Converting your loft is a great way to completely transform wasted space into a useful, extra room that you can use everyday to enhance both your home and the value of your property.
Why should I consider a loft conversion?
Are you thinking of moving because you need another bedroom? Maybe you just want more space, a playroom for the kids, a studio for your hobby or an office tucked away where you can get some work done? Space is definitely a commodity and a loft conversion can change the dusty, wasted space above your ceiling and make it into an inhabitable, everyday room. Rather than considering a new house to fulfill your space needs why not turn your current house into your dream home?
Is my loft suitable for a loft conversion?
The first step is to go up into your loft and take a look around; is there a suitable amount of floor space? How much headroom is available? There should be 7 to 8 feet of headroom available, think realistically about how the space could be used. Your roof type could give you an indication of cost – if you have a truss rafter roof, characterised by a shallow pitch and supporting timbers in a W shape, then a loft conversion could be pricier as structural alterations might need to be made. Whereas in houses with a rafter or purlin style roof, with a steep pitch and supporting timbers in an M shape, loft conversions are relatively straight-forward. You also need to consider where the staircase for your loft conversion will go, although this will take space away from the floor below, easy access is not only important for convenience but also for safety. The next step is to get the advice of a builder or architect who can further advise you about the costs involved. Many building and loft conversion companies offer a free quote for your loft conversion so you can find the potential locked away in your attic without it costing you a penny.
Do I need planning permission for my loft conversion?
Most simple loft conversions won’t need planning permission but if you intend to extend headroom by altering the roof you will need to check that it meets certain requirements; for example you must not increase the loft volume by 50 cubic metres in a detached house and no extension can be higher than the highest point of the existing roof. There are also Building regulations to consider, which your builder or architect can help you with; this is basically proving to the Building Control Office that the space you are converting is safe and livable.
How much will a loft conversion cost?
Of course the structural changes that need to take place mean that loft-conversions don’t come cheap. Prices vary depending on the type of house and the loft space; a typical loft conversion for a family home begins at around £17,500. Although this seems like a lot, a good loft conversion is undoubtedly an investment and will add value to your property. Furthermore when you need more space, this is certainly a cheaper option than moving altogether. Many loft-conversion companies will give a quote for free on the cost of your conversion so that you can do a cost-benefit check before any of the work begins. Remember also to consider plumbing costs, the new rooms will need heating and you need to be sure that your present heating system will be able to cope with this demand. Similarly another hidden cost could be your insurance premium as it may go up after converting your loft.
DIY Loft conversions versus professional:
It can be tempting to try and take a DIY approach to your loft conversion in order to save money but there are several things to consider. Firstly converting your loft will usually require at least some structural changes to your house – the new floor will need to be load bearing and new joists will need to be put it. It is best to hire a professional for these jobs as a mistake could be extremely costly. Secondly jobs such as light and plug fittings will require hiring an electrician in order to meet safety standards: never attempt to do DIY electrics! It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing choice; some builders offer a part-build service, where they will install the main structure and then allow you to complete the rest of the job, if you have the time and are a keen DIY enthusiast, considering this option will make your loft conversion a cheaper and more rewarding experience.
A loft conversion can transform your home and allow you to enjoy more space, this could be space you desperately need – a new bathroom or bedroom, or it could be room to improve the quality of your lifestyle – a studio or craft room. Either way loft conversions don’t have to be expensive and can be a long term investment in not only the enjoyment of your home but the value of your property.