Making the Most of your Loft
The loft is no longer considered a simple storage solution but an opportunity to expand the living space of your home.
Having a loft conversion opens up to you a variety of possibilities within the home. If you have a large family it’s a great way to add another bedroom or a playroom for children. It can be used as an arts studio or office space for people who work from home. It can also serve as a library or and extra living room. Whatever the function though, there are certain things to consider. Do you have the adequate space? How much will it cost? Do I need planning permission, etc?
Converting your Loft
Most conversions require a minimum height of 2.3 metres across approximately half of the floor. This is to provide enough room to stand up and move around in. A steep pitched roof is the easiest type of roof to convert as this will allow for the necessary headroom.
The type of conversion you have will depend on your roof and fall into four main categories:
Velux/Rooflight – A Velux or rooflight conversion is usually cost effective and does not normally need planning permission. Velux windows are installed at the angle of the roof and will provide a great deal of light. This type of conversion takes its name from a leading manufacturer of roof windows, Velux. The reputation of this manufacturer means that the name of Velux has become associated with this type of conversion.
Dormer – This is where an extension is made to the existing roof in order to provide more floor space and headroom. A dormer extends from the roof slope and is normally built at the rear of the property. Dormers can also come in a variety of styles. An internal dormer has a horizontal ceiling and vertical walls. A flat roof dormer will give more internal space but are not regarded as attractive from outside the property. Gable fronted and hipped roof dormers, in comparison, are more attractive to look at but do not give as much space internally.
Mansard – A Mansard roof consists of two slopes and is named after the French architect Francois Mansart. A Mansard roof gives a great deal of space in your loft.
Hip to Gable – This type of conversion requires a lot of work to the roof. The gable wall is built up to the ridge line and a new section of roof is built to fill in the gap. This will allow for more internal room in your loft.
Points to Consider
The average loft conversion will cost anywhere between £20k and £30k. If you are considering a loft conversion then it’s a good idea to shop around for quotes from a builder or loft conversion specialist.
Planning Permission and Building Regulations
Before having your loft converted you will need to have an inspection carried out by the Building Control Surveyor from your local council to ensure building regulations are adhered to.
Building regulations ensure that any alterations to your loft meets the set standards for the design and construction of buildings. This will generally cover factors such as health and safety, energy efficiency and access to the loft.
In terms of planning permission, you can make small alterations to your home such as loft conversions without obtaining consent. However, if you are making changes to the external appearance of your house, then you may need to obtain planning permission.
Professional Help or DIY?
A loft conversion demands a great deal of labour, time and planning if you are looking to complete such a project alone. Before embarking on any work you will need to check whether or not you need planning permission and that any work you wish to carry out meets building regulations.
You will need to consider elements such as lighting, heating, flooring and access, whether it be by stairs or ladder.
While completing a loft conversion on your own can provide a lot of satisfaction it can also prove costly, especially if mistakes are made. This can also pose risks to yourself as well as others.
If you decide to take on professional help companies such as Truss Loft UK can provide services such as a free estimate.
If you are looking for inspiration for your project then the Truss website is also a good source of ideas and pictures. Visit www.trussloft.co.uk