The Value of Attic Storage and Access
Brought to you by Jesse
When deciding whether or not to incorporate an attic space, consider the advantages:
- Relatively low cost
- Added value for the homeowner
- Easier and safer access
- Energy saving & code compliant products more readily available
- More living space is created
For homeowners seeking to offer high-value feature at a relatively low cost, the answer is just overhead.
With today’s new homes being constructed somewhat smaller than even just a couple of years ago, the value of increased storage space is becoming more important. This is evident by the ever-increasing and somewhat expensive, offsite mini storage facilities popping up on almost every corner. (A typical 5 x 5 space rents for anywhere from $35 to $80 per month depending on the city). This additional attic space in every home can be as little as just a few square feet or as large as the entire attic area. Other than storage, the space can also be utilized to house the mechanical equipment of the home such as air handler units, water heaters, etc. This frees up valuable living space down below.
Whether the space is used for storage or not, the IRC still requires an access to that space. The access can be through a scuttle hole or an attic stairway. The reason is to provide access for building inspectors, fire fighters, electricians and any of the trades that might need to gain access during the life of the home. Granted, not all areas of the country nor all styles of homes lend themselves to utilize this space, but for those that do, it is a marketable, value-added feature… storage space.
While many builders in various parts of the country take advantage of this opportunity, many do not, here at Riverview Contracting we emphasize what additions and new construction add to your home. Whether omitting this useable space is just a regional habit, a structural fear or energy compliancy concerns, these issues have been resolved over the past several years. The simplest and most cost-effective way to incorporate this space and its access is at the time of construction. The cost is minimal, usually less than $400, which includes the cost of truss design, the materials and can include the cost of the attic stairway depending on its placement within the home. This load bearing attic cavity can be created whether the roof is of truss construction or site built and whether or not the attic is considered conditioned or unconditioned space.
For those with energy code compliancy concerns, many new attic stairway products have been developed. There are stairway units on the market with R-5 to R-50 insulated doors that are weather-stripped and air tight. The use of an attic stairway makes access to the attic much easier and safer than going through a scuttle hole using a step ladder. There are also aftermarket products that can be utilized as well to eliminate energy loss. The products developed and available today are not the same products as 5 years ago.
As always contact us to review this particular topic or anything related to new home construction, additions or remodeling.