Finishing an Attic: Everything You Need to Know

Tingen ConstructionCustom Home Building

Everyone likes living space. The more the better, right? So it’s natural to see your home’s attic – that big, hot, sweltering expanse of open air – as a waste. Maybe you keep some Christmas decorations up there, but otherwise it’s useless, right?

While that isn’t necessarily true, a finished attic can add a lot of charm, practicality, and value to your home when done right! But before you dive in, there are a few things you need to know.

Why to NOT Finish An Attic

Before finishing an attic, it’s important to consider why you should leave it alone.

Attics may seem to be wasted space, but they can serve a valuable purpose. For one, there is the extra storage space. Even if yours is pumped full of cellulose insulation, you can easily add some plywood to serve as crude flooring for additional storage space.

Attics also help with temperature regulation. All that empty space can be filled with insulation, which keeps the rooms below cool or warm. They’re also valuable for routing electrical, internet, or even plumbing space, which will be made much more challenging if they are finished.


If you’re still certain that you want that extra space reclaimed, there are some important things to consider.

  • Unless you can do-it-yourself – a task beyond most homeowners – refinishing an attic is not cheap. Like $80,000 not cheap.
  • Adding the necessary equipment to a finished attic – walls, flooring, insulation, wiring, and the like – can reduce the amount of actual usable space. Have an experienced contractor take careful measurements before you begin.
  • Most home HVAC systems are not designed with an attic in mind. If you add one to your system, it’s likely you’ll have to perform significant upgrades for good performance. Given that attics are notorious for getting hot, this will be mandatory in most cases.
  • That trapdoor is fine for occasionally moving some boxes up and down, but you’ll need a more permanent set of stairs for regular use. Those are also required for building code.

Looking for a custom home with a finished attic? Build the cozy attic nook of your dreams with Tingen Construction! We have decades of experience crafting luxurious custom homes in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Contact us today to get started, or check out our current listings and floor plans.