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Loft Conversion: Roof Types and Their Implications

There are plenty of solutions to the problem of insufficient living space, but home extension is perhaps the best and most cost-effective way to address the problem. There are of course, many different methods to achieve this, but none is probably as popular as a loft conversion. There’s just a lot of reason why this home extension method is preferred by many homeowners.

Why Go For Loft Conversion?

Turning the attic into a decent, liveable loft room is what loft conversion does. This means to extend a house’s living space basically breathes life into the attic, that space between the roof and the ceiling that often falls to long periods of neglect and misuse.

In many occasions, loft conversion often comes at a great financial cost; sometimes, it may even be deemed as impractical. However, this home extension method is still very popular, and for many understandable reasons. For one, it does not consume a lot of space like first floor extension. As a result, no new construction is needed, thus saving a lot of money on building materials like wood and concrete. Also, a loft conversion is very flexible, and applicable anywhere with a sloped roof.

Types of Roofing Structure

We’ve previously mentioned that loft conversion is not always feasible. The possibility of conversion is decided by various factors, among which is the roof structure. There are three loft conversion roof types, each design dictating what type of loft can be possibly built into it:

1. Truss roof
The truss is a relatively modern type of roof support. Its use became common during the 1960s, and is now a common feature of houses built after the aforementioned decade. It is easily characterized by its W-shaped supports that connect the floor to the ceiling. This unfortunately cannot be converted into a loft, as the required modifications will significantly weaken it. As such, truss roofs are often replaced with better alternatives if conversion ought to push through.

2. Hipped roof
A roof is called hipped if it has sloped sides all throughout. It is also characterized by its rafter supports, and is often called the rafter-type roof. Such internal framework makes this very suitable for conversion as its obstructive beams can be cleared out without consequence. Given the present building regulations regarding head room however, converted hipped roofs do not cover much of the attic’s floor space.

3. Gable roof
The gable refers to one of those loft conversion roof types supported by two or more walls called gables. Converting this creates a loft that maximizes the ceiling space, unlike hipped roof conversions. The gable roof comes in three forms: the “gable” whose pitch or roof height is uniformed; the “gambrel” which has one section of the roof higher than the rest; and the “salt box” which is known for its randomly varying pitch.

Knowing which of these loft conversion roof types sits atop your house is important before planning any conversion project. It not only helps you determine the practicality of loft conversion, but also allows you to learn what sort of conversion is possible and what is not.

Alternative House Extensions to Loft Conversion

If you are a frequent visitor to this site, then you’re probably more than aware of loft conversion. If not, then it is a way to extend your home by renovating your attic such that it becomes a far more useful part in the house than it originally is. This is a very convenient way to extend your home, despite the fact that it does not always come cheap.

However, loft conversion simply is not for everyone. There are many cases where a house is not compatible for such home extension process. However, the good news is that there are alternatives to loft conversion. We’ll explore the most common of these home extensions in this article.

Single Storey Extension

A single storey extension is perhaps the most common of all house extensions. It most likely is the first thing that will come to your mind whenever someone mentions “home extension”. In this extension method, a connected edifice is built at the side or rear of the house. Single storey extensions are commonly built with pitched roof, although flat-roofed extensions used to be common.

Multiple Storey Extension

Multiple storey extensions are basically similar to single storey extensions except that you are extending your house from two or more floors. When juxtaposed from the front or side of the house, they are often required to be of similar style and make as the original structure. That’s not all. In fact, this type of extension has more legal strings attached than the last.

When opting for a multiple storey extension, you also have to consider the established town plan and whether or not you will be affecting your neighbors in any way. As a heads up, do not build your extension where you will be denying the house next door access to sunlight or other such amenities.

Basement Conversion

The basement, like the attic, is another good place to renovate in order to expand your living space. However, it takes a lot less effort to convert than the loft, as just about every requirement of an extension is satisfied by the basement’s structure. This is assuming that your house already has an existing basement that’s been idly used for storage or not at all. If a basement is not present or is too low to be habitable, you can still dig one out in accordance to laws and regulations.

However, both cases have the problem of keeping groundwater from seeping into the basement. Techniques to achieve this mainly include adding a layer of waterproofing materials to the wall.


Conservatories or greenhouses – rooms with glass roof and walls used to grow plants – are popular in the 90s and way back to the Victorian era. The advantage of building a conservatory is that it does not require any involvement from the planning office, if the structure fits the legal definition of a conservatory.

The downside however, is that it cannot keep up with the times. Conservatories can no longer provide a comfortable temperature, and tends to produce unnecessary CO2 when we are all trying to lessen the existing amount.

Each of these house extensions is suitable for different situations. Never neglect different factors like your area, temperature and budget when deciding how to expand your home.

From Empty Attic to Loft Kitchen

In major cities, residential zones can get rather crowded and much space does not remain unused for long. There always will be a new set of foundations laid on yesterday’s blank lot, but there never will be enough room to expand any edifice. This can be quite a pain for many long-time urban residents who wanted to expand their own residential niche in the city, which often ends up cramped after years of stay.

Loft Conversion can Give You More Living Space

Luckily, there’s one good solution that can allow you to add to your living space without necessarily requiring an increase to the original area your home occupies. This is called loft conversion, and, as the name implies, it basically is renovating your loft or attic such that it becomes a more useful and functional space.

Most people convert their attic rooms into bedrooms. This configuration is pretty common, especially to those who aim to make profit from their converted lofts. Meanwhile, some devote their renovated lofts to recreation. Attic bars, music studios and gyms are not uncommon installations.

Why Not Turn Your Attic into a Kitchen?

If you are into culinary arts or are operating a catering business, it probably will be a very good idea to move your kitchen to the attic. Well if you don’t have any other need for that dark space above your top floor ceiling, why not? You’ll definitely find cooking at an altitude with a good view from your window comfortable.
Here are some tips if you would like to heed our suggestion.

  1. Build an efficient loft access.
  2. When cooking, it would be inevitable that you will be transporting food or liquids from your attic to the lower floors. You should therefore put this into consideration when installing stairs going to your loft. Avoid using vertical access, but instead build stairs with wide treads and sturdy handrails to minimize the risk of accidents during descent.

  3. Create an orderly attic kitchen atmosphere.
  4. The usable attic space may be larger than your first floor kitchen, but – given all the regulations you have to follow for your own good – it can end up rather narrow. With this in mind, carefully consider how you should arrange your furnishings. Make sure the set up keeps a straight, navigable path going from one end of your kitchen to another. If possible, acquire some bespoke furniture that can adapt to the room’s sloped walls to maximize your loft kitchen’s space.

  5. Flood the loft room with natural light.
  6. Lighting is important in just about every room. That said, the loft kitchen will need to be well lit in order to minimize accidents like cuts and slipping on overlooked spills. An efficient way to light up your culinary room is to fill it with natural light from well-placed windows. Sure, that’s only useful at daylight, but think how much money you’ll save when you only have to turn on the kitchen’s electric for several hours at night.

Building a loft kitchen may not be new, but it certainly is an interesting idea. So if you want to make use of that attic space but are running out of options, why not turn your loft into your dream kitchen?

Loft Conversion Guide: The 6 Basic Steps

Your home can always look better. What else can make it stand out more than a well-done overhaul? For this, you can try just about anything. You can opt for something as simple as a change in the paint and wallpaper, or take measures as drastic as extending your house’s floor space. One of the ways to get this done is through loft conversion, a highly popular way to increase one’s living space.

Adding More Space through Loft Conversion

The attic can be given a new breath of life through a loft conversion. This home extension method is basically the transformation of the attic to a more stable, usable loft. It is known for its versatility, cost-effectiveness, relative simplicity when compared to other extension methods.

General Steps to Convert the Loft

How is this done then? Here’s a quick loft conversion guide:

1. Plan the loft.
Virtually every single thing that works begins with the planning process. Here you draw up you assess your loft, determine whether conversion is possible or not, know your requirements, draw up the plans, and plan the budget, in that particular order. The design should be within the provisions of the current building code so as to need no permits and thus save a lot of time.

2. Review your design.
Check if your design is just right for your loft and fulfills your requirements in an efficient manner, then have it checked by a building control officer. Once you get the officer’s verbal approval, you can now proceed to the next step.

3. Renovate the attic.
The conversion starts by refurbishing the attic. The first thing you ought to do is to clear all obstructions such as stray wires and junk. Next, reinforce the ceiling so as to make a stable loft floor, installing vertical supports against the roof at least 20cm from the eaves. Spaces in between the beams should be filled with insulation before adding the floor boards. Once the floor is done, you may now install the windows then insulate the walls. The stairs meanwhile may be installed at any time during the renovation process.

4. Build the basic layout.
By now, you should start adding in the partitions and other structural elements to accommodate your plan’s layout. There aren’t real rules for this, other than making sure that everything you build is structurally sound.

5. Install the utilities.
If you are an accredited plumber, electrician or both, then this can also be a DIY process. Otherwise, you should hire qualified professionals who can do the tasks according to the building regulations.

6. Furnish the loft to your liking.
At this point, the loft is now as useable as any other part of the house. Clean up the mess, add the touch ups, then set up the furniture and whatnot.

The end result may be satisfactory or not, but that all depends on how things are handled. This short loft conversion guide should be able help you out in this undertaking, especially if you decide to do the work on your own.

Loft Conversion: Stairs as Loft Access

Loft conversion has seen a growth in popularity this past half century. Once a practice reserved only for the artistic and resourceful, it has become a home improvement fad and a popular home extension method. Renovating the attic simply is a lot cheaper in non-monetary resources than many other ways to extend a house. Also, a loft certainly is a more pleasant place to live in compared to lower storey rooms and a lot more so than the basement, the conversion of which costs roughly the same as that of the attic.

Loft Conversion

Loft conversion is basically what its name says it is. It’s the total conversion of that dark, dusty space directly below the roof and above the original top floor’s ceiling into a stable and functional living space. This home extension method gives purpose to what is basically the largest unused space in the house. Once completed, the loft can account to more or less 30% of the total living space of a typical one- or two-storey detached housing unit.

Types of Loft Stairs

For most homes, the converted loft serves as the top floor. Naturally, it can be reached via an elevated access installed during loft conversion. Stairs is perhaps the most common, especially in lofts built into residential buildings. There are actually several types of stairs, and below are the designs most often used:

1. Straight run stairs
This perhaps has the simplest design, being stairs following a straight, elevated path. Straight run stairs have the advantage of being easy to use, but is known to take a lot of space on the floor below the loft.

2. Alternating tread stairs
It is designed in such a way that the steps alternate between each foot, this type of stairs is a good alternative to straight run stairs. Angled steeply, it costs less space and construction can be uncomplicated. This is not recommended to homes with handicapped or elderly residents however, as using this type of stairs can be very difficult for them.

3. Spiral staircase
When prioritizing space during loft construction, stairs of this design often comes to mind. Constructing a spiralling stairway is tricky and might require some outside help, but it saves a lot of floor space and can be made to look aesthetically appealing.

4. Pull-down loft stairs
Pull-down stairs are basically retractable ladders that can be stored at the ceiling. This is one of the cheapest options, and is best used on lofts that aren’t accessed often, like those used for storage.

5. Disappearing stairs
This type of stairs is so-called as it can be concealed in the ceiling when not in use. It may be an accordion or telescoping stairs. The former features hinged treads and can be tucked in a small area in the ceiling, while the latter unfolds one tread at a time. Both often includes safety railings for obvious reasons.

If you are planning to convert your loft, your choice of stairs is important. Always make sure that it is not only practical, but also safe and fits your mundane preferences.

Loft Conversion Planning Permission: When Is It Not Applicable?

Of all the many home extension methods, a loft conversion is perhaps the one preferred the most by many homeowners. Unlike other means to enlarge the house such as the rather common first floor extension, this does not require as much work, time, and lot space. This is all thanks to the presence of the roof and the ceiling, the combination of which forms the basic framework for the loft. Much of what needs to be done is some architectural improvement as well as some renovation.

A Brief Explanation of Loft Conversion

A loft conversion is a home extension method wherein the attic, a normally unused space is transformed into a functional part of the house. For those who do not know, the attic is usually the largest unutilized space in any residential structure with a roof. Converting this not only adds a significant amount of floor space in the edifice, but also increases the house’s value by more or less 20%.

A loft can be virtually anything the owner of the house would want it to be. Some turn the converted attic space into a spacious storage, while some furnish it in a way that it becomes a normal room in the house.
One however is not truly free when planning for a loft conversion. The planner still needs to follow certain regulations in order to ensure a safe, practical, and unintrusive loft. As such, one needs to secure a loft conversion planning permission and a few other papers back then in order to make sure that the legalities behind the loft conversion are strictly followed.

When Aren’t Permits Necessary

As of 2008 in the United Kingdom, laws regarding loft conversion have been relaxed in an effort to help citizens amidst a recent real estate market slump. As a result, folks looking into renovating their attics no longer have to get loft conversion planning permissions from the local building control office in order to proceed to the conversion process. Thus, those who wish to convert their lofts can do so right away, but only if they keep their designs within the given legal provisions.

Now what are these provisions? The first set of these provisions concern the size of the loft. That is, it should not exceed the dimensions covered by the roof space and must have no less than 50 cubic meters of roof allowance for detached or semi-detached homes and 40 cubic meters for terraced houses. Also, roof extensions like dormers should not be less than 20 centimeters away from the eaves of the roof except for hip-and-gable types. In any case, such extensions aren’t allowed in designated areas.

The next set of rules concern the loft’s design. Windows in particular, should be 17 centimeters above the attic floor, and side-facing ones are required to have obscure glazing. Also, verandas, balconies, and any other open-space features are explicitly prohibited.

You can deviate from all these rules however, so long as you are willing to spend to get the loft conversion planning permission and other necessary papers. No need to worry about enduring a stream of red tape however because, as previously mentioned, the laws have been relaxed enough to allow for smoother legal transactions regarding loft conversion projects.

Loft Conversion Design Ideas to Maximize Attic Efficiency

You need more space for your home. This may be because the existing living space has been cramped by the clutter you can’t just get rid of. This may also be due to an increase in your family’s head count, probably because you’ve been taking in relatives or are into having pets or kids. Another reason is probably that you simply want to see a lot more space.

Typical home extension where you stretch the perimeters of your house’s first floor may cost a lot of money, time, and effort, and as such, you’re probably thinking of not opting for it. If you have a high enough attic space however, you have a great alternative. You can convert that room above your top floor ceiling into a space fit for a person to live in.

What is Loft Conversion?

Of all the methods to increase one’s living space, a loft conversion is probably the most efficient, though this is limited to certain home designs. The efficiency of its construction lies on the fact that the attic already has a structure to support the loft room. All you need to do is to renovate this space in order to fit modern standards. This however can be costly, but then building a loft saves you a lot of time and effort.

Design Ideas to Maximize Your Loft’s Efficiency

You might be stuck in the design stage and are looking for some loft conversion design ideas. Well then, here are a few tips for you:

1. Install an efficient window.
A window is a legal requirement for every loft. This should provide not only natural ventilation and lighting, but also an avenue of escape in cases of emergency, specifically during a fire. Thus, set your loft window in an ideal location, particularly one that you can access from anywhere in the room.

2. Be clever with your furniture.
Let’s face it, lofts aren’t spacious. Thus, you should think well how you should arrange all those furnishings without sacrificing what little floor space you’ve got. Consider small, modular furniture, as those customized to fit well into the loft’s sloped walls. You should also opt for multi-functional ones, particularly those that provide storage aside from their primary functions.

3. Add adequate lighting.
Install lights that can instill the mood that you want your loft to reflect. Make it sparse and dim if you want it romantic, or you can make it as bright as you prefer it to be. However, make sure that you don’t have to flip the light switches at daytime in order to save electricity. Consider installing VELUX skylights and enjoy natural lighting at its finest.

4. Create an illusion of space.
Making your loft appear spacious is not as tricky as it sounds. Simply minimize the clutter and decoration. An orderly layout can also help, and so does a light paint scheme.

Optimizing your loft is what these loft conversion design ideas aim for. Following these can help you create a loft room that’s not only aesthetically pleasing but also possesses a highly efficient design.

Should Your Home Undergo Loft Attic Conversion?

City life, for all its conveniences, certainly has a lot of downsides. For one, urban life can be so rushed and stressful. Also, there always is pollution, and those who live in industrial centers can especially feel this sad fact of urban life. Finally, living space outside of what you already have is very hard to come by.

Your home may start getting cramped for a variety of reasons, and you have little to no room to expand your house. Loft attic conversion is an ingenious way to address this rather common problem, without drastically breaking an entire wall section to extend your home.

An Introduction to Loft Conversion

The attic, as we all know, is perhaps the largest unused space in the house. Unfortunately, it is often used unglamorously as storage, if not left as it was during the home’s construction. Loft attic conversion aims to turn the attic space into a more functional and liveable room, complete with whatever useful feature you wish to install.

It is unfortunate though, that loft conversion may not be for every home. People often jump into conversion projects thinking that it’s just a matter of installing windows and floorboards. Well it’s not, as you have to see whether it is safe to convert your attic or not. There are a few things to take into consideration before proceeding into loft attic conversion.

Possible Loft Living Space

Usually, building authorities require headroom of at least 2.3 m. The width and length of the room usually depends on your preferences, but should be as far away from the eaves as legally possible and should not encroach into the support structure. If your room is found by the building control officer to be wanting, then you might want to ask for his advice or consider other ways to expand your home.

Type of Roof Support in the Attic

Roof support framework usually comes in two common variants, namely rafters and trusses. The simpler rafter framework runs along the roof’s underside and is supported by boards at the sides or near the top. Thus it already is spacious and may be converted given that legal conditions are satisfied. Meanwhile, trusses are uniform webs of boards that stand between the top of the ceiling and the roof. This support structure weaken when cut through, and is therefore not suitable for conversion.

Structural Strength of the Ceiling

The attic room is meant to endure the stress of daily use as much as your first floor room should. The ceiling as is, naturally can’t, and must be reinforced. It’s best to consult experts on this, if you want to know how much you should spend and how will you reinforce your ceiling joists in order to be up to standard.

You should not just do these assessments on your own, or risk making incorrect measurements. It won’t hurt to hire professionals to help you in this, especially since the end result will be a safe and efficient loft room.

Maximizing Space in Small Lofts

It is a fact known to many who are into loft conversion that you will never be able to occupy the entire floor space of any given attic. Building laws and regulations enforced by your local building control officer will prevent you from doing so. You just can’t secretly bypass these rules either. Do so and you’ll be risking safety and your house’s structural integrity.

While many certainly end up with a large fraction of their attic’s floor space, some get no more than a small space that can contain no more than a bed and a few furniture. Occupants of these small lofts, especially well-off ones, tend to get the room cluttered quickly as they give up a lot of space just for convenience’s sake. For most part, the problem here lies not on the size of the converted loft, but on how the place is organized.

Now you don’t have to be a professional or get a degree in interior design in order to figure this one out. You’ll just need plenty of planning and common sense. Here are a few tips to help you out.

  • Use Versatile and Moveable Furniture for a Small Loft
  • Furniture is one of the main reasons why small lofts get cramped so easily. They tend to be large, bulky, and occupy a good chunk of floor space. That said, you should start using furniture that is versatile, or can perform a variety of functions. Do away with furnishings like plain tables and start using ones with drawers or a built in cupboard.

    Furniture that can be tucked away whenever they aren’t in use are also highly recommended. Folding chairs or stackable plastic chairs can save you a lot of space that those heavy wooden chairs cannot.

  • Use Bedding that can Save Loft Space
  • Beds can truly take a lot of floor area in small lofts. Of course we won’t be suggesting that you go with bedrolls or sleeping bags this time. Rather, we say that you invest a fold down bed, one that is hinged at one end such that it can be stored in a wall or the large closet next to it.

    Otherwise, you can also opt for a trundle bed. This one is a pair of beds, with one usually lower than the other and can be put underneath the other, like a large drawer.

  • Paint the Loft Room with Light Colors
  • White or any other light paint can make small lofts feel a lot larger. The entirety of the room should be covered in light color. However, you should paint one small wall section with a different light color such that you won’t feel so confined.

  • Keep Things in Your Loft Neatly Stored
  • Last but not the least, don’t just keep your stuff lying around the place. Store them efficiently and in an organized manner, making use of containers that fit well in your shelves. Don’t just limit your storage on cupboards and shelves, but also make use of vacant and accessible niches.

One thing you have to remember when putting small lofts in order is that organization is the key. Without it, you’ll definitely end up with a messy, uncomfortable living space.

Loft Conversion Costs: Factors and Prices to Consider

Living space in one’s home decreases as time goes by. The whole place ends up cramped as the property is accumulated or as new members get added to the household residents. This can be a problem to some, for which there are varying solutions. One of these is moving to a new house and another is to extend the first floor. Many however, choose to have their attics undergo loft conversion.

Converting the Loft

Converting the loft is a very practical and popular way of extending one’s living space. This requires relatively less time and effort when compared to first floor expansion and relocating to a new home. Here you don’t need to build anything from the ground up as you already have the roof and ceiling serving as your loft’s structure. It just needs some serious renovation, and you’ll be good as done.

Factors to Consider when Determining Conversion Costs

The cost is always the first thing to be figured out by anyone planning to have their attic converted into habitable lofts. The price of conversion projects usually start from around £12,000 to £60,000. Of course, the price for the rest of the project can vary. When calculating the actual cost, these are the factors you have to consider:

1. The final product.
The end result of the conversion project determines how much the loft conversion costs. The rule is that the more complex the loft is, the higher it will cost. For instance, complete residential rooms with bathrooms and all can start at £12,000, while a simple attic storage costs a measly £1000 all in all.

2. The loft’s size.
As with every conversion project, the size dictates how much is going to be spent on various essentials, specifically materials used to reinforce the structure and finish up the interiors. There is no price estimate for these, as it all depends on price of the materials, which in turn depends on the manufacturer and the area.

3. Loft access.
Stairs are a primary means of access to lofts. The cost, like that of the entire loft itself varies depending on the stairs’ complexity. Traditional ones cost around £500, while spiralling staircases come at more or less £2000.

4. Windows.
There are two common options for loft windows. The first is the dormer, the entire construction of which costs at around £2000. The second is the cheaper skylights which double as daytime illumination, the price of which comes at around £600.

5. Professional help.
Certain tasks like plumbing and installation of electricity are required by law to be done by their respective specialists. Meanwhile, the design process and overall construction may be beyond your means. As such, you should hire the necessary professionals and possibly, blue collar workers. Their costs vary, but we recommend employing the services of conversion firms rather than hiring individual contractors which are usually cheaper.

Loft conversion costs are never cheap. The expense however is only for the short term and the long term benefits of owning a loft totally outweighs everything you’ve spent constructing it.