A comprehensive guide to loft conversions

A comprehensive guide to loft conversions

In this article, we’ll explain the crucial stages of loft conversions, guiding you what you should consider each step during the process.

In this article, we’ll explain the crucial stages of loft conversions, guiding you what you should consider each step during the process.

Can I convert my loft?

First, you should make sure whether your loft space is suitable for conversion. Often houses come with an allowance for authorized development, which means you may go ahead with your conversion without planning permission. However, it may be complicated if you reside in a conservation area, or your roof space isn’t tall enough. Simply, ask an architect, builder or surveyor to check this out for you. But you can also carry out some of the initial checks.

Find other conversions in the neighbourhood

A convenient idea of whether your loft may be converted is to find out whether any similar houses on the street have loft conversions. If you find precedence, it’s more likely to be a possibility. It would be great if you request them to take a look at the loft in your street.

Measure the head height

The minimum height you require for a loft conversion is 2.2m. You can easily measure this height yourself with a tape measure. Just run it from the floor to the ceiling on the tallest side of the room. Your loft should be high enough to convert if it’s 2.2m or above.

Check what kind of roof you have

Your house may either have rafters or trusses, depending on when it was constructed. You can quickly tell what type of roof you have once you look through your loft hatch.

Rafters run along the edges of the roof, leaving most of the triangular space below hollow. However, Trusses serve as supports, running through the cross-section of the loft. It’s possible to convert a loft with trusses with extra structural support to replace the trusses. Yeah, it would cost you extra money.

Consider the floor below

While planning a conversion, people tend to ignore to consider changes to the floor below loft. Yet, it’s worth-pondering to decide the location of the staircase, and the area it might occupy. Even a well-planned space-saving staircase will take up a considerable area of a room. So, make sure you’re happy to lose your space.

Which kind of loft conversion should I opt for?

Four major types of loft conversions are available: roof light, mansard, dormer, and hip-to-gable. Each one is usually chosen for a number of reasons, including the age and type of your house you live, and of course, your budget.

Loft conversion types

Roof light conversions

The cheapest option is roof light conversions and by far the least revolutionary as you don’t have to make any drastic changes to the shape of the roof. It’s a simple matter of adding in skylight windows while adding a staircase, and laying down a floor. However, you’ll require to have sufficient roof space already without having an extension for this kind of conversion.

Dormer conversions

It’s an extension, sticking out from the slope of the roof. Mainly flat-roof dormers are the most popular kinds of conversion, and suitable for any house with a sloping roof.

Dormer conversion options are more economical than mansard or hip-to-gable conversions. However, it still adds some extra headroom and floor space.

Hip-to-gable conversions

These conversions work by extending the sloping “hip’ roof at the side of your house outwards, creating a vertical ‘gable’ wall, making internal loft space more spacious. But Hip-to-gable conversions tend to work on detached or semi-detached properties, as they need a free sloping side roof. So, if you happen to have a house with such a setting and with sloping roofs on either side, you may build on both of these to create a spacious double hip-to-gable extension.

Mansard conversions

These extensions run along the entire length of your house’s roof and will change the angle of the roof slope into almost vertical. Although it’s by far the costliest type of conversion, it will result in a huge amount of extra space. Mansard conversions are apt for most property types.

How do I select a builder?

Always do some research before hiring a builder. Speak to friends and family, and search online to see recommendations. When you find a builder, always ask to see examples of previous work. Also, it’s advisable to get at least three quotes for the work you’re planning.

Will I need planning permissions?

Usually, loft conversions won’t require planning permission as they are covered by permitted development rights. Yet, if you reside in a designated land or have a kind of property that’s difficult to convert, you may not be covered by these rights. However, you should find out more about whether you’ll require planning permission, and any other permission you might require, by searching online.


   

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