Different Types of Attics Explained With Advantages & Disadvantages

Basements & Other Rooms, Blog

The attic is the space between the roof and the ceiling or the highest point of the highest floor in the home. There are different types of attics, and they vary in height, size, square footage, and configuration. An attic can be very useful in several ways, depending on how you choose to use yours.

You can choose to use yours as a storage space, or you can get more off this space and convert it into a bedroom, man cave, game room, home office, you name it. Continue reading to see the different types of attics and what each of them means for the home.

Types of Attics

Generally, the home’s roof framing will determine which type of attic is most conducive. Some attics tend to be too small to function effectively as a living space, while others can be used as a living space. Let’s dive deeper; some popular types of attics include the following;

1. Scuttle attic

The Scuttle attic is a very common attic type and is a good choice for homeowners who have limited attic space to begin with. This type of attic does not have a permanent access staircase but rather a trap door with a ladder or pull-down staircase behind the door. You will have to climb this to get into the attic.


  • Can be used for storage
  • Can be used for emergency repair and routine maintenance


  • Cannot be used as a living space
  • Not as strong as other types of attics
  • Limited space, very hard to get into, especially if you have a mobility issue
  • Not really convenient

2. Unfinished attic

An unfinished attic is probably the most common type of attic you will find in many typical American homes. This type of attic is accessed via a permanent access staircase and not a trap door with a ladder like the Scuttle attic. However, since it is unfinished, the attic is still not a livable space. The best use for this kind of attic is for storage.


  • You can always finish the attic later on
  • Can be used for storage
  • Can also be used as a workshop. However, you won’t find it completely comfortable


  • An Unfinished attic doesn’t really count as square footage and will not increase the resale value
  • Finishing an unfinished basement later can cost a lot
  • An Unfinished attic is not energy-efficient
  • It is also not the safest, as harmful particles and dust can hang in the air

3. Partially finished attic

A partially finished attic is more like an upgrade when compared to the unfinished basement but still isn’t ready to function as a complete living space. A majority of the times that homeowners choose to have a Partially finished basement, it is often used as a playroom, study, or bedroom.


  • Can be used as a playroom, study room, storage room, or bedroom
  • Can be finished later on
  • Offer more comfort when compared to an Unfinished attic


  • Still not a complete living space
  • Finishing a Partially finished attic, later on can still cost a fortune

4. Finished attic

As you probably might have guessed already, a finished attic is one that is completely functional. Finished attics have flooring, ceilings, walls, and trims, it is also properly sealed and insulated in order to keep energy bills down. Most homeowners can use a finished attic for just about anything, even renting it out for usage.


  • You get the most out of the space
  • Adds to the resale value of the home
  • Keeps the energy bills down
  • Feel more comfortable staying in


  • Expensive
  • Proper insulation has to be done

5. Truss attic

A Truss attic is one of the most aesthetically commanding types of attic today. However, they are not too common because of certain limitations. This type of attic features exposed trusses, just like the name implies, but it is unfinished and very difficult to insulate. This is why most homeowners use this type of attic above a garage, but they aren’t exclusive to them.


  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Great for storage


  • Truss attic tends to be more costly
  • Insulation doesn’t always take well with a Truss attic
  • Cannot be used as a living space


Should you maintain your attic, and how often should you?

The attic doesn’t really have much maintenance need surprisingly. However, there are simple things you can do to prevent bigger problems ahead. This includes keeping the attic clean and organized on regular occasions. Additionally, check the attic for issues from time to time and check for the presence of critters or water damage.

Do all homes have attics?

No, not all homes are designed with attics; some homeowners decide to add a full-story floor rather than a half-story attic.

What are attics used for?

A fully finished attic can be used for just about anything: a bedroom, library, personal study, playroom, man cave, or office/working area.

In conclusion – What type of attic do you need for your home?

Deciding which type of attic to have in your home is a very difficult task when you do not have an idea where to start. To help you out, here are a few questions to answer before you get started.

  • Do you need an extra living space or do you need the space for just storage?
  • Does the type of roof you’ve chosen allow for the type of attic you want?
  • Is the attic going to be finished or not?
  • Is the type of attic you want conducive to your budget?

Whether you are planning on a new home or want to modify your current one, it is best to go for the best. At Samkins Construction Lnc, we take pride in what we do, and what is do is to deliver the best. What are you waiting for? See some of our completed projects and get in touch with us today. Together, we can get you a home to enjoy for years to come.

Thanks for reading.

About Samkins

Samkins Construction Inc specializes in custom home building, general contracting, design-build, architectural design, construction management, and real estate services.


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