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Question DetailsAsked on 9/18/2013

What do I need to think about before converting empty space into storage?

We have 2 good size spaces behind 2 bedrooms upstairs that could be used for storage space. We blew insulation into it a few months ago - need to add floors and walk in access space. What should we be thinking about when tackling a project like this? Do we need permits? Are there any drawbacks to converting this space into usable areas to heating/cooling bills? It seems as easy as cutting a hole in the drywall and stapling some plywood to the beams, but I'm guessing there is lots that I'm missing.

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2 Answers


You should have a qualified carpenter at the least look at it to see if the floor structure is strong enough. Without seeing your house I could not give you any advice on this. You did not say what house it is or its age and type of construction. If it is say a Cape Cod house you should be able to do it by the eves (where the short wall is) because they are the same floor joists that support your floor. If you have a truss roof you may not be able to. As for heating and cooling bills if you weatherstrip the door you should not have a problem.


Answered 7 years ago by ContractorDon


In most jurisdictions you will need a permit if being done by a contractor - in most, not if doing it yourself and not messing with plumbing or wiring.

You need some expert advise on doing this - like Don, I visualize a Cape Code house with half-walls at the perimeter. The problem is, right now those open spaces "outside" your existing rooms are attic space - presumably not ventilated well, not heated or air conditioned, and presumably not insulated (originally). You will now be pushing the ventilation envelope to the outside half-walls and attic ceiling - this means you have to provide proper ventilation to this area, presumably heat (which your system is not designed for), and foremost - you have to ventilate the rafter area and also put a vapor barrier on the inside surface of the wall and rafter area - failure to do this right will cause moisture problems, and eventual mold or rot.

In case you are thinking cold storage, bad idea - putting items in storage in areas like this without first making it part of the heating/cooling envelope inevitably leads to problems, usually initially cardboard soaking up moisture and molding.

To do it right, I really think you should see an architect on the floor leading, ventilation and vapor barrier issues, as well as designing lighting connections and making provisions for access to the underside of the roof for inspection and repairs. The last thing you need is a rotting roof or attic.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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