Are you in need of extra living space? You should know you have several options available, not only moving to a larger home. You can for example extend your existing home. Or, if you don’t want to lose any garden space, you can extend your home upwards by using the existing structure.
Loft conversions are a very popular way of adding extra space to your home, at affordable prices. If done right, they can take a relatively short amount of time, and improve significantly the living conditions in your home. Not only that, but they may also increase the market value of your house, as potential buyers are appreciating such features. You have all the reasons to have a deep thought and choose between moving to a new home, having an extension for your existing home, or doing a loft conversion. To make the best decision, you should have the necessary info about each of these options.
If you choose to go with a loft conversion, you should get an image of the style of loft that is suited for you, and very importantly, will it require planning permission? Depending on the area you are living in, and the building, and also the types of lofts you are considering, this can be a big factor to consider when starting your project.
There are many elements to consider when thinking about your loft conversion idea. As stated above, planning permission is something that impacts your project, and the same goes for building regulations. Any loft must follow these regulations that guarantee your loft will be safe, suited for living, and energy efficient. Your construction site must follow all the safety requirements to avoid any problems.
People are looking for conversions to add extra space to their homes. Their needs can vary but usually they want to add one or two extra rooms, a bathroom, a home office, or a play room. That means transforming your attic from an empty space to functional livable space. Regardless of the loft destination and type, there are some starting things to consider. Your livable loft must have enough head space, stairs from the level below so you can access it, good insulation. You will need enough windows to allow natural light come in, and make your space feel comfortable and practical.
Generally, regardless of your loft type, or your space needs, any conversion will have to take some elements into consideration, as you will want to create livable space, that is safe and up to standards. You need to have enough ceiling height when converting your attic into a loft. Not all of them have this space. In case your attic does not allow enough full head height, you will need to analyze the cost and benefits of adding this. You could change the roof structure to add the extra space, but it will increase the costs substantially, and may also require planning permission, especially if you live in a semi-detached house. Another option is to reduce the ceiling height of the floor below to add the extra space for your loft.
Any loft space needs access to it, so stairs placement is one of the first things to consider. Light is crucial for creating nice livable space, windows planning is important for letting the required light in, adding nice views for your new space, and allow for proper ventilation. The staircase, the windows and important for fire safety concerns, and together with structural elements, floor strengths are part of the building regulations any conversion project must follow. Building control is key in making sure your loft conversion is safe for habitation. Things like external or internal walls, electricity, insulation, drainage, windows and doors are all elements considered by building regulations.
Knowing the types of loft conversion can help you choose the right one for you. Or, they can be even a combination of two conversion types, and luckily for you, you have several types to choose from.
With your initial ideas, include in your planning, from the very beginning, the furniture layout. If you know where each element should be, like furniture, electricity sockets, plumbing, bathroom, storage space, the end result will be much better and with faster completion. Your loft could have some awkward spaces due to sloping roofs and beams. Your design should consider these limitations and find solutions around them, for instance they could be used for storage, or a small bathroom.
First, you should decide, do you want a bedroom loft? Will it be a master bedroom or guest bedroom? Will you need an en suite? Is your existing roof and roof structure suited for your idea? Or will you need to do more serious alterations to your roof?
If your roof space allows it, and you could do a Velux conversion, then this would be the cheapest option. When there is enough headroom available, this conversion can be the fastest and most convenient option for you, and it will most likely fall under permitted development. Permitted development means you can make certain changes to a building without requiring planning permission. This type of conversion does not change the structure of the roof, it means only adding the windows to the roof. The disruption to your home will be minimum, but if you live in a conservation area, you may still need to apply for planning permission.
A Velux conversion will allow plenty of light and ventilation come into your new loft and make it a livable space. It can have enough room for a master bedroom with an en suite bathroom.
If this simplest conversion does not allow for enough head height, don’t worry, there are other types of conversions available. Instead of sloping ceilings, you may prefer a more box-shaped conversion loft. In that case, your options are a dormer loft or a mansard. They offer the most space, but that means they will be more complex and lengthy work. But with such a generous space, any interior design ideas you have can become a reality. Even if it is not as cost effective as a Velux conversion, they can prove a good investment in the long run, offering you space for a living room, bathroom, or a roomy office.
The dormer loft conversion is a very popular choice in the UK, and they are suited for many home types, from semi detached houses to terraced houses. They may be approved even for houses in conservation areas, if they are within the style of the house. These flat roof additions to the slope of the ceiling will add extra cubic space to your loft and comfortable head height.
They will offer a nice view outside, because the windows are vertical, instead of sloped like in a Velux conversion. They can allow plenty of light and fresh air come into your loft space, and also act as an emergency exit in case of a fire. Dormer lofts can come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and can be an interesting architectural detail for your home. If you consider having a dormer loft conversion, it is wise to discuss with a specialist to see whether it suits your needs and your home, whether it falls under permitted development or not, what the costs and duration will be. Generally, they will be more labor intensive, will need more structural work done, and will require more attention to details than a simple roof light attic conversion. If you choose to do a rear dormer conversion, they may fall under permitted development, because your house will remain mostly unchanged from the street view. Permitted development allows a 40 cubic meters extension for a terraced house or 50 cubic meters for a semi detached or a detached house. But these rules will not apply if your house is in a conservation area so it is imperative you check these sorts of details when you are planning your extension. Having lots of light coming in your space and a connection with the outdoor are essential for quality loft conversions. One way of doing this is to add a Juliet balcony to your dormer loft conversion. They are perfect for letting the sun and the fresh air in, and to take small breaks in case you have an exercise room or a home office.
These general ideas about loft conversions should help you get an understanding of some of the most common and effective loft types. Are dormer windows a better solution for your home or is a Velux conversion exactly what you need? They are more expensive and require more structural work and time, they may also require planning permission, but they have some advantages that many home owners can’t ignore.
They can be used for a variety of purposes. You can add one or two bedrooms, a home office, a bathroom, a nursery, extra storage space, or an en-suite or dressing room for a master bedroom. You could add one or two single dormers to your sloping ceilings. They are a common solution for homes in conservation areas. But, if you want to maximize your space, a full width dormer, running the length of your roof will provide you with plenty of space and a whole new look for your home. Some property types allow for an L-shaped dormer that would increase the space significantly. If your house has a hipped roof, you could choose a side dormer.
Mansard conversions involve replacing one or both roof slopes with almost vertical roof sides, and most of the times with dormer windows. Generally, they add the most space to your home but they will also be more expensive and will change the appearance of the home as mansards require a lot of structural work. They will most likely require planning permission because of this. You should check the houses in your neighborhood and if they have mansard roofs, then most likely you will be allowed to build one yourself if plan to.
This big loft conversion could be perfect for an open plan space with a kitchen and living room. The open space, paired with modern design and stylish furnishings will give you a sense of freedom and class.
If you need additional living space, mansard conversions are perfect for adding even two bedrooms and a bathroom. Some people like the look and feel of a room in the roof, where the loft has sloping roofs and all sorts of odd nooks and crannies. But if you prefer a more traditional box-shaped space, basically a whole new floor added to your home, then the mansard is the perfect choice and it may then be worth the extra costs with the construction. Although the word conversion may be used when mentioning mansards, you are basically building a brand-new roof.
As you could see above, there are many loft types and styles, covering any need, budgets and house types. Regardless of your choice, there are some good practices when decide to do a loft extension.
Spend some time learning about the conversion types, what is permitted development and what requires permission. Look at what neighboring home owners have done so you can get a sense of what is possible in your area. Your new loft conversion will add basically more room to your home, it may be a loft conversion bedroom, an office or a play room. They are all livable space, that needs to be safe and comfortable for their occupants. For this reason, you should choose to work only with experienced architects or builders, who know and love their trade. There are a lot of things that need to be followed when it comes to building regulations and safe construction sites. An experienced team will be able to handle all of these aspects of the building project.
If you have adjacent buildings to your loft, you will need a Part Wall Agreement if the work involves working on a shared wall or structure. There are many types of work or situations when you will need such an agreement. This is again something an experienced architect or building company can help you with. There are cases when such an agreement is not needed, if you are building on a stand-alone or detached house, or depending on the construction choices you make.
Your new space will need enough light coming in, so plan carefully the Velux windows or dormer window placement. Letting enough natural light coming in will give it a nice and warm feeling, but also think about shading during sunny summer days, so your space will always be comfortable.
If your existing roof allows it, you can go with a cheaper and faster window conversion, or choose a loft bedroom with flat roof for some extra head room and space. Go further with a mansard build if you want a large traditionally shaped space.
Although the attic is usually used for storage, and you plan on creating there more livable space, it is wise to consider some storage space for your rooms as well. There are plenty of ideas around on how to use that odd roof space to add a cupboard or other storage solutions.
Decide whether you need a shower room, and what the best placement will be, as this involves plumbing work as well. Use good insulation to give you comfort and energy efficiency.
Stairs are an important factor allowing easy access to your new space, but also an emergency exit. You and the specialists you are working with must deal with aspects right from the beginning, as you will most likely plan the space layout around them.
In general, look for loft conversion ideas to be inspired and to know what is possible with a loft extension. Your project should fulfil your living space needs, but it should also follow your style. This after all your home, and must reflect your personality. It is also an addition to an existing building, with its own look and feel, inside and out. Your loft extension should not feel an addition to the home, rather a part of it.
If done right, following all the building regulations and with quality materials, it will serve you for a very long period of time, meaning you won’t have to move when your habitation needs change. In case you will want to eventually sell the house, you will be able to get a good price for it because a conversion adds value to the property.