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An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''
loft 's Near West Side A loft is a building's upper storey or elevated area in a room directly under the roof (American usage), or just an attic: a storage space under the roof usually accessed by a ladder (primarily British usage). A loft apartment r ...

loft
'') is a space found directly below the pitched
roof A roof is the top covering of a building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, an ...

roof
of a house or other building; an attic may also be called a ''sky parlor'' or a
garret Place Saint-Georges in Paris, showing top-floor garret windows A garret is a habitable attic, a living space at the top of a house or larger residential building, often small, dismal, and cramped, with sloping ceilings. In the days before eleva ...

garret
. Because attics fill the space between the ceiling of the top floor of a building and the slanted roof, they are known for being awkwardly shaped spaces with exposed
rafter Image:Photograph of the Roof Framing in the Bequet-Ribault House in Ste Genevieve MO.png, A ''double roof'' (using a Norman truss), ''common rafters'' supported by ''principal rafters'' (''top chords'' in this case) and an unusual extra layer of co ...
s and difficult-to-reach corners. While some attics are
converted Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ''Cyberman'' * Conversion (Stargate Atlantis), "Conversion" (''Stargate Atlantis ...
into bedrooms, home offices, or attic apartments complete with windows and staircases, most remain difficult to access (and are usually entered using a loft
hatch
hatch
and ladder). Attics help control temperatures in a house by providing a large mass of slowly moving air, and are often used for storage. The hot air rising from the lower floors of a building is often retained in attics, further compounding their reputation as inhospitable environments. However, in recent years attics have been insulated to help decrease heating costs, since, on average, uninsulated attics account for 15 percent of the total energy loss in average houses. A
loft 's Near West Side A loft is a building's upper storey or elevated area in a room directly under the roof (American usage), or just an attic: a storage space under the roof usually accessed by a ladder (primarily British usage). A loft apartment r ...

loft
is also the uppermost space in a building but is distinguished from an attic in that an attic typically constitutes an entire floor of the building, while a loft covers only a few rooms, leaving one or more sides open to the lower floor.


Etymology

The word "attic" is derived from the
Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital city, capital of Greece and its countryside. It is a peninsula projecting into the ...

Attica
region of
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical region of Europe Europe is a continent A contin ...

Greece
and comes from
Attic style In classical architecture Classical architecture usually denotes architecture which is more or less consciously derived from the principles of Greek and Ancient Roman architecture, Roman architecture of classical antiquity, or sometimes even mor ...
architecture. The term referred to "a low decorative façade above the main story of a building" and, as used in the phrase "attic order", had originally indicated a small decorative column above a building's main façade.


Ventilation

Modern
building code A building code (also building control or building regulations) is a set of rules that specify the standards for constructed objects such as buildings and non-building structures. Buildings must conform to the code to obtain planning permission, ...
s permit both vented and unvented attics in all climates, if a building is otherwise correctly constructed. However, unoccupied attics should usually be ventilated to reduce the accumulation of heat and moisture that contribute to mold growth and decay of wood rafters and ceiling joists. In cold climates ventilation also helps to prevent ice-dams on the roof and leaks that they cause. In hot climates, ventilation reduces cooling loads. Sometimes an insulated roof with an internal vapor barrier is preferable to a ventilated attic. In areas with wildfire hazards, sparks can enter attic vents, so houses are safer without vents. Areas with wind-driven rain, fog or sea-spray might also prefer houses with insulated roofs instead of vents. A habitable attic, or a habitable room without an attic may use an insulated roof so that moist air from the habitable area cannot condense on the roofing materials. Also, a building with a complex roof or many piercings between the conditioned area and the attic might control condensation better or more cheaply with an insulated roof and a vapor barrier. One common code requirement is that the total area of attic vents be equal to or greater than 1/150 of the floor area of the attic, with 50 percent or more of the vent area located in the upper portion of the attic. Vents and
louver A louver (American English) or louvre (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-re, -er, see spelling differences) is a window blind or window shutter, shutter with horizontal wikt:slat, slats that are angled to a ...
s should face away from prevailing winds to keep out driven rain. Soffit vents under the eaves normally provide the low vents. Louvered vents in
gable A gable is the generally triangular portion of a wall between the edges of intersecting roof pitches. The shape of the gable and how it is detailed depends on the structural system used, which reflects climate, material availability, and aesthe ...
s can provide the high vents in small houses or short gables. If a ridge is open, some metal roofing systems can install ridge vents along the entire ridge line of the roof. Various types of turbine ventilators and exhaust fans can assist with attic ventilation and decrease the required area of passive ventilators.


See also

*
Attic ladderAn attic ladder (US) or loft ladder (UK) is a retractable ladder A ladder is a Vertical direction, vertical or inclined set of rungs or Step (footing), steps. There are two types: rigid ladders that are self-supporting or that may be leaned agai ...
*
Basement A basement or cellar is one or more Storey, floors of a building that are completely or partly below the storey, ground floor. It generally is used as a utility space for a building, where such items as the boiler, water heating, water heate ...

Basement
*
Garret Place Saint-Georges in Paris, showing top-floor garret windows A garret is a habitable attic, a living space at the top of a house or larger residential building, often small, dismal, and cramped, with sloping ceilings. In the days before eleva ...

Garret
*
Hayloft A hayloft is a space above a barn, stable or cow-shed, traditionally used for storage of hay or other fodder for the animals below. Haylofts were used mainly before the widespread use of very large Baler, hay bales, which allow simpler handling of ...
*
Loft 's Near West Side A loft is a building's upper storey or elevated area in a room directly under the roof (American usage), or just an attic: a storage space under the roof usually accessed by a ladder (primarily British usage). A loft apartment r ...

Loft
*
Penthouse apartment A penthouse is an apartment An apartment (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the ...


References


External links

* {{Authority control Rooms