Loft conversions enable property owners to move up rather than out, making better use of available space in their home to create additional living space. Loft conversions can add significant value to your home and can be a cost-effective alternative to moving home if you’re in need of more space. But on the surface, it can seem like there are a lot of complex steps to navigate when renovating your home. The following steps will ensure you’ve covered all bases before embarking on your loft conversion.

What to Consider Before Embarking on a Loft Conversion Project

Check permissions

Before you can start the process of converting your loft, you need to check that it meets the criteria for a conversion. Firstly, you need to check that you have planning permission to build – in most cases, you’ll have permitted development which means you can convert your loft without needing to apply for permission.

However, if you have a listed property, or you live in a conservation area, then this may not be the case. Similarly, if you live in a semi-detached or detached property, or you live in a freehold property, then this is something to check with a specialist first. A valuation can help assess whether a loft conversion is possible before you start making plans, but it’s also worth checking whether other properties on your street have conversions.

What to Consider Before Embarking on a Loft Conversion Project

Attached properties need to seek permission before converting their loft space. Image:

Measure the height of the loft

In order for your loft to meet building regulations, it needs to adhere to a minimum height of 2.2m to provide sufficient head height. You can measure this easily by running a tape measure from the floor to the ceiling at the tallest part of the room – if it measures at least 2.2m, the loft is tall enough to convert. It’s also important to check the type of loft you have. The roof will either have been made with trusses or rafters. Rafters run along the edge of the roof, leading most of

the triangular space below open, while trusses support the cross section of the loft. The latter can be more difficult to convert but it’s not impossible.

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Determine the type of conversion you need

There are four types of loft conversion to choose from – roof light, dormer, hip-to-gable and mansard – so, before you start planning, you need to decide which type of conversion you want.

The choice will be influenced by the age of the house and the budget you have available, but also the type of property you’re converting.

A roof dormer is the cheapest option and is ideal if you want minimal disruption, as you don’t need to make changes to the shape of the roof. With a roof light conversion, your builder will simply add in skylight windows and lay the floor, as well as adding a staircase for access to the room.

Dormer conversions include a conversion which extends from the slope of the roof and are one of the most popular choices. Most properties with a sloping roof can choose a dormer conversion, and they are more cost-effective than a hip-to-gable or mansard conversion.

A hip-to-gable conversion extends the sloping hip roof to the side of the property to create a gable, which provides more internal space. Detached or semi-detached properties benefit the most from this type of loft conversion.

Finally, a mansard extension runs the full length of the house and alters the angle of the slope to make it almost vertical. Mansard conversions are the most expensive type of conversion as it is the most time-consuming and requires more work, but they also provide the most space.

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Choose who will carry out the work

There are few options for who will complete the conversion. You may choose an architect or building surveyor to assess the property and help you find a builder, while also managing the project for you. You can also appoint a specialist company who have experience with loft conversions, who can handle everything from drawings and approvals to the building work.

Finally, you can search for an experienced builder yourself. It can be helpful to ask friends or family members who have undergone loft conversion projects who they worked with for recommendations, as well as getting several quotes.

Final thoughts

Loft extensions provide many benefits, allowing you to utilise unused space and creating additional rooms in your home. A loft conversion is a big renovation project but it can add significant value to your property and can provide you with many more years in your home without needing to move onto a bigger property.

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