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New hardwood floors and headroom are issues in attic remodeling

May 02, 2013

Homeowners are frequently looking for ways to expand their livable space. A major part of any room renovation is the selection of new hardwood flooring.

Homeowners are frequently looking for ways to expand their livable space. A major part of any room renovation is the selection of new hardwood flooring.Anderson Hardwood Floors  The choices offered by Anderson Hardwood Floors fit both traditional and contemporary decor such as the versatile Haversham collection.

According to the Home Improvement Research Institute, the remodeling market grew by nearly 5 percent last year and is expected to increase by 4 percent by the end of 2013. Whether homeowners are planning an extra bedroom, a home office or in-house theater, home renovation is definitely on the rise.

Frequently, homeowners look to an unfinished attic as a place to renovate. The institute reported that while the cost of attic remodeling has gone up by more than one-third in recent years, there is still a return on investment that homeowners can expect from having a newly remodeled space.

Meet building codes
An important consideration for homeowners who are hoping to re-work their attics into a new room design is that construction improvements must meet building codes.

For instance, a full-size staircase for entering and leaving the new space and a minimum 6-foot, 8-inch clearance overhead is required, according to ThisOldHouse.com. A second way out, which can be a window, is also needed for fire safety.

The rest of the living area must have at least 7 feet of headroom, although sections of the attic that have lower clearance can be used for storage. Another consideration is the floor support, since attics in newer homes aren't built to be living space. As a result, attic floors need to be reinforced with added joists and a new subfloor.

Energy savings
More homeowners are becoming well-versed in green building practices in home design and looking for ways to save on their utility bills. Contractors are also stepping up their use of sustainable building materials and energy-efficient fixtures.

Windows, ceiling or window fans and air conditioning are needed to address heat and moisture that naturally rise within a structure. Adding cellular shades to windows is another way to modulate temperatures because they offer good insulation from both cold drafts and strong sunlight.

Other spaces
SmartMoney.com reports that contractors aren't just getting customers who want to renovate their attics. They are also fielding more requests to finish basements, enclose porches and convert garages into livable space. 

Whether a recent college graduate is returning home or an elderly relative is moving in, the need to reconfigure living space is expected to be a trend among homeowners for some time.