Loft Conversions are a great way to turn empty space into a livable area and can be a cost-efficient way of adding extra value to your home. Here are a few you considerations you might want to make before starting.
Benefits of loft conversions
The biggest advantage of a loft conversion is the added value to your house. Research has shown that loft conversions have the potential to increase the value of the average home by around £37,000. There is no other form of home improvement that costs so comparatively little yet adds so much; the average extension only adds an average of £16,000 to a property and costs considerably more to complete. Other benefits include:
- Increase property space without building outwards (and decreasing garden space).
- Ability to rent out the room and start making money from the extra space immediately.
- Create a room with a view – always an attractive asset to a property.
- Adding a natural light source – Velux windows let in much more light than regular windows, and won’t be blocked by other houses or trees on the street outside.
Ideas for loft conversions
A converted loft space can have many uses, often used as an additional bedroom or bathroom, or even an office or playroom.
Depending on the available space, there is sometimes the option to make the conversion multi-use – such as a guest room with a spare bathroom.
Structurally, there are six main types of loft conversions to consider:
- Rooflight – the simple addition of windows is the only structural change with this conversion, making it the most cost-efficient.
- Dormer – the roof structure is altered at the sides or rear of the house to add a large, flat-roofed ‘box’ dormer (this is always a popular option).
- Hip-to-gable – the hipped side roof is removed and the end wall is then built up straight to form a new vertical gable (these conversions or most commonly found on the side of either end-terrace or semi-detached houses).
- Gable-to-gable – these conversions include a new box extension that spans the space between each gable end.
- Mansard – either one or both roof slopes are replaced with very steep sloping sides and a flat roof over the top, creating extra volume.
- Modular extension – these conversions are used where the existing loft space is unsuitable for conversion. Measurements are taken and the new rooms manufactured off-site before being delivered as a module. The existing roof is then removed and the new module installed.
DIY or Seek Help?
Loft conversions can be very technical projects, and often require planning permission (see below), and so it is usually recommended to contract a specialist.
You’ll need someone to manage the project, mock up accurate drawings, obtain the required approvals, and of course carry out the conversion. Here are some options:
- A specialist loft conversion company.
- An experienced builder.
- An architect or building surveyor.
You need to be comfortable enough to make an informed decision, so have them visit the site to provide a number of accurate quotes.
It is recommended to contact your local planning department at the start of any conversion project, but planning permission isn’t always needed. The exceptions are if you’re extending the roof space or exceeding specified limits.
Loft conversions need to meet building regulations for several reasons:
- Guaranteeing the structural quality of the new floor.
- Making sure the existing structure is not at risk as a result of the conversion
- Ensuring there’s adequate sound insulation between the loft and the room below.
Loft conversions also need to fall under The Party Wall Act 1996, where you need to give adjoining owners notice.
With careful planning, accurate designs and the right contractors in place, loft conversions can actually be a smooth process and are a sure way to add value and usable space to your home.
Looking for some renovation inspiration? Take a look at this superb renovation of a two bedroom mid terrace property.