When a home owner decides to do a remodeling project, he/she must know what to budget for in order to accomplish the goal.  Calculating an estimated cost for any remodel entails a number of factors that have to be considered, and remodeling an attic is no different.

The attic may provide additional living space for your home. Photo by Carrie Qualters

In order to have a clearer understanding of the many components involved, take a look at the following list of costs.

1.     Planning and Layout – These costs may include the design of the new room, deciding on the style of the décor, construction plans done by professionals, and getting hold of all needed permits and assessments.  You must also think about how to access the attic while the staircase is being constructed (if there is not already one in place) and how to make the room well-lit and well-ventilated for the workers. In a nutshell, here are the costs that could be incurred 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 – inspection costs to determine whether the present walls can bear the added weight of the construction.
  • Decorating Advice – decorator’s pay
  • Permits and Assessment fees
  • Revision to the present structure

2.     Materials – Make a list of materials that are you going to need during the whole construction period.  Needed construction materials may include pipes, drainage system, and plumbing parts if you are planning on adding a bathroom in the attic.  Also check out the cooling and heating systems to see if they will accommodate the additional space of your finished attic.  Building materials for making skylights could also be considered.  Don’t forget ventilation and insulation for the attic.  The main materials to be taken into account are:

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

3.    Labor/Workers – The last major group of costs consists of workers to be hired to do all the necessary labor during the construction period.  You may need to hire professionals or licensed workers, like an electrician or a plumber, if required by the 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 from him or her.  Nonetheless, you will also incur other labor costs on sub-contractors, materials delivery to your home, the cost on building an stairway to access the room, constructing the scaffolding of the added room, and also, strengthening your present walls in order for it to be able to support the new room.  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 –for the construction of a storage space, if decided
  • Carpentry – for the building of structural reinforcement of outer walls, if decided
  • Labor for the possible installation of a skylight
  • Labor for painting and polishing jobs
  • Labor for the trimming and finishing

If you consider all of these factors, you will be able to make a good estimate on how much you will be spending 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 estimate for overruns and unexpected expenses, and that will certainly give you a working financial plan that will more than cover the final cost of the project.

If you would like to use our free, online cost calculator to get an estimate of the cost of your attic remodel, click here.  We also offer an Attic Remodeling Workbook to help you with your planning.