Breaking it Down

You guys – thank you SO MUCH for all the kind words of encouragement about our move! We’ve just gotten an outpouring of support and it’s really nice to have such an amazing group of people to share with us in our excitement!

So if the last post didn’t make it pretty obvious, the last few weeks have been a cluster of activity around here, so I’ll be playing catch up on the blog with some things that have definitely already gone down. I’m super excited to show you what we did with our old bedroom and lots of other updates we scrambled to finish in the last seconds before listing our house.

As promised last week though, I wanted to start off with a cost breakdown of our attic conversion. This project, by far, is the one I get the most inquiries about, so I wanted to provide a really holistic cost breakdown for those that might be tackling a similar project at home. Y’all ready for this?

Let’s start back at the beginning. Our first significant cost was insulation.

Foam Board Insulation

To make sure the house was as efficient as possible, we decided to do a combination of foam and fiber glass. Foam had a higher r-value per inch, but it was also more expensive. Overall, I’m super pleased with the solution we found for this part of the project (read more about the install here). We’ve already seen a significant cost savings over last year (to tune of heating bills under $150), and we’ve had a beast of a winter here in Michigan. #PolarVortex

Here is the cost breakdown for this part of the project.

  1. 800 sq. feet of foam board: $375
  2. 1,000 sq. feet of fiberglass bats: $400
  3. 3 cans of spray foam: $15
  4. 3 rolls of HVAC Tape: $30
  5. Thermal foil barrier: $340

After we had the insulation in, our next big chunk of change went to drywall. Well, the drywall and the extra contractor we had to hire after the first one jumped the coop. Geeze louise, I’m telling you.

Converting Attic into Bedroom

This one was a bit more expensive than anticipated since we had to essentially double our labor costs unexpectedly. :/ (Don’t you hate that!) Overall, we spent just over $1,000 on the drywall supplies and installation. More than we had budgeted, but obviously an essential component of the remodel. We just didn’t have the expertise the do this one ourselves though, so unfortunately we had to rely on others to make the magic happen. And ya know, in the end it just wasn’t that magical.

Adding Built-in to Knee Wall

Although the built-in wasn’t done until near the end of our renovation, we actually started it before we even put in the drywall. Since we’re certainly not carpenters, we opted to cheat a bit with this part of the project and purchase pre-fab cabinets to speed things up a bit. All and all, this project wasn’t crazy expensive, but it still set us back a few hundred dolla billz.

Master Suite in Attic

Now this project was one that we landed up coming way WAY under budget on. After pricing out everything in the stores, I just kinda got sticker shock and decided to try this bad boy ourselves. If we would have opted to go with the pre-fab railing available at the home improvement store, this part of the attic would have come in just north of $700. Ouch. I’ll take $350 😉 Overall, I’m pretty darn happy with how it turned out, too!

We also decided to add a DIY Board and Batten accent wall for behind the bed. At $20, I’d say it’s the project that definitely had the most bang for the buck with the attic renovation!

Converting Attic to Master

BAM. I’m telling you – that’s the sweet spot. Speaking of way too much sweetness you can’t even handle it, check out our finished closet doors.

The board and batten finish was only $20 on these beauties as well. The door hardware and wood panels added to that price, but including everything, these closets costs around $200. Not sooo bad.

Board and Batten Trim on Closets

Last but certainly not least in our attic cost calculations, came our carpeting. Chalk it up to lots of odd angles leading to lots of scrap, this part of the remodel actually landed up being the most expensive. Errggghhh.

Winterthur Potters Clay

Including a few other incidentals and our skylights ($1,500), our total cost for just finishing off the attic (not the bathroom), came in at $6,590.  Now that is so, so not cheap. It’s way more than most renovations we take on in this little house of ours BUT when we got quotes back in the day for adding a dormer out, we had (2) contractors tell us that finishing out this space would cost around $18,000 (sans dormer, mind you). Now that – that’s a lot of money.

Plus, as you all now know, with our house newly on the market, we feel pretty good about making an investment in a nice finished Master Suite. Gotta knock their socks off, people! 😀

And as a parting gift, I give you one more before shot of our lovely attic. As far as I’m concerned, this renovation was priceless!

Attic Bedroom

And … after!

Converting Attic into Bedroom

10 thoughts on “Breaking it Down

  1. I love the cost breakdown! Seriously, as an accountant this speaks to my number loving heart 😉 Jake and I are looking at houses and last weekend we saw one with an attic master sans bath. I got all excited and thought about how you all transformed your attic so neat! Thanks for sharing :) And a big congrats on this next chapter of your lives!!! Can i just say, I love the Wagon Wheel song too 😉

  2. I have a cape with a small closet so I’m eyeing your closets as a way to get my own space! Were the skylights also put in as part of this renovation? We are having our roof done so I am interested this as a way for more light and breeze in the summer.

    Thanks for the costs on the project!

      1. Re the skylights. How much did they add to the budget for purchase and install? Any other tips on types of skylights to share? Thanks!

  3. Hi! I love your cost breakdown and certainly helps me plan for our attic conversion in a few months. Did you have to have reroute the duct? Did the cost cover the reinforcement of the floor? If you did, may I be curious and ask how much did they cost you? Thanks a bunch!

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