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Attic planning: the Complete Guide

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To save more space and enjoy a beautiful living space, it is sometimes possible to arrange the attic of your house, that is to say the interior space between the roof and the upper ceiling. If the project is tempting, it is better to know a few major points before starting.

Prepare your project: the right conditions to fit out your attic

Not all attics can be converted, and when they are, some sites will require more work than others: it all depends on the specificity of your framework.
In general, the most suitable framework for an attic arrangement remains the traditional framework, with a roof slope of at least 30 °. It leaves sufficient space at the heart of a structure of purlins and rafters.
Structured by small farmhouses, industrial frames leave almost no space for conversion. To fit out the attic, it is still possible to do away with small trusses, which modifies the distribution of loads: it will therefore be necessary to provide reinforcing elements for the general structure, therefore greater work than for a traditional frame.
In addition, the floor is not always existing. If it is, it must be strong enough to support the weight of the arrangements you are going to make.
To be comfortable, your attic must also be well heated, well insulated, and connected to the water and electricity networks.
Finally, it may be necessary to plan to build a specific access.

TIP: Prior declaration and building permit

In the event that your project includes new openings in the roof, or if you create a non-existing convertible area with modification of the structure of less than 20 m2, you will have to submit a prior declaration to the town hall. If the surface created is greater than 20 m², you will need to obtain a building permit.

The stages of the project

In the preparation phase of the project, it is necessary to provide for the administrative procedures and the verification of the roof. This may need a renovation.
The first step is then the modification of the frame. In the case of a traditional frame, certain elements which cross the spaces will have to be removed and replaced by less bulky elements. The floor will then be reinforced or built: horizontal beams are installed.
In the case of an industrial frame, the floor must be reinforced before touching the frame, which will be modified, with many reinforcing elements.
Once the structure is secured, the second step is to properly isolate the space. From the inside, you will have the choice between different materials such as mineral wool, vegetable wool or even sheep's wool, or synthetic materials such as polyurethane. They are installed in the form of panels to be fixed between the rafters, or in rolls. The installation of a vapor barrier limits condensation on the walls of the attic and deterioration linked to humidity.
Then, the interior design can begin, with the installation of partitions. Plasterboard, honeycomb, concrete tiles ... the materials chosen must have a limited weight and a good performance in sound insulation. You can also create the new openings and create the windows.
The fourth stage is that of the connections to the water, electricity and heating networks. Make sure your boiler has enough power to heat the extra space.
Finally, it's time to install the furniture and living space elements. Organize your rooms according to the space available: height under roof, passages and circulation… Also think about storage. For the rest, give way to your creativity!

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