App version: 0.1.0

Attic Conversion: How Much Will It Cost?

Attic Conversion: How Much Will It Cost?
Kristin Luna
Kristin LunaUpdated November 11, 2022
Share this article:
Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
If you have an unfinished attic, you might want to turn it into a bedroom, office, or bonus room. Understanding attic conversion costs can help you decide if this project is within your budget. So how much does an attic conversion cost? The price varies depending on the size of the space, whether you hire a contractor, where you live, and the types of materials you use.Read on to learn more about the factors that impact attic conversion costs.

What Is an Attic Conversion? 

Converting an attic means turning it into a functional living space. You’ll need to put in walls, flooring, and a ceiling, among other things. Converting an attic can be a good way to add an extra room to your home. 

Average Attic Conversion Cost 

The national average cost of an attic conversion — to turn it into a bedroom, say — is $40,000, but it can be more than $70,000.An attic conversion can be expensive because it often requires extensive renovation. The walls aren’t insulated, and access to the space is typically through a small hole in the ceiling of a hallway or bedroom. Unfinished attics generally don’t have floors — instead there are joists with wiring and ductwork between them. 

Attic Types 

There are different types of attic spaces, which also affects the attic conversion cost. These are some of the common types:

Walk-Up Attic 

Walk-up attics have a stairwell or a pull-down stepladder that you climb to get to them. Sometimes walk-up attics are behind a standard-size door in the upstairs of your home. This type of attic is easier to access.

Attic Above a Garage 

An attic above a garage area is typically a big space used for storage. The rafters in these attics usually have less ductwork and wiring, so it may be easier to convert them into a new room. If you’re thinking about finishing your garage, you might be able to combine the two projects.

Attic as a Bedroom 

If you want to convert your attic to a bedroom, you’ll need to add walls, a floor, and a ceiling, as well as heating and air conditioning, insulation, and electrical. You may also need to add windows or a skylight. 

Attic as a Storage Space 

Some homeowners use their unfinished attic space for household storage. Creating a basic storage space with flooring and some shelving can be a relatively easy and affordable conversion.  

Cost to Finish an Attic Per Square Foot 

The cost of an attic conversion is about $200 per square foot, if you’re turning the attic into a room. A simpler conversion, like adding drywall and insulation, typically costs $30 to $60 per square foot.

Cost to Finish an Attic Per Task 

For any project, it’s smart to make a home renovation budget before you begin. Here’s what you can expect to factor into your attic conversion costs per task:
  • Subflooring: $500 – $800
  • Lighting: $30 – $2,000
  • Doors: $300 – $2,500
  • Walls: $500 – $2,500
  • Soundproofing: $1,000 – $2,500
  • Drywall: $1,000 – $2,600
  • Closet: $200 – $5,000
  • Insulation: $1,750 – $2,100
  • Floors: $200 – $6,400
  • Windows: $200 – $10,000
  • Floor Joists: $1,000 – $10,000
  • Plumbing: $1,000 – $10,000
  • Stairway: $1,000 – $10,000
  • HVAC: $600 – $20,000
  • Ceiling: $120 – $25,000
Depending on how extensive your remodel is, you may need help from an architect or interior designer, which could cost between $125 to $250 per hour each.

Factors That Impact Attic Conversion Cost 

There are a number of factors can impact the cost of your attic conversion, including these:

Functionality 

The amount of usable space you have in your attic depends on the pitch of the roof and the size and shape of the room. If the attic is oddly shaped or difficult to access, it will typically cost more to convert it to living space. 

Windows 

If there are no windows in the attic, you’ll need to install them, which can be expensive. Fortunately, there is window financing available to help you pay for it. You could also consider adding a skylight, which costs about $1,000 to $2,400.  

Ceilings 

Finishing an attic ceiling can range dramatically in price. If the existing ceiling is sound and you simply need to paint it, that can cost as little as $120. Finishing a slanted ceiling ranges from $8,000 to $12,000.

Plumbing 

If you install a bathroom in your attic space, you may have to add new plumbing lines  and fixtures. Plumbing can range from $1,000 to $10,000. 

Heating & Air 

To heat and cool your new attic space you’ll need to add HVAC. The price can range from $600 for electric wall heaters up to $4,000 for radiators.  

Electricity 

Your attic will need electricity for lighting and appliances. The price of installing it ranges from $1,000 to $3,400, which includes wiring and adding outlets.  

Size 

The bigger your attic, the more money you’ll typically pay to convert it.

Lighting 

Installing light fixtures costs between $30 for a lamp, and $2,000 for premium recessed lighting.  

Flooring 

It costs around $500 to $600 to lay subflooring, which you’ll need to cover attic joists. Then you’ll pay about $200 to $6,400 to install high-end hardwood flooring. 

Roofing 

If you install new skylights, you’ll need to ensure the roof is in good enough shape to keep moisture out of your home. And if you add windows to your attic conversion, you’ll need to invest in new flashing and roofing materials around these areas. If you are considering replacing the roof, there are a number of ways to finance a new roof

Do Attic Conversions Increase a Home’s Value? 

Adding a functional room and more living space to your home may increase its value. Completing an attic conversion will give your house more total square footage, so it can be a smart move. For instance, turning your attic into a bedroom could give you a 53% return on your investment, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.

Financing an Attic Conversion 

As you explore financing for your attic conversion, you’ll want to carefully weigh each option to see which is right for you. Here are some financing methods to consider:

HELOC 

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) allows you to borrow against your home equity up to an approved limit. The interest rate for a HELOC is variable. You borrow the funds as needed during the draw period, which typically lasts up to 10 years. When the draw period ends, the repayment period begins, which can be as long as 30 years. It’s important to keep in mind that with a HELOC, if you can’t repay what you owe, the lender could seize your house.

Cash-out Refinance 

With a cash-out refinance, you refinance your mortgage while borrowing money at the same time, based on the equity you have in your home. The process involves getting a new mortgage for a larger amount than the existing mortgage. You receive the difference in cash for your attic conversion. Lenders often limit cash-out refinances to 80 percent of the equity you have in your home. 

Personal Loan 

There are many benefits of a personal loan, including using them to finance home improvement projects. With a personal loan, a bank, online lender, or credit union lends you a lump sum that you repay with interest in installments over time. You can explore the different types of personal loans for your attic renovation, and then research the loan terms and rates to find one that fits your needs. For instance, with a no-collateral personal loan, you don’t need to secure the loan with an asset such as your home or car. However, the interest rates for this type of loan tend to be higher than they are for a secured loan. Long-term personal loans give you more time to pay back your loan with lower monthly payments, but you may pay more interest over the lifetime of the loan.

Exploring Personal Loan Rates 

As you’re considering a personal loan to finance your attic conversion, you’ll want to shop around for the best option. With Lantern by SoFi, comparing personal loan interest rates is quick, easy, and convenient. In our online marketplace, you can explore loan terms from multiple lenders at once, to help choose the one that’s the best fit for your renovation needs.Compare rates with Lantern and see if you prequalify.
Photo credit: iStock/CreativaStudio
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.LCPL0522019

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does an attic conversion cost?
Does an attic conversion increase the home value?
What factors contribute to the cost of an attic conversion?

About the Author

Kristin Luna

Kristin Luna

Kristin Luna is a Tennessee-based journalist with 20 years of writing and editing experience. She has contributed to such publications as Southern Living, This Old House, Real Simple, Parade, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and various other titles. With her spouse and fellow journalist, she runs a public art nonprofit and also purchases and rehabs older model homes.
Share this article: