A loft conversion is supposed to bring value to your home either as new habitable space or in case you want to sell it. It is always preferable, when possible, to convert it to a livable space rather than keeping it as a storage space. If this is something that might interest you, when doing a basic research, you will notice that for whatever need you may have there will be a type of loft for you. You will be glad to be using the additional space in your attic in a new matter rather than just storage. Your house will gain new rooms and uses, and it will also get an increase in its value if you later on decide to sell it.

First, check whether your property can have a loft conversion. If your home is in a conservation area or is listed, then it would be more difficult to convert your loft. For these cases, you will need planning permission. There will be other cases when this is needed, but we’ll discuss this later. You should also analyze your existing roof. Can it be converted? Does it offer enough loft space? Is the roof structure suited for a loft conversion? Loft conversions involve a lot of technical aspects, so it is important to speak to a structural engineer and an architect as early as possible. Many loft conversions don’t require planning permission, if you won’t affect the roof structure that may fall under permitted development. But if you are making alterations to the roof structure, like raising the roof in case you have a low roof, to create extra ceiling height, then it will need permission. Even if you believe your loft won’t require planning permission, it is still wise to consult your local authority and find out.

What loft conversions fulfill my housing needs?

Many people ask themselves what is the cheapest loft conversion. The immediate answer is roof light loft conversions. If you want to convert your loft with little money and in a short period of time, then this is the choice for most people. They are also called Velux conversions, and they transform the existing roof space into livable space by adding the necessary windows to let light and air in. As with any loft conversion, you will need staircase access to the new floor. You should know that the minimum head height is 2.3 meters. Because they have the least impact on the roof structure, they most likely will be considered permitted development rights.

But even such a relatively simple loft conversion will still need to comply with building regulations. The main areas of interest are structural elements, fire safety, insulation, stairs access. Any loft conversion will need to have some minimal insulation, regardless of the conversion type.
When you are carrying out construction work in your home, you want it done as quickly as possible and with the least disturbance to your family life. Fortunately, this being the simplest of the loft conversion will mean it is the fastest to complete.
The downside would be that generally it won’t offer much extra room, usually a Velux conversion allows for a loft conversion bedroom, maybe some storage space, and not much more.

Hip to gable conversions

Most homes have a hipped roof, meaning a sloping side, that would leave little room for creating habitable space. A gable loft conversion can eliminate that hipped roof transforming it into a gable roof, which is vertical. This way, you will gain more usable floor space for your loft as you won’t have the roof sloping inwards and taking up valuable space. These conversions are suited for certain properties, such as detached and semi detached properties, bungalows. They are not used for some terraced house types. You can also combine this conversion with other types such as a dormer conversion, described in more detail below.

Dormer loft conversion

There are other types of loft that would be more suited if you want to gain more extra space, especially if you want a more traditionally box-shaped space. If you don’t particularly like a sloping roof, then a flat roof conversion would make you feel less crammed. One way of achieving this is by doing a dormer loft conversion. This means adding a box shaped structure to a pitched roof. This will increase the available head space and floor space, and add windows that are traditional at 90 degrees.

This structure will protrude from the sloping roof, making the loft feel larger and lighter with the use of dormer windows. You can use skylights as well for extra light and an overall inviting feeling.

You can choose from several types of loft conversion when it comes to dormer, depending on the house you are living in. They can be in the front, side, or back of the house. Also, they can have flat roofs or pitched roofs. Choosing between all these must take into consideration several factors.

As with any loft conversion you are planning, you must start with your needs. What is the purpose of the new loft? Is it going to be a master bedroom, a home office, a nursery, a playroom, an entertainment room? What is the budget you are going to have? Your expectations must be matched by the money you have to construct this. A larger loft conversion will offer you the open living space you so much desired, but it will come with a cost and lengthier construction time.

What is the style of the house? If you have an older property, a pitched roof might go better with your house, or may even be required. They offer less room than a flat roof dormer, but they are looking more interestingly and will better fit when added to the front of the house. If space and a box-shaped dormer are more important to you, then you should go with a flat roof conversion.

For houses that are in conservation areas, there are a lot of limitations, so it is important to know all these as early as possible when converting your loft.

For these houses that are in conservation areas, the most common are the single dormers, you can add one or two of them for symmetry. They will increase the space and the head room, but not as much as a full width dormer for instance. As the name implies, it will run through the length of the roof giving you ample space.

If your house has a hipped roof, then you can add a side dormer to increase the space. For even more space, you can go with a hip to gable loft. It means replacing one or more hips with a gable. This new roof, where the slope used to be will give the extra space and head height.

The l shaped dormer loft is another conversion that offers a lot of space and is especially suited for Victorian properties. It involves adding two dormers, one over the main roof of the house and one over the extension, giving it the characteristic L shape where the two dormers meet. You will gain a lot of space with this type of conversion, almost replicating your first floor.

As you can see, even if the roof slope does not match your conversion needs, there are ways of adapting and adding dormers that would make it easier to live in, with enough head room and space. A hipped roof can be transformed to offer a vertical space for your loft. Many people love the character and comfort of a loft conversion with a slopped roof. In the end, it is also a matter of personal taste, but also planning permissions, budgeting, etc. A dormer conversion can give you enough space for at least one room and even an en suite. This is a very desired feature that most home owners want when making an extension. Generally, a dormer conversion should allow for adding a bedroom and an extra bathroom. Using dormer windows or even better skylights you can add plenty of natural light coming in. With enough attention and planning, you can make an en suite that is on the smaller side feel open and luxurious.

This type of conversion can offer you plenty of extra space, but still at a reasonable price and construction time. Usually adding a dormer is not so disruptive to your home meaning you can live inside it during construction, which is a great advantage.

You can eliminate the existing roof slope and add the maximum amount of livable space with mansard loft conversions. This can be done for one or both slopes of the house. They are replaced by almost vertical roofs, almost like a wall, with an almost flat roof at the top. This conversion type would require the most work and construction time, and will most likely need permission planning due to the changes to the structure of the roof. With a mansard loft extension, you are basically adding an extra floor to your home. If you need the large space, and you can afford the costs and time needed to build it, then it is a viable choice. You will have the feeling of a regular floor and not a room in the attic like other conversions create. They are often used in London for terraced houses. As stated before, because of the extensive changes to the structure and the look of the home, they will need require permission and the planning process can get tedious. You are basically building a whole new roof. They tend to be more suited for detached and semi detached houses, but can be built even for terraced houses.

As you can see, even if the roof slope does not match your conversion needs, there are ways of adapting and adding dormers that would make it easier to live in, with enough head room and space. A hipped roof can be transformed to offer a vertical space for your loft. Many people love the character and comfort of a loft conversion with a slopped roof. In the end, it is also a matter of personal taste, but also planning permissions, budgeting, etc. A dormer conversion can give you enough space for at least one room and even an en suite. This is a very desired feature that most home owners want when making an extension. Generally, a dormer conversion should allow for adding a bedroom and an extra bathroom. Using dormer windows or even better skylights you can add plenty of natural light coming in. With enough attention and planning, you can make an en suite that is on the smaller side feel open and luxurious.

This type of conversion can offer you plenty of extra space, but still at a reasonable price and construction time. Usually adding a dormer is not so disruptive to your home meaning you can live inside it during construction, which is a great advantage.

You can eliminate the existing roof slope and add the maximum amount of livable space with mansard loft conversions. This can be done for one or both slopes of the house. They are replaced by almost vertical roofs, almost like a wall, with an almost flat roof at the top. This conversion type would require the most work and construction time, and will most likely need permission planning due to the changes to the structure of the roof. With a mansard loft extension, you are basically adding an extra floor to your home. If you need the large space, and you can afford the costs and time needed to build it, then it is a viable choice. You will have the feeling of a regular floor and not a room in the attic like other conversions create. They are often used in London for terraced houses. As stated before, because of the extensive changes to the structure and the look of the home, they will need require permission and the planning process can get tedious. You are basically building a whole new roof. They tend to be more suited for detached and semi detached houses, but can be built even for terraced houses.

If your home is a terraced or semi-detached property, when doing a loft conversion, you will need a Party Wall Agreement as you have one or two shared party walls with your neighbors. The work you are carrying out may impact them so you must notify them two months in advance of starting the building works. Ideally, you would hire a party wall surveyor to help you with this process.

There are many legal and technical matters that an England and Wales company can help you navigate, from an early stage. But you should also think about the design and layout of your new space. After all, the space should be what you needed and dreamed about for your home. It should not feel an addition to it, rather part of it. An architect will look at you house as a whole, and propose design solutions based on your requirements. It is important knowing the destination and the use of the new space, as then you can layout the furniture, plumbing, electrical systems, windows, doors, and very importantly, the stairs access. The construction job will be much easier when all these details are known in advance.

Larger loft conversions, such as dormers and mansards, offer the most floor and head room space, but they will be the most complex as well. They most likely will require planning permission, and will take more time to be completed. But if you want a large bedroom, or even two, plus a bathroom, and an office space, then they are the best solution. Transforming your attic with a Velux conversion can have a high value for your property, adding the necessary windows and with minimal construction work. But your attic should be tall enough and large enough to accommodate this extra space, for example an office. For this loft extension, you are not changing the roof slope, but you are left with less usable space. An experienced company, with loft conversion specialists, can tell you in such cases how to use the existing space to the max, adding for example storage spaces, or a bathroom in these limiting parts of the roof.

When you are adding a dormer to lofts, you keep the sloping roof, but you gain a room that will have a more traditional box-shaped layout. They give you a comfortable space for a bedroom, and, if they are in the rear of the house, you may not need planning permission for them. An L-shaped dormer, if the house design allows it, can get you an even bigger space, with two bedrooms for your family and a bathroom.

As you could see above, some conversions offer a new large open space, like a mansard loft conversion for instance. Others, will keep the sloping roof, and maybe add a dormer. To fully utilize such irregular places, you will need some creativity and good planning, but you should know that even such places can be used to store things or for a bathroom for instance or an office. It is important to plan where you need full head height, for instance in the shower area, but other parts of the room can have odd shapes, nooks and crannies, adding a cozy feeling and still having a practical purpose.

Get all you wanted from your loft conversion project

A successful project manages to marry both costs and times savings with quality work and safety, and good design. Working with the right conversion company, with years of experience in the field, can reduce the risk of failing at these aspects.

The loft conversion must be a solution for you housing needs but also an investment meant to bring up the value of your home in case you want to later sell it. The numbers show that adding extra space to a home through an extension or a loft conversion can bring up the value of the house by 20-30%. Especially when you are adding not only a room, but a bathroom as well, the house will become more appealing for potential buyers. Or they will welcome the addition of a home office, especially now when more and more people are working remotely.

One thing you can never ignore is safety, both when it comes to the construction site, and for the loft you are building. Even when your conversion does not require planning permission, you will still need to follow building regulations. They cover many aspects of the construction to ensure the space you are building follows the codes.

You should always check early on what falls under permitted development rights and whether your plans are within those limits or not. Also, contact your local authority for building control to discuss these details.

As a general guidance, any additional roof space created under 40 cubic meters for terraced houses and 50 cubic meters for detached and semi-detached houses is considered permitted development.

You will need a Building Regulations Completion Certificate for your new loft, to prove that it meets the standards. They are used when you want to insure or sell the property.

In general, you should have a realistic view over the budget, the timeframe, the people needed to complete the job, the permissions required, technical solutions, aesthetic principles. Of course, this should not all rest on your shoulders, you should hire specialists with experience in such projects who can take it to completion in time and on budget and meeting all the building regulation requirements.