Planning your loft conversion

Date Posted: 8th March 2018

A loft conversion can be the single most effective way of gaining valuable additional space in your home without breaking the bank or having to consider the stress of moving. Not having to expand the footprint of your house means you do not lose any valuable outdoor space.

It is worth noting that a loft conversion does not work in all types of properties and you should be mindful of the fact that although you will be gaining the desired living space, you will potentially be losing ample storage space.

When considering investing time and money into such a project, there are a number of things to consider:

  1. What would you want the room for? Should it be another bedroom, music room spare room?

Will it need plumbing, electrics, heating?

           It is best to try and make the space as multi-functional as possible as the requirements for the space may change over the years. Do you have enough space and budget to add plumbing and electrics to add an en-suite to the room? Do you have access to get suitable furniture up there?

  1. Do you have the space to include stair access to the loft and if so where would the stairs go?

This can often be the first pitfall as regulations require a minimum of two-metre head clearance under and above the stairs. Not all landings have enough space for a second staircase either and this can often mean having to reduce the size of an existing bedroom to gain the required space.

  1. Do you have enough head height, and will you require planning permission?

The internal height of the existing loft is crucial in determining whether it is possible to convert the loft. A minimum of 2.2m, more ideally 2.5m in the usable part of the roof is essential to suitably convert.

Depending on the type of building you have and the requirements of your conversion, you may require planning permission, which can be a long and arduous process and add extra costs.

  1. Do you require a dormer window or a roof light?

Windows are essential in any loft conversion; however, you should always be mindful of your surroundings when considering adding windows and light. Where will the sun be at what time of day, how will this impact the light that will come into my room?

The size and types of windows can add a lot of cost to your project, but also a lot more value, versatility and stunning views.

  1. What is your budget, and can you make this conversion work to budget?

Ensuring you plan your project wisely, have an idea of the types of materials you would like to use as well as the furnishings is all part of budgeting. The building work can be very costly, and you need to consider all aspects including insulation, plumbing and electrics, waste disposal, and delays due to bad weather, all of which can add huge amounts to your budget. There is no point in planning an extravagant conversion if your budget does not allow for it. Work out what you can afford and then find the best possible solution within your price range.

  1. What is the likely cost of conversion vs the value of the house, will you be adding profit or losing money?

In most cases loft conversions increase the value of your property by at least 20%, however if you don’t plan properly you may lose more money than you thought or even have to abandon the conversion half way through, which can lead to devastating consequences.

  1. Are you prepared for the disruption it will cause to your family and potentially your neighbours?

Loft conversions can take on average anywhere from around one to three months to complete depending on the size and complexity. Although it is often considered a lot less stressful than having an extension built, be prepared for the house to be scaffolded and once the windows are cut and the roof is water tight, all trades will need to enter through the house, which can be quite intrusive.

Once you have considered all of the above, search the internet, look at brochures, speak to friends and get as many design ideas and recommendations about how to use your space as possible. You will come across ideas that had never occurred to you and that are much better than any use of space you had ever considered, then let CS Carpentry & Construction and their team make your dream a reality.

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