Apart from extensions, loft conversions are the best way to gain more interior space and functionality. Regardless of whether you require an extra bedroom, a study, or a play space for the kiddies, a loft extension is sure to be worth the effort and investment – if you do your homework beforehand, of course.
Loft conversions might not be possible for everyone. But if you’ve got the space, it’s definitely worth turning it into something practical. After all, the average attic in the UK contains goods worth about £2,000 – so, isn’t a clean-out worth it to see what you can sell and add to your budget?
Need more facts to inspire you? A decent loft conversion ranges between £10,000 – £40,000 (depending on your location, the materials used and the size), but can add between 10 – 20% to the value of a home, without minimising the garden the same way a ground-floor extension would.
But before we start dreaming about loft room ideas, we must first see the facts.
For most loft conversions, Planning Permission doesn’t apply. Adding up to 40m³ in a terraced house, or 50m³ in a detached or semi-detached house counts as permitted development. But then the extension can’t protrude beyond certain points.
So, before you jumpstart on those loft room ideas, first work out what you need and want (i.e. guest bedroom, extra living room). Then look at the floor plan to determine how best to use the room. And keep in mind that most lofts will have angled ceilings, which could restrict your furnishings and décor.
In terms of the actual process, it’s not too complicated. For a loft conversion, you will require a Lawful Development certificate from the local authority and the build will need to be passed by their Building Control Services (or an approved inspector). They will ensure that it meets the basic standards for structure, ventilation, insulation, fire safety, etc. But they are not responsible for checking the general quality of the carpentry and finishes. Before choosing a company, compare various quotes, ask for recommendations from friends and family, plus references from the prospective company’s past clients.
You may also need a party-wall agreement for your loft conversion. The party-wall is the shared wall, usually between a terrace or semi-detached. A Party Wall Agreement is a written contract from all owners that they agree to the work. A notice will be served to all affected parties in writing. The neighbour can ask for a party wall surveyor to be appointed to inspect the plans and to prepare a Party Wall Award (an agreed document outlining how the work should progress) or they can sign a waiver if the work is agreed upon.
The practical work continues with good insulation, which reduces bills and helps the environment, plus it also falls under regulations. There are a few options available, including wool, a much greener option. Often, the building control inspector will specify what is needed, as the roof can be insulated in two ways – either by filling the space between the rafters, or installing insulation over them, which isn’t as practical.
Once all the practical work is completed, it’s time for the fun part: the decorating! Which is where these loft room ideas can inspire you…
If Planning Permission or a tiny budget doesn’t allow you to create dormers in a tall, narrow loft, you have other options. And one of them is to leave the available roof space as one, open-plan room, instead of dividing it with walls, which could make for a cramped feeling.
After installing the stairs, all that’s needed is to insulate, refurbish and purchase your roof lights.
Concerning headroom, no two lofts will necessarily be alike, but you’ll probably have good head height in the area along the ridge line for movement. The rest of the space can be used for storage.
Due to the fact that no external works are required, the costs are relatively small for this type of conversion/
If you’re privy to a large roof space, why not consider adding a bathroom to your simple loft conversion? It is sure to enhance your home’s practicality factor so much more, not to mention boost its value.
Can’t you see yourself relaxing in a free-standing tub inside that light-filled bathroom?
Just be certain to include low-level storage in the eaves for this type of project.
It does sometimes happen that full-width dormers are not possible, yet more headroom is needed. In this case, you can consider creating a dormer around a window. This can allow for a full-height space across the width of the window.
This style will retain most of the roof’s original shape, inside and out. Just keep in mind that this kind of dormer will add the least amount of additional full-height floor space.
How about opening up the ceiling to create a double-height space for a dramatic effect? This brings much more light into the new areas, possible via dormers or simply skylights.
The general reasons for creating a mezzanine are two-fold:
• Either the floor-to-ceiling height in the roof space is not sufficient to create a loft space (without raising the roof),
• or the property is an end-of-terrace or semi-detached house with a three-sided sloping roof.
But before you start dreaming, keep in mind that this type of renovation will depend on your original ceiling height. If you have a very tall room and are simply making use of the already-visible eaves, the job will be structurally simpler. But if you need to remove the ceiling to expose the roof space, this project will be bigger and more costly.
Building Regulations will also need to be complied with, so consult your local authority should you be keen on treating yourself to a new mezzanine.
Not enough space for two bedrooms in your loft room? No problem. If part of the footprint is taken up by the stairs leading to the loft, the remaining area can be used for a little en-suite. If space is tight, sliding doors between the bedroom and bathroom can help conserve extra legroom.
Cost-wise, remember that adding a bathroom on a higher level might result in you needing to upgrade your existing boiler. This is because the water pressure drops when it has to go up to the loft space.
Next up: we see how you can go about Improving a home without planning permission.