Maybe stupid to ask...Any clue about how much to finish attic?

reno_fanAugust 15, 2005

I know building costs/materials/labor can vary WILDLY from place to place, but I was wondering if anyone had a rough ballpark estimate on how much it would be to finish an attic.

Currently, there's tons of space up there, and we're considering finishing the attic for the kids to have a play room. (Oh how I miss having basements....)

We're completely handy, and could finish drywall, flooring, etc, if it were just framed in.

Thought I'd throw it out there.


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Is this to prevent you from reglazing your cabinets, lol??

I don't want to scare you by quoting this, but we have an awesome large unfinished attic. We got an estimate to put two rooms and a bathroom up there - $90,000. GULP! This was pretty much with a lot of bells and wistles - gables, a/c, full bath, etc., and more than we wanted. I'm also in the Boston area, with primo reno prices, and no DIY. But we put that off - just started kitchen addition instead! Actually a big unexpected money sink was that the existing stairs are way out of code. They are fine to stay as is, but if we convert to new living space we'd have to update them, which would affect our top story layout too.

I doubt you could get a sense on this board, you'd have to really do some drawings and get contractor quotes for your area, esp. if you will do big stuff like drywall yourself(ugh!!).

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 8:24PM
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lpolk....HHAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAA!!! See, I actually DID reglaze the cabinets, so now I can move on to something else!

Will call this week to get some estimates. If they say 90k, I'm moving!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 10:15AM
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Why not frame it in, too? Non-load bearing walls are not a big deal if you work and cut carefully.

I mean, you have all that extra time now that you finished the previous job. :)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 12:29PM
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I know, I know. We actually COULD do the work ourselves....we just don't WANT to!! We would get professional help to do electrical, and any roof support stuff....but we really could do the rest. I'm just none too happy about the idea of having yet ANOTHER huge, messy, neverending project on our hands. As DIY'ers, the pace is SLOW. And the kids grow FAST. We want them to have time to enjoy the space!

But then I go up there and look at it and think, "Heck, this wouldn't be bad. Just needs a little bit...." and before you know it, I'm off to Lowe's for supplies!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 2:55PM
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here is my rule of thumb....take a wild guess, double it, add $7000...should get you pretty close.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 5:15PM
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Aw, now Dave!!! You're bummin' me out! (Not that the prospect of 90k had me doing cartwheels....)

I don't know though. If it ends up being THAT much, we'll just have to do it ourselves.

I'm pretty confident we could come in for a fraction of what it would cost to hire it out. Not ideal, but maybe necessary.

We shall see!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 6:04PM
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Geez marie! $90,000 to do an attic! Now I have once again confirmation about why I love to cross the border and compete with Boston contractors and remodelers! Hoo-weee! What are you putting up there? Gilded ceilings? Sauna and master bath? Full automation?

Alright alright, I'm being snide.

In all truth, its hard to say, because so many issues come into play, such as structural, in attics you have height limitations, maybe dormers might be needed, roof expansion, stairs, blah blah. But still...

Call some contractors and ask them to come out and give you an estimate. You don't have to hire anyone. Look for referrals and remember the big contractors have a lot of overhead and sometimes are not always the best either. Us little guys will sweat for you all day too you know!

But be careful there are greedy people and shisters around. I'll spare you my lecture on licensing and all that. But:

1) Ask for and check references. Go and look at their work.
2) Ask to view their current job and visit it and talk to the owners.
3) Ask for licensing if required.
4) Ask for membership in national organizations like NARI or NAHB-Remodeler's Council.
5) Ask to see a sample of their contract and warranty. If they don't have a written contract or warranty, steer clear.
6) Dont accept obnoxious, pushy or cheezy. Push high pressure salesman away.

There, I couldnt help it.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 9:52PM
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We have a fairly large unfinished attic, I would guess about 1200-1500sf of useable space. The house was new two years ago, and the builder offered to finish the attic then for $15K. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 3:39PM
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Annette Holbrook

We were told by the builder of our house to estimate about $60 per sf. Now this is finishing out the attic as it is. Ours has existing windows and high enough ceilings that we won't have to bump out shed dormers or anything. This was to just add a playroom into a large walk-up attic. If you had to beef up the structure to make the floors able to withstand people, furniture, knee walls, etc then that's another matter.
Good luck,

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 4:57PM
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Diy's need the correct permits just as much as contractors. There are very real liabilities and issues with structural, correct vented rafter bays or cavaties, insulation, and electrical, in general. Professionally done workmanship adds real value, does not give clues to an experienced home inspector, that the work was done amiss.

A good inspector knows how to tell.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2005 at 11:46PM
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If you live in a warm climate (or have hot summers, like Portland OR), be sure that you include a plan to cool the attic. This gets missed constantly in attic remodels...typically there are ducts run there that blow cold air but sometimes the run is too long and there is hardly any air movement and/or there is no warm air return ducting. If you can include operable skylights that can help in the evenings but seriously, there is a lot more to finishing an attic than putting up sheetrock.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 1:22AM
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In 2004 we had two estimates to finish off our full height permanent stair attic space. 1000 sq feet, windows, electrical, it just basically needed a ceiling, drywall, vents run from the a/c (which was already sized and zoned to run that additional space), and a floor. 20-40k.

Needless to say, we didn't do it. Just sold the house and bought one with the space we needed.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 2:16PM
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