There is never too much space in the house, no matter how much space you have at your disposal. When you start renovating an old house, the attic can become such a saving space. It can be not just a storage for unnecessary things, but a full-size room: a bedroom, a child’s room or even a bathroom. However, to make a truly functional space, you need to carefully think through everything in advance. In addition, the formalities and state requirements have not been cancelled. In this article, we describe how to do this, whether it is possible to create an attic in your house and where to run to execute everything properly. 

When is the attic arrangement possible?

So, you have planned to create a new additional space in the house, what’s next? Firstly, we hope that this idea came to you before the start of construction work or at the stage of project development. Secondly, to refurbish such an attic into a full-sized room, certain requirements must be met:

– sufficient height of the knee wall;

– good strength of the ceiling;

– the required angle of the roof slope;

– compliance of the truss with a certain design.

Of course, this is only a minimum set of criteria that will have to be taken into account when developing a project. There is even a set of standard errors during the attic renovation. And here are the TOP of them:

  1. Poor or carelessly made sound and heat insulation. With such a mistake, it will be very difficult to live in a room: any rain or a decrease in temperature can affect the comfort inside the room too much.
  2. Incorrect calculation of the height of the rooms. This error occurs when the floor height has not been taken into account (approximately 20 cm).
  3. Poor ventilation or no ventilation at all.
  4. Incorrect installation of windows, which may cause too poor or too bright uncomfortable lighting. We will tell you more about how to choose the right windows when doing attic renovation

Checking the technical condition of the house before arranging the attic

Before starting work, it is necessary to check the technical condition of the building. This can be done on your own, however, sometimes important details can be overlooked with the naked eye and you need to be very careful since the quality and durability of the renovation will depend on this. Given that the attic refurbishment is usually quite expensive, it’s sometimes better to allocate a budget for professional help than to invest in something very inconvenient and short-lived. The most important elements of checking are:

– roof truss: angle of inclination, general condition, assessment of the quality of the beams;

– the condition of the roof and ceiling;

– the roof should be checked for tightness and strength. The design must be strong enough to withstand the load of the insulating layer, and there must be no leaks in the coating, due to which mould and fungus can form inside. In addition, for this reason, the plaster may be damaged and the entire finish will have to be redone again.

What is the height of the attic?

To comply with the technical conditions specified in the regulations and ensure the comfort of using the premises, the height of the attic must be at least 2.2 m. If your house does not meet this requirement, then you will have to carry out some operations with the available parameters. A too low attic can be raised by changing the height of the knee wall and raising the roof. However, such manipulations are usually very expensive and, unfortunately, not always possible. 

How to prepare the roof for the refurbishment of the attic?

The specific steps that will have to be followed when renovating an attic in an old house will be as follows:

  1. To free up space completely.
  2. To strengthen the roof structure or reconstruct it, if necessary.
  3. To relocate the units above the surface of the ceiling and ventilation ducts.
  4. To level and reinforce the floor (if necessary).
  5. Installing new skylights or replacing old ones.
  6. Insulation of walls and slopes (for example, with mineral wool or polyurethane foam), laying a vapour barrier film.
  7. Filling the screed and laying the floor.
  8. Constructing new partitions or transferring existing ones. Most often, such work is performed using drywall.

Do I need to reinforce the ceiling when refurbishing the attic?

Ceiling reinforcement is a way to strengthen the finishing layer. Thanks to this procedure, it will be possible to prevent the formation of microcracks on the surface (the fine grid on the paint) and prevent the plaster from peeling off. There are two options for reinforcement: mesh and cobweb. The mesh is fixed on the base of the ceiling or between layers of plaster. Fibreglass is layered on the surface between layers of putty or top of the putty layer. 

Both technologies differ from each other in performance, requirements, and cost. An experienced craftsman will determine the option that is suitable for your attic renovation. In the case of using reinforcement when refurbishing the attic, everything will depend on the initial state, the age of the house and many other factors, of course. You may not need this type of renovation work at all, but if the master you trust insists on carrying out such interventions, then we advise you to listen to them.

Which stairs to the attic to choose?

Depending on what type of installation, design, type of staircase, material, etc. you give preference (or what you will be allowed to do by the technical characteristics of the house), several classifications can be distinguished. 

By installation type:

– outdoor stairs. As the name implies, it is installed outside the living space and the house. Due to this arrangement, this room can become completely autonomous, which is very convenient if you have teenage children, for whom this additional living space is intended. However, in winter, you need to carefully monitor the condition of the stairs, as they can become unsafe.

– internal, which, respectively, is installed inside the house. This type is chosen more often, as it does not depend on any season and remains safe in all weather conditions. The downside is that it takes up quite a lot of space and can be a real problem in a small house. 

By type of construction:

  1. Straight stairs. Straight construction, which is located at an angle of 30-45 degrees, depending on the height of the ceilings and the available space. It takes up less space than the next type.
  2. Parallel stairs. It is available only for a house in which there is a lot of space. For this type of the stairs, it is assumed that it has a horizontal platform for turning, which means it occupies a large area. The main advantage of this design is that it is suitable for any ceiling height, you can make the steps very smooth and comfortable. Usually, this type of stairs is installed near a wall or in a corner.
  3. Stairs with winding quarter. It combines the first two types: it does not have a horizontal platform, but it has a turn. It is achieved through trapezoidal stairs. This way you can save a lot of space.
  4. Folding stairs. This option is suitable if the attic will be used as a warehouse and you will rarely climb it. Best of all, this option is suitable for a country house, and not for a residential building.
  5. Spiral stairs. It takes up a minimum of space but requires the installation of additional lighting, good railings and special care.

Of course, we recommend using good wood as materials for stairs. First, it will look great in the interior. Secondly, it will serve you for many years. However, we should not forget that the wood requires special care and such a structure will not be cheap. 

How to choose the right skylights for an adapted attic?

Our TOP 5 tips on how to choose a skylight:

  1. Choose the optimal size. The calculation should be carried out, taking into account both the width and the height.
  2. Correctly calculate the number of windows. It is determined by the ratio of the useful area of the window glazing to the floor area in the ratio of 1:10. It means that for a room of 35 m2, the useful glazing area will be 3.5 m2.
  3. Choose the right insulating material.
  4. Don’t skimp on mounting accessories. They will help ensure proper steam, heat and waterproofing.
  5. Accessories for skylights mean not only comfort but also additional sound insulation.

Quite frankly, choosing skylights is a much more difficult task than choosing regular windows for your home. For this reason, we still advise you to simply contact a specialized company and get to the bottom of all the subtleties directly with a good master. 

How to insulate an attic?

The features of attic insulation are as follows: the slope of the roof surface, the high thermal conductivity of the roof and the need for waterproofing the roofing. Given these factors, the best heaters will be mineral wool, polystyrene foam and extruded polystyrene foam. The type of roof will play a decisive role in the choice of material.

Which material to use for making knee partitions in the attic?

If your attic is a huge space that does not have any zoning, then false walls will come to the rescue. Usually, they are made of drywall and special skills are not required for this work. From this material, it will be possible to make additional walls and even niches for decorative elements. The most important thing is to properly plan the space. 

How to relocate installations to the attic?

When planning an attic renovation, you can use it as different rooms, and even the bathroom is no exception. However, there will be a question about the correct arrangement of all utility lines. For small rooms, compact built-in plumbing, such as a toilet with an installation system, is well suited. It is installed in the attic in the same way as in a regular bathroom. 

Arrangement of the attic – what else can you use the attic for?

The attic is a unique place that can be turned into almost any room. You can relax, sit with friends, spend time with your child there or use it as the dressing room you may have dreamed of for so many years. So, how can you use the room when planning an attic renovation?

Guest room

An ideal option, especially if relatives or friends who stay overnight often come to you.

Spare wardrobe for seasonal clothes

This is exactly what everyone needs after the winter season and voluminous down jackets that have to be stored somewhere.

Dining room

Now there is a place for a new set and a beautiful table decor!

Children’s playroom

Hundreds of children’s toys and your feet not crippled by Lego pieces will thank you for such a decision.

Game room for a party

Virtual reality glasses, the new PlayStation and expensive board games will no longer have to seek refuge from curious children because there will be a whole separate floor for these things.

Home office

After quarantine, such a room should be in every home. 

Where can I report the attic refurbishment?

To apply for the attic refurbishment, you need to contact the mayor or the city government. Such notice of the attic refurbishment will be sufficient if the work performed does not involve a change in the area of the building. 

Refurbishing an attic without a building permit – what are the consequences?

Like any games with the law, this will not bring any success, but can only give additional problems. Construction without obtaining the necessary permit is considered construction arbitrariness and violates the law. Alteration of the attic without a permit entails a huge fine and a possible requirement for dismantling.

Attic refurbishment – necessary documents and formalities

As we wrote earlier, if your work does not involve changes in the area of the building, it will be enough to send a notice. To do this, you need to provide the following documents:

– a technical description of the building and a drawing showing its location on a plot with a marked attic;

– technical examination confirming the possibility of refurbishing the attic for household purposes;

– a decision on building conditions or an official certificate of compliance of refurbishment plans with the local spatial development plan;

– application for the right to use real estate for construction purposes.

However, if construction work involves expanding the house or its superstructure, changing the shape and slope of the roof, rebuilding external partitions and structural elements, creating window openings or changing their size, making stairs, etc., then you will have to obtain a building permit.

Attic renovation cost

When planning the attic renovation, the price will depend on the degree of complexity and scope of work, so it is difficult to name the specific amount that will be required for this. The cost of the project itself can be around PLN 1500-2500. However, to this, you need to add the cost of the floor, the installation of windows (single skylights cost about PLN 2,000), and a new staircase (from PLN 3,000 and more). When renovating an attic, the price can be much higher if it is necessary to increase the knee wall and reconstruct the roof – in this case, you have to take into account the total costs of up to PLN 200,000.


In order not to worry about the fact that some formalities were not observed, not to get to the bottom of the construction issues and significantly speed up the whole process, come to our office for a preliminary calculation. Our managers will be happy to advise you on all the nuances that usually arise in the process of renovating an attic.

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