Just about every house has an attic. It is the space that exists between the ceiling of the top floor and the roof. This is the space that is often referred to as the attic. There are varying heights, sizes, configurations, and square footage.
If the house has a flat roof, it typically covers the entire length and width of the house. These houses usually have low ceilings. Many houses today have peaked roofs. This allows the attic to be made into rooms. When thinking about your attic space, the construction and dimension dictate how you can utilize it. Continue reading to find out all the information you need to understand all the details about attics.
What is an Attic?
The space between the top floor and the bottom of the roof is typically filled with insulation. In addition, it may have heating and air conditioning equipment inside. There are many different ways an attic can be modified.
Types of Attics
1. Fully Finished
A fully finished attic is one that has livable space that is equivalent to about 50 percent of the main square footage of the home. The fully finished attic does not need to take up the entire attic with livable space.
If the house has a steep roof, there may not be a large amount of usable space in the attic. Homeowners that have a Tudor or Cape Cod home may determine there is not enough space to utilize the attic.
For an attic to be considered fully finished, it has walls, a ceiling, and trim. These attics add square footage to your home. For a fully finished attic, the average height is seven feet and an average width of seven feet.
This type of attic is insulated and sealed to help reduce your energy bills. It is essential that there is a proper amount of insulation used in the attic.
2. Fully Finished Wall Height Attic
The standard abbreviation of this type of attic is Full Fin Wall HGT. A fully finished wall height attic occurs when the square footage of the attic is more than 55% of the house’s square footage. In addition, this portion of the attic must be up to livable standard.
For an attic to be considered a fully finished wall height, it must be completely, or almost completely, finished. There could be a small portion of the attic that is unfinished. The unfinished portion is often under the eaves.
This type of attic has electricity and HVAC, in addition to plumbing, skylights, and dormer windows. These attics can create a dramatic space.
3. Garage Attic
A garage attic is an ideal way to add more storage room to their homes. You can finish an attic for an average amount of around $15,000. However, you will see a quick return on that investment.
A garage attic can also be used as a living space. You should only consider doing this if you are not storing vehicles in your garage. This space can also be used as a workspace if you need one.
As long as the garage attic is sealed well, it can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. In addition, it can help you regulate the temperature in the house.
4. Partially Finished Attic
The most significant difference between a fully finished attic and a partially finished attic is the amount of livable space it contains. A partially finished attic usually takes up less than 39% of the main house’s square footage. However, it is typically more than 20% of the main square footage.
Houses that have a steep slope and long roofs, such as an A-frame, provide a small amount of space in the attic for little headroom, which also means the living space is going to be small.
In many cases, when homeowners build a partially finished attic, they tend to use it for a playroom, study, or bedroom.
5. Scuttle Attic
A scuttle attic is a common type of attic. This version is one that does not have a permanent access staircase. Instead, this type of attic typically has a trap door. Behind this door is typically a ladder or pull-down staircase. You have to climb these to get up into the attic.
In many cases, these types of attics are used for storage; however, some homeowners leave this space empty. When it is empty, owners typically go into this space when they need repairs or maintenance.
A scuttle attic cannot be used as a livable space because there is not a door or permanent staircase. In addition, they have limited space and are not convenient to get to.
6. Texas Basement
A Texas basement is not at all a basement. It is actually an attic. This is a space that can be reached from inside a closet or hallway. There is some thought that the reason this is called a Texas basement is that there are no basements in Texas.
This is the place that homeowners use for storage in a Texas home. It is not unusual for them to be used as an extra bedroom or apartment. This area tends to get stuffy, just like any attic, but if sealed properly, it can help regulate the temperature of the house.
7. Truss Attic
A truss attic is the best looking type of all the attic options. However, they can be challenging to insulate and finish. These attics have exposed trusses, and they are not finished. While they are not typically finished, they can be. Unfortunately, insulating a truss attic does not always work well.
A truss attic tends to be more expensive to build because a truss attic has more than doubled the trusses of a traditional attic. You will commonly find a truss attic above a garage. However, there is not the only place you will find them. A truss attic is perfect for livable space but also a great place to store items.
8. Unfinished Attic
An unfinished attic typically has a permanent staircase by which you can access it. It does not have a trap door and ladder like other types of attics. An unfinished attic is not a livable space. The walls, ceiling, and floor are not ideal for a space where someone wants to live and work.
The rafters in the ceiling and wall studs are still exposed. The joists in the floor are covered in plywood which makes an unfinished attic perfect for storing items. This space could also be upgraded to a living space.
It typically costs about $40,000 to finish an attic making it understandable why people do not finish them. Unfinished attics are not great at helping to make the house energy efficient. They are a great place for dust and particles to hang around.
9. Unvented Attic
It is common for a homeowner to have an unvented attic. However, many choose to condition them on their own. When they are conditioned, they are better for storage purposes and more energy efficient. It is possible to turn an unvented attic into a livable space and store an HVAC system.
The use of spray foam is required to insulate an unvented attic. If built properly, an unvented attic can be more efficient than a vented one. This type of attic can be used with many different roof types.
When you convert a vented attic to an unvented one, it becomes part of the thermal envelope for the house. The walls and roof of the attic must be sealed and insulated. HVAC ducts must be installed to maintain the temperature in the attic, so it is similar to the temperature in the rest of the house.
10. Vented Attic
A vented attic is one that has vents contained within it. Attics with vents limit the transfer of heat and help to improve the energy efficiency within the house. There are many ways to create airflow and regulate the temperature in the attic. A ridge vent, gable vent, or soffit vent can all help control the temperature in the summer. However, they do have a tendency to let air escape.
When an attic is well ventilated, it helps to regulate the temperature in extreme conditions. If you want to leave your attic unfinished, then you should consider venting it. This may help reduce energy bills in the summer.
Vented attics may increase the likelihood of your roof leaking. For them to be efficient, they must be sealed. This helps reduce moisture and mold.
How Can I Make My Attic More Accessible?
The best way to make your attic more accessible is to enhance the entrance to the attic. You could consider a higher quality ladder. You can also make the stairway wider. It would be best if you also considered adding support rails to the wall.
If you want to make your attic a livable space, consider adding touches to lighten it up. Typically, an attic is a dark space. However, you can add a wide variety of lighting, paint the walls brighter colors, and add a mirror.
Can I Count an Unfinished Attic As Part of My Square Footage?
An unfinished attic is not able to be counted as part of the square footage of your home. It is not considered livable space. For it to be counted as additional square footage, it must be finished with a ceiling, walls, flooring, insulation, and trim.
How Can I Make My Attic More Efficient?
The best way to make your attic useful is to make it efficient. You can save a large amount of money when it is sealed well and does not leak air.
Some of the best ways to increase the efficiency of your attic are:
You can use a radiant barrier that regulates the temperature of your attic as well as the rest of your house. This can be hung from the ceiling, which protects your attic from extreme heat. It can also be installed on the floor. When it is on the floor, it helps to distribute heat evenly throughout all the rooms of your home.
If you vent your attic, this helps to prevent damage from ice and costly repairs. When an attic is not vented, it can be damaged and let air leak. This could cause ice to form in the gutters. When you have vents in your attic, it helps to reduce the strain put on your HVAC system.
You could install an attic fan which can help to regulate the temperature in the attic. It is critical that you have proper insulation, or the fan will not do much. You want to look for cracks or gaps in your attic and seal them. These cracks allow hot or cold air to get in and out. This means you will pay more in energy bills.
Is It Really Beneficial to Have an Attic Fan?
It is completely beneficial to add a fan to your attic. They work to improve the airflow of your house. Attic fans circulate air evenly through the attic and the rest of your house. An attic fan can help to make the air in your attic comfortable. It can also improve the comfort level throughout the entire house. They can also help to improve the energy efficiency of your home in both the winter and summer, even in extreme weather. Adding an attic fan is a great and affordable way to help improve the air throughout the house.