Many of us are aware that there is this big space above our heads that don’t get well used.  Sure, we might store the kid’s toys and some old records up there, maybe use it as a seasonal wardrobe to keep summer stuff in winter and vice versa.  But as it stands, most lofts aren’t the most useful space – hence loft conversions being a popular way to extend your home.  Here are some facts about loft conversions to help you consider if it is the project for you.

Types of conversions

There are six main types of loft conversion depending on the work needed and the type of loft space that you have:

  • Rooflight – least amount of work and most cost-effective where the changes made are adding windows in the sloping roof, adding installation and plastering and strengthening the floor
  • Dormer – this is the most popular type and adds a good amount of space with a sensible headroom and involved the roof structure being altered at the sides or rear of the house to add a flat-roofed box known as a dormer
  • Hip to gable – found at the side of end terrace or semi-detached houses where the sloping side is removed and an end wall built to create a new vertical gable.
  • Gable to gable – creates a new box extension between each gable
  • Mansard – creates extra volume by replacing one or both roof slopes with steep sloping sides and a flat roof
  • Modular – where existing space is unsuitable and a new area is created off-site as a module. The existing roof is then removed and module put in place

Most lofts can be converted

If you have a head height of at least 2.3 metres then there’s a good chance that your loft will be suitable for conversion although factors such as roof pitch and features such as water tanks and chimneys can play a part.  Even if you have a smaller roof space, there are still options as shown above but some of the bigger projects will need planning permission.

Some conversions come under permitted development

Most of the time, loft conversions are classed as permitted development so no planning permission is needed.  There are some criteria that apply including that the space is no more than 40 cubic metres for terraced houses or 50 cubic metres for semis and detached houses.  You also can’t extend beyond the plane of the existing roof slope at the front and no part can be higher than the highest part of the existing roof.  You can work with an architect or builder to see if your plans will need permissions or qualify under PD.

The home could be more energy efficient

By having work done on the loft, you could actually make your home more energy efficient and this could save money on your gas and electricity bills.  A conversion is a great time to look at the insulation of the property and make sure it is to standard – there are two main approaches to this called cold and warm roof insulation and again, a builder can help you decide which is best.