One of the wisest ways to make your home bigger, brighter and more valuable is through a successful loft conversion. We made a list with some of the key topics to consider based on our 15 years’ experience in this type of building project. Here they are:
1. Do you plan to increase your living space and add an extra bedroom, an office, a kids’ cinema or leisure space or maybe just built-in storage space? The destination of the extra space and the final layout will influence the structural building decisions. It all starts with a dream and a decision: what will it be?
2. Safety first. When planning a loft conversion, you must understand what building regulations must be met. Many loft conversions don’t require permission, but an initial check with the local authority can provide all the answers and conditions on the desired conversion. If your house is in a conservation area, permission is a must. In either case, the contracted builder must think about the strength of the floor, the minimum space at the highest point (6-7 ft), fire escapes, electrics, plumbing and thermal efficiency.
3. You need to regard the loft conversion as an investment. Not only in extra space and better living, but also in the value of your house. The average cost for the conversion is around £1,300 per square metre, but the value of the house can increase with up to 25%, which is a significant gain considering the London property prices. From a structural perspective, your builder might find it necessary to move the water tank or a chimney – all this will influence the cost.
4. There are different types of loft conversions: the dormer type, the mansard type, the caravan type, the rooflight conversion. Deciding on the right one starts from the existing configuration. For some conversion types most of the building works can be executed from outside, so you can live at home during the works. Noise and dust can be a bit of a hassle, so depending on the complexity of the conversion you might consider moving from home for a few days or weeks.
5. Don’t forget to consider the stairs and the glazing. The house configuration will dictate the type of stairs so that every inch of space is well put to work. The goal is to lose as less space possible and to obtain a unitary design with the rest of the house.
The loft windows can be the usual Velux rooflights, the dormer type, new windows in the walls or a more design-wise option: a glass panel that brings the maximum sky possible into your house with lots of natural light and a feel-good mood. Always pay attention to the movement of the sun when choosing the windows and to the soundproofing levels you need. There is also a limitation of areas of windows and doors a space can have.
Often enough, the loft becomes the lightest and the most serene part of the house. So raise your roof with grace, respect towards the environment, the neighbours and towards your budget and time.