The attic often gets a bad rap as an ominous and uninviting room, filled with dust, cobwebs, and other hazards that make it uninhabitable. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth—or at least, it doesn’t have to be.
Your attic in Philadelphia has the potential to be a great many things: a spare bedroom, a home office, a children’s play space, or a multi-media room. But first, you have to invest in finishing the space and adding the elements that make it suitable for its new purpose via an attic remodel.
As you begin budgeting for your attic project in Philly, you should take stock of a couple of things: the current condition of the space and what you envision it to look like when you’re done.
If you’re not currently using your attic for any purpose and it’s uninhabitable, you have to finish the space before you can start adding furniture and other components. The basic tasks involved in finishing an attic generally include installing drywall, insulation, subflooring, floor joists, and ventilation. In short, you have to make the room conducive and safe for long-term living. In the Philadelphia area, the average cost of finishing an attic is between $125 and $300 per square foot, and between $50,000 and $150,000 - depending on conditions and size.
You also can break down your estimated attic finishing costs by individual tasks, as you may have already done some work on your attic but it’s not quite completed. Here is a look at potential elements to consider if you are budgeting the work yourself and their average cost:
Another important part of turning your attic into a comfortable, functional space is to ensure there is adequate, safe access. In many cases, that means creating a walk-up attic with stairs as opposed to a drop-down ladder or another mechanism for access. The average cost to install a staircase in your Philadelphia home typically ranges from $8,000 to $15,000, depending on the style and materials as well as the impact on the surrounding rooms. Spiral staircases can help you save space, which is helpful if you live in a more compact Philadelphia rowhome, but they can also present greater difficulty of use for children or older adults. A simple spiral stair can be less expensive and typically ranges from $4,000 to $12,000, depending on the adjacent modifications to rooms.
On the other hand, your attic in Philadelphia may already be finished, and you merely want to turn it into a different type of space with a custom attic redesign. The average cost for an attic conversion varies significantly depending on the scope of work for your remodel. For example, making your attic suitable for storage is significantly less costly than building an in-home suite with a bathroom.
The cost to create an attic bedroom typically ranges from $20,000 to $40,000. That includes activities such as framing and drywall work, installing an attractive and comfortable attic flooring option, such as wood or carpet; adding sufficient lighting; potentially incorporating built-in furniture, and a closet or other storage and organization solutions.
If someone will be inhabiting the space on a regular basis, make sure you meet Philadelphia’s egress requirements. Your finished attic should include an unobstructed window that is, at minimum, 5.7 square feet and can be opened from the inside. An attic egress window must also be a minimum of 20 inches wide and 24 inches tall, with the sill no more than 44 inches above the floor.
Often, homeowners will install a dormer as a component of an attic conversion in order to increase the headroom in a sloping roofline. This increases the usable living space of the room and allows for windows to bring in valuable natural light as well as a pleasant view. The cost for a dormer average between $10,000 and $30,000, depending on the size and type of dormer you want to be installed and the type of roof you have.
If you envision your attic in Philly as a guest room or an owner’s suite, adding a bathroom may be a top priority. The average cost to build a quality bathroom in a finished attic is about $50,000 to $70,000, depending on your selections and proximity to existing drain lines. For a small bathroom with simple tile flooring, a compact sink and/or vanity, and a toilet—you can work toward the lower end of that cost range. Alternatively, you can go all out and create a more upscale bath with a custom shower and/or tub area, designer lighting, and built-in cabinetry.
You have a fair amount of control to tailor the costs for each aspect of your attic conversion or remodel based on the types of materials, features, and finishes you select. However, part of the reason bathroom remodeling has a higher price tag is because you need assistance from specialty tradespeople, such as plumbers and HVAC technicians.
Finishing an attic will usually increase the value of your home in Philadelphia, but it depends on numerous factors, including what type of space you create. If you make it a better storage area but it can’t be used as a living space, you likely will not see a significant increase in value.
Remodeling your attic into a bedroom or adding a bathroom is a bigger upfront investment, but they also tend to yield a higher ROI and you can often recoup as much as 100% of your overall project price in a higher resale value. This is because you are increasing the livable (ratable) square footage of your home.
However, value can also be calculated in terms of the benefits you glean for your household by investing in a home improvement project. New storage space may be essential for you to be able to declutter and optimize other living areas in your house to make them more comfortable and functional. Adding a bedroom may provide much-needed space and privacy for your growing children or enable you to host guests more frequently. Creating a suitable home office may be necessary for you to achieve your professional aspirations.
No matter how you intend to use your attic, if it aligns with your specific needs and goals, then it will contribute to enhancing your quality of life and be valuable for many years.
In order to make the most of your investment—no matter how great or small—you should hire a professional remodeling team to oversee your attic conversion in Philadelphia. At Bellweather Design-Build, we will start your project by helping you refine your project priorities and develop a plan that fits your budget. From there, our experienced personnel can turn your vision into a reality with efficient construction services that leave you with a beautiful new living space for your family.
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