much usable space when the project is done, without serious changes to the roof.

ksdesigns

08:42AM | 06/25/03
Member Since: 01/13/03
26 lifetime posts
BOCA code 1999 "habitable spaces shall not have a ceiling height of less than 7ft".
sloping ceilings: "if any room in a bldg has a sloping clg, the prescribed clg. height for the room is req'd in one half the are thereof."

Always check with your building code official. and hire an architect! (i gotta eat somehow!)

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