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Tips for attic conversions

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Here are some things to keep in mind before beginning your project:

• Analyze how you want to use the space. “Bigger isn’t always better,” said homeowner Linda Berglin.

• Interview three contractors and get references, advised homeowners Nancy and Dan Griffin, who had a bad experience with the first contractor they hired. “Work with someone you feel comfortable with and who respects your budget,” said Nancy.

• Visit home tours to scrutinize other attic conversions. “Another project gave us the idea to open up the wall at the top of the stairs,” said Nancy.

• Explore heating and cooling options. “Attics tend to be too hot or too cold, and it has to be comfortable up there,” said Dan Hayes of Plekkenpol Builders.

• Attic bathrooms typically have large walk-in showers and more storage cabinets instead of a space-sucking tub.

• When remodeling existing spaces, you may have to modify the roof structure to meet building codes.

• Add skylights and windows to bring natural light into dark rooms.

• Make sure the attic suite is well-insulated. Most contractors recommend installing energy-efficient spray-foam insulation.

• Consider remodeling in phases to spread out costs. “It took us six years to finish it, but we had an overall vision,” said Nancy.

— Star Tribune (Minneapolis)


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