As you plan your attic remodel, you will want to get a good estimate of the costs involved.  Basically, these costs fall into three categories:  planning and layout, materials, and labor.  Within each of these categories are several kinds of costs.

You may find needed space in your attic. Photo by Carrie Qualters

1. Planning and Layout – The planning phase of your remodel will require expenditures associated with the design and with permits.  In a nutshell, here are the costs during this period of the project:

  • Building Plans – professional fees for an architect or a draftsman
  • Design Preparation for the attic – fees for either an architect or an interior designer
  • Engineering inspection – costs for an evaluation of the present walls’ sturdiness in terms of bearing the added weight of construction.
  • Decorating Advice – decorator’s pay
  • Permits and Assessment fees

2. Materials – A second source of costs involves the materials required for your remodel.  To determine what these costs will be, make a list of materials you are going to need during the whole construction period.  Don’t forget to plan for extras in the attic space, such as a bathroom, skylights, and built-in storage. The main materials are:

  • Wiring
  • Paneling or Drywall
  • Plumbing
  • Windows
  • Lumber to be used in subflooring and scaffolding
  • Ceiling materials
  • Vents
  • Flooring materials
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Additional cooling and heating equipment, if needed
  • Hardware
  • Insulation

3. Labor/Workers – The last major group of costs involves the labor during the construction period. You may need to hire professionals or licensed workers, like an electrician or a plumber, to satisfy building permits. If you plan on employing the services of a general constructor, you may get a single cost estimate for all these components of labor. Nonetheless, you will also incur other labor costs on sub-contractors and materials delivered to your home, etc.


The following are the labor costs that are usually included:

  • Carpentry – construction of the sub-floor, framework, ceiling, and access stairway
  • Plumbing draftsmen and finishers
  • Electrical draftsmen and finishers
  • Building of floor, walls, and ceiling
  • Installation fees for ventilation and insulation
  • Carpentry –construction of a storage space, if required.
  • Carpentry – for the structural reinforcement of outer walls, if required
  • Labor for painting and polishing jobs
  • Labor for the trimming and finishing

When you have all of these costs in hand, you will be able to make a good estimate on how much you will be spending both before and during the construction process. A trustworthy estimate from a general contractor, good quotes on material prices, and a guarantee that you will stick to your plan during the construction period will provide you with a dependable cost estimate. Common practice is to add at least 20% to your total best estimate, and that will give you a working financial plan that should adequately cover the costs of your attic remodel.

You can use our free cost calculator to get a good beginning estimate of the cost of an attic remodel.  Click here to get started.  We also offer an Attic Remodeling Workbook.