A helpful guide to building your loft conversion

Are you considering converting your loft or attic to make the most of the space in your home? Maybe you are thinking about creating a new bathroom, games room or bedroom? If so, you’ll soon find how much value it can add to your home, while also considerably enhancing your lifestyle.

Planning a conversion isn’t easy and there is a lot to research and cover before you give it the green light. Out latest blog tells you all the basic information you need to know, as well as suggesting some helpful design ideas to help get your creative juices flowing.

Types of loft conversion

The first thing to be aware of are the options available to you. There are four main styles of loft conversion to choose from:

  • Velux: This maintains the original shape of the loft and works well when there is enough head height available. Velux windows are installed in-line with the roof to introduce light into the space.  
  • Dormers: Dormers will usually be positioned on the rear or side of the roof. This type of conversion adds more height and space for the occupants inside. There are a number of different dormer styles available, including bonnet, pitched and flat. 
  • Hip-to-gable: Extending the hip of your existing roof into a Gable end forms the basis of this type of conversion. It’s a popular choice for semi-detached properties and it creates a much larger roof space, with new stairs built over the old ones to reduce lost living space.
  • Mansard: Mansard loft conversions have similarities to a flat roof dormer, with the front sloped at around 70 degrees. Those living in built-up areas often choose this style as it maximises available space extremely well. 

Warm, soft lighting works well in smaller spaces to create a cosy, intimate atmosphere. Combined with our Low Tokyo Bed and welcoming tones that help define its position, you can enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with a bedroom loft conversion.

Choosing the right dimensions

Before you can start to plan a loft conversion, you need to consider the amount of head height you currently have available. The minimum amount of usable space allowed is 2.2m metres and anything less than this would not be advisable to alter.

While the Building Regulations do not state a minimum ceiling height for habitable spaces, you do have to factor in the 2m headroom needed for the stairs to be included in the build. 

When you enquire with a specialist loft conversion company, this will be one of the first things they check before putting together a quote of any kind. 

If the headroom is less than 2.2m, there are two other options available, although they can prove to be quite expensive:

Raise the loft roof

This will require planning permission and can cost quite a bit of money to complete. It could mean removing the entire roof and the installation of scaffolding, which might lead to a lengthy reconstruction.

Lower the ceiling below

Another option is to lower the ceiling in the room below, although this also requires a lot of structural reorganisation that will take time and cost quite a bit of money. You will also not be able to use the room in question while construction is being carried out.

Our Low Platform Bed is built especially to make the most of compact spaces. The low to the ground design makes it ideal for loft and attic conversions, enhancing the space around the bed so you can sleep in comfort and style. 

Do loft conversions require planning permission?

Since the relaxation of planning permission a few years ago, it is quite often not needed to convert a loft. Most loft conversions are now considered as Permitted Development, as long as they meet the desired specifications laid out by the Building Regulations. 

Altering the shape or height of the roof will require you to seek planning permission, and that also applies if your property is either listed or situated in a conservation area. 

If you are using a professional loft conversion contractor, they will be able to advise you on this, as well as taking care of any documentation that needs to be submitted before work begins. 

How much does it cost to convert a loft?

There is no fixed price for converting a loft, as much will depend on the size of the space, the scale of the project and what you want to convert it into.

Based on the type of loft conversion you opt for, you could be looking at anything from £15,000 up to £50,000 or more to finish the task. When building a loft you should expect to include the following elements:

  • Velux windows
  • Insulation materials
  • Floor reinforcements
  • Lighting, electrics
  • Heating systems
  • Fire safety measures 
  • A fixed staircase leading to the loft

The cheapest option would be a Velux conversion, which is more straightforward to complete and quotes usually start from around £15,000. 

Dormers are more expensive, ranging from £20,000 to £35,000, while hip-to-gable conversions may cost anywhere between £25,000 and £30,000.

Mansards are more expensive as they require extensive work to complete the project, with costings from £35,000 to £45,000. Finally, if you want to install a ready-made conversion that is built off-site and craned into position, you should expect to pay £50,000 or more. 

Converting a loft is all about making the most of the space you have and when building a bedroom you want to make sure the walls aren’t closing in when you settle down for the night. Our Low Oriental Bed is clean and simple, while also providing the space your new bedroom needs. 

How much value does a loft conversion add to my home?

Converting your loft into a habitable space will add value to your home – how much will depend on what it is transformed into. 

Research carried out by the Nationwide Building Society says a loft conversion that includes a new bedroom could add as much as 22% to the market value of your property. 

Whether you are thinking of selling now or in the near future, a conversion future-proofs the value of your home, even if the property market starts to slow down. Additional living space is always a feature buyers will be interested in, which is why a loft conversion makes so much financial sense in the long run.

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