March 03, 2014
With an upswing in home remodeling nationwide and consumers' interest in green building practices, homeowners are increasingly looking to unused portions of their homes to expand their space. By adding top-quality materials like Vintage Hickory Solid flooring by Anderson, people can have additional space that's stylish as well as functional.
According to the Home Improvement Research Institute, the remodeling market has been growing and is expected to increase by nearly 7 percent during 2014 and 2015. In addition to avoiding the expense of buying a larger home, the return on investment that many homeowners experience after they've added livable space within their existing home footprint is believed to fuel the remodeling trend.
Just as contractors are stepping up their use of sustainable building materials and energy-efficient fixtures, homeowners are also becoming well-versed in green building practices and ways to save on their utility bills.
In order to address heat that naturally rises into attics, ceiling or window fans can be used to circulate warm air in winter and cool it during summer. Another energy saver on attic windows is the use of cellular shades, which modulate temperatures because they offer good insulation from both cold drafts and strong sunlight.
Reclaiming the attic
Frequently, homeowners look to an unfinished attic as a place to renovate. It can be a home office, a playroom or a master bedroom with plenty of room for a sitting area. But an important consideration for re-working an attic into a new room design is meeting building codes that are geared to renovating an overhead area into usable space.
For instance, a full-size staircase for entering and leaving the remodeled area and a minimum 6-foot, 8-inch clearance overhead is required, according to ThisOldHouse.com. A second exit, 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 for living space. Before adding hardwood floors, the existing surface needs to be reinforced with added joists and a new subfloor.
In addition to attic renovations, contractors are fielding many requests from consumers 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 quarters has become a major trend in home building.