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I own a house built in 1920, and am considering converting the walk-up attic into living space. Today the space is used strictly for storage, and needs to be framed/drywall. I have read online about converting attic space, and people concerning themselves with reinforcing the joists. The attic I have already has a tongue and groove hardwood floor. It seems most of the projects I have read about where joists were reinforced there was not a "permanent" floor in place, rather just the open joists. I don't feel like ripping up the floor if it is not necessary. If anyone is familiar with building practices of that era-- if the hardwood floor was layed down at time of construction would it be relatively safe to assume the joists were constructed to support a floor and contents, rather than just hold the ceiling below? We are using the attic today for considerable storage and have not noticed any issues. Thank you.
 

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There should be no, "assuming", of anything in a project like this. All you need to do is check to see what the joist size is up there and compare it to the first and second floor.
What size joists do you have?
Ron
 

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You would need to verify the joist sizes, even if that means pulling part of the floor up

My 2nd floor is from the 50's & only has 2x6 joists
Which do not meet todays code for the spans they cover
 

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Check the framing where you stick your head up into the attic, or at the drop-down stairs. Be safe, G
 

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Ron-- this may be a silly question-- but how can I tell the size of the joists without taking the floor up?
If you can go to the edge of the floor and measure it. You can drill a 1/16" hole in a place that will not be seen and put a wire through the hole to the ceiling below. Subtract the thickness of the flooring and that's the joist width.
Ron
 
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