Attic remodel on the cheap (1 Viewer)


Dec 16, 2011
There is an attic I have been offered as a room but don’t want to be breathing dust and insulation. Any tips on making it livable on the cheap using dumpstered/inexpensive materials?
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stp user voted "the friendliest mod"
Staff member
Jan 26, 2008
richmond virginia, the east coasts portland.
Yer best bet would be the advice you already got, suck up all the dust and fibers and shit you can with a shop vac then use some of those heavy duty hefty trash bags that are sold for collecting leaves and stuff from lawns to put over exposed insulation. Tyvek is great and can often be found in large quantities in construction dumpsters like @travelingheathen mentioned already, it's also great for putting yer sleeping pad inside of to cut down on any punctures from little sharp stuff you may miss when yer cleaning up.

Chances are even with covering the exposed insulation and sticking up alot of dust yer still gonna wake up with black snot for a while at least. In my experience living in attics is always a bit of a dirty thing.


Emperor of the North Pole
Nov 4, 2006
Mostly in New Bedford, Mass when home.
Keep in mind that I am a New Englander so I equate attics to being drafty & cold. That being said the above suggestion of cleaning & vacuuming years of accumulated dust is huge. Asphalt shingles & tart paper produce lots of that black stuff and rarely do roofers clean or protect attics as they are often underused. Imagine a 100 year old house & how often it had roofs put on or when they were last cleaned & or ever inhabited. Insulation isnt too pricey. I would invest in that after cleaning. Insulate using rolled insulation while ensuring a decent electrical system exists. Many attics around my house have fixtures that are 40+ years old. A single hanging light with a string. Before the insulating I would try to get some outlets & a surge protector run somewhere. Most attics have only but 1 or 2 windows & they are not always able to open. I would want some sort of basic lock between common areas for privacy. Ideally the shared use of a bathroom elsewhere in the house would avoid those expensive renovations. Hotplates & toaster ovens with a microwave do a lot and dorm fridges are all anyone really needs. Washing dishes without plumbing can be tough but again if kitchen usage is avauilable then you are ok. I would make sure that there is at least a window or more that open & having a basic rope ladder may satisfy some sort of safety requirement. Smoke/carbon dioxide detectors will help once completed.

Depending on flooring I might lay down some woolish underlayment then sheet the floor with plywood. I wouldnt use sheet insulation as to capture any residual heat from below floors. I would sand and then coat the plywood floor with polyurethane or even a light stain too like in sail lofts. As seen in the picture this person took a blow torch evenly to the plywood to bring out some of the natural character 9 I would do this outside in the yard before carrying the sheets outside. Keeping with the sail loft theme I would buy cotton duck painters cloth. 9 x 12 All Purpose Canvas Cotton Drop Cloth - - - Staple it up to cover the new insulation and joists. The white color will help brighten up the space & make use of limited light. I would buy a oil filled radiator for heat with a small table fan if electrical system can handle it. the fan will better distribute the heat if positioned behind the radiator fins. These heaters are 1500 watts max so one needs to get creative with when & what they plug in. A microwave might require the temporal unplugging of said heater. If separation is required I would build simple walls made of found lumber that could be wrapped in painters cloth or use rice paper divider wall sections Decorate with a few recycled denin rag throw rugs, futon, and other space saving furnishings like these attic max storage system with some sort of collapsible storage boxes.

depending on code requirements for it being used as a bedroom or apartment and requiring a window & closet or second egress & heating system. I would make it quickly appear as a meditation room, art studio or improved storage space. Sure it can be a homey, warm, bright & inviting space that is perfect to live in, but is it legal? Occasionally inspectors, tradesmen, firemen or insurance people may have to access the space. Be careful with trying to add electrical or cable service to such spaces as they trigger red flags. If anything connect to existing wifi, split off cable while doing a self install from below account or get dish network.


Last edited:


Dec 16, 2011
Thanks so much for all the tips. There is no insulation in there at all and I expected it to be really cold but it' actually been quite warm in there when I have been in there (this is in Minnesota) I would like something up over the Tyvek, to make it more like an actual room. I like the canvas drop suggestion but also would possibly like something more permanent too

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