Author Archives: Philip Bryden

The benefits of having a loft conversion

The benefits of having a loft conversion

As families grow up there is usually a need to upsize into a larger house, just as the grandparents may have downsized after all their children had fled the nest. Although interest rates have been at an all time low for a long time, it’s still not as easy to get a mortgage as it used to be, and sometimes it is quite impossible to find the required large deposit.

The solution for many people requiring extra space is to look upwards in the home and plan to convert the loft. It will cost money of course, however, it can be considerably cheaper than moving home, and it will also add to the value of the house when it is finally time to move on.

Planning issues

Local authorities have strict rules for planning, and it is important to establish whether or not planning permission is required for a loft conversion. In many cases it is not required, but this point should always be clarified before starting any work. An architect, if one is employed, or a builder will know what the regulations are for the area, but a search on the local authority’s website should also find the information.

Planning the space

It is surprising how much wasted space can be found in the loft area of a house. Many people just use it for storage (and often hardly ever use what is stored), so turning it into a brand new room that could be used for a variety of uses adds real value to the property. It could become an extra bedroom, a playroom for the children that they can call their own, a new living room space or a neat home office. Depending on how it is converted, it is possible to sit at a big window in the loft and get a completely different perspective of the landscape around.

Increasing headroom

The best way to create more headroom is to install a dormer window(s). These extend out from the original roof and can be as large or as small as required – taking into consideration the building regulations and what it will look like from the outside. Neighbours and the council may consider it intrusive if it is not well designed. Dormers can provide a large expanse of glass, allowing in plenty of light to make the new room feel bright and airy.

Windows can also be put directly into roofs (Velux type) as well as at a gable end, though no extra space will be gained as with dormer windows. Windows for dormer conversions must be designed to match the windows in the rest of the house.

Curtains, blinds or shutters?

Window coverings are a matter of personal choice, and often blinds are used for roof windows. A homeowner may want to use curtains for dormer windows, perhaps to create a theme, or take the designer option and fit shutters. These are extremely versatile and can be designed to fit all window sizes and shapes. They are ideal for controlling the amount of light admitted, and also give that added insulating layer when it turns wintry outside.

Loft Conversions: Regulations and Information

Loft Conversions: Regulations and Information

Before you begin to start work in your loft you’re going to have to find out more information on building regulations from your local council and seek the help of professionals to get advice on adhering to the building regulations and planning restrictions.

What Type of Roof Structure do you have?

Your existing roof will be either Trussed Rafter or Traditional, and will need to be altered to allow for air circulation and for installation of velux windows.

Trussed Rafter roofs started to be built onto house since the 1970’s and are difficult to convert due to their complexity. You shouldn’t work on these types of roof without seeking advice from a structural engineer.

Traditional roofs are typically made with rafters and are generally easier to convert. However extra beams are normally required, so again, best seek some advice from a structural engineer.

You may be tempted to simply board over your existing rafters and ceiling joists, this can overload the existing beams, possibly leading to dangerous structural problems and lowering the value of your home.

Don’t be tempted to tackle any structural work without seeking professional advice.

Staircases into your loft.

How you access your new loft space is a very important decision.

Following on into the loft from your existing stairwell is a standard option, and helps ensure the new staircase fits into the layout and style of your current plan.

This option is only available if there is enough headroom in the loft where the new stairs would emerge.

Another option would be to section of an existing room to make way for a new set of stairs to your loft space, the downside to this ofcourse is you lose floor space from an existing room.

Staircase Regulations

The maximum pitch of the staircase should not exceed 42′.

While the maximum rise (height) of each tread should be no more than 220mm.

The tread on each step should be atleast 220mm also.

The staircase regualtions help ensure staircases are designed correctly and safe to use.

Space above the staircase for headroom should be a minimum 2m, although some regulations can be a lower 1.9m in the centre of the stairs, reducing to 1.8m on the outer of the stair.

Important: The information in this article was provided to me by local council planning department and I offer it here for informational purposes only. Before you start any structural work, seek advice from your local planning office for an up to date list of their own building regulations.

Loft Conversion Costs

How Much Does a Loft Conversion Cost?

Not surprisingly, like yourself, everyone’s first question when planning a building project is “How much will it cost“. This is true of every project, not just loft conversions.

Loft Conversion prices in the UK

The cost of converting your loft will depend on which area of the UK you live in.

Also which type of conversion you would like coupled with the existing condition and structure of your property.

All this makes it very difficult to narrow the costs down to an exact figure, but there are some estimate figures you can use as a guideline when pricing your conversion.

The good news is, what money you spend on the loft conversion will be reflected in the value of your home. Making a loft conversion, not only a good way to extend your home and make it more comfortable, but also as an investment in your property.

Good Estimate

A good all round figure for a professional loft conversion in the UK would start at £20,000 rising to around £35,000. London loft conversions can be expected to priced at around £50,000.

Professional tradesmen always cost more in London but the extra cost will be reflected in the higher value of your home when it’s complete and re valued by a London estate agent.

Of course one way of keeping costs down is to do some of the manual work yourself, leaving the more technical work to the professionals.

If you are in any doubt, always consult a tradesman with experience of converting lofts.

Different Types of Conversions

Let’s look at some estimated figures for different types of loft conversions.

The most basic loft conversion is when it’s done for storage purposes rather than adding additional living space.

Storage Only Conversion

Loft storage conversion can be completed in day or two depending on the size of your loft.

Cost wise you should be looking at £1000 – £1800

For this you’ll get a loft hatch with ladder, lighting and flooring.

Traditional Standard Loft Conversion

A standard loft conversion to be used for creating more living space in your home will cost in the region of £20,000 – £35,000.

Different requirements for each project will cause the costs to change.

  • Number of skylights
  • En suites require plumbing
  • Existing condition of roof structure and tiles
  • Dormer windows will raise the cost considerably.

Loft Conversion Size Matters

The size of your loft will also be an important factor to the cost of the conversion.

Small £16,000 – £20,000
Medium £19,000 – £30,000
Large £30,000 – £50,000

The figures presented are basic estimates, as described above there are a whole range of circumstance from area of the UK to number of skylights which will effect your loft conversion cost.

If you’re serious about planning a loft conversion, have some plans draws and obtain a few estimates to get an exact figure.

If you’ve had a conversion priced we’d love to hear about it.

Do you have a site related to DIY Home Improvement? Contact us to be a part of DIY Loft Conversion.