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What to Do with all that Loft Space

Loft conversion is one great way to expand your home, especially if you are in need of extra living space or would simply want to increase your house’s value. This home extension method is basically renovating your unused loft space into a more functional room, if the right conditions as prescribed by law are met. It is by far more efficient than other ways to extend your house, as you are literally building into an existing framework, and on top of the existing structure.

Why Do a Loft Conversion?

One great reason why you should opt for loft conversion is its practicality. When converting that attic to extend your living space, you already have a structural framework – the ceiling and the roof – to build into. Also, your attic is the largest unused space in your house, so it should give you a fairly large living space post-renovation, even if you’ll only be allowed to build on a fraction of the entire loft space.

So what can you possibly make out of your loft? Here are a few examples.

  1. Convert Loft into a Bedroom
  2. Lofts commonly end up as bedrooms after conversion. Being such a huge space, attics will usually allow a set up of more than one bed. If the attic is spacious enough, you can even make multiple bedrooms instead of a simple dorm. In any case, you should always make sure the room has at least one toilet, electricity and running water.

  3. Remodel Your Attic Space for Recreation
  4. Transforming the attic into a recreational room is also not uncommon. In this case, the attic may be converted into a home theater, a room for table sports, a music room, or a hall with assorted forms of entertainment. However, these aren’t the only options. Whatever recreational function you give your attic will always depend on your own definition of entertainment or whatever indoor activities that you enjoy.

  5. Convert Your Attic into a Kitchen
  6. For cooking enthusiasts, their attics are great places to move that small kitchen downstairs. Lofts often end up as large spaces dedicated to culinary activities. The room provided by the attic is often large enough to facilitate a comfortable atmosphere that’s conducive to the flow of the chef’s creative juices.

    Loft kitchens are especially recommended to those who run a catering business. The loft space should be wide enough for multiple cooks to work in conjunction, as well as for storing of food in large quantities.

  7. Make an Office Out of Your Loft
  8. The loft, if spacious enough for work, can also be converted into an office space. This is recommended for home-based workers or people who simply can’t let any unfortunate circumstance like sickness or disease get in the way of work. Lofts should have more than enough space for paperwork, a computer and practically any other tools you’ll possibly need to perform your office tasks from home. Loft offices are also great places to prop up a small start up company.

The loft space can be transformed into just about anything that touches your preference, and the ones listed above are just a small sampling. Always remember that whatever purpose you give your converted loft should correspond with your needs, and not because you simply feel like it.

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.

Conservatory

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

4 Qualities of a Good Loft Conversion Company

Your home may get a little too boring after a while. In that case, you should consider improving your home, maybe through some significant changes or even a major renovation. Change the décor, rearrange the furnishings, install new lights, and whatever you can possibly think of. You might as well want to add a few more square meters your home’s floor space. This can be done through home extension, and there are a number of ways to accomplish this endeavor. One of these is loft conversion, a very popular and efficient home extension method.

Home Extension through Loft Conversion

Many prefer loft conversion due to its apparent simplicity. With this home extension method, one only has to make a liveable loft room out of the usually ignored attic space. However, this task is never as simple as it sounds. Drastic changes are required to complete a conversion. This may be somewhere be somewhere in between simply reinforcing the ceiling’s topside to the complete reconstruction of the roof.

Some Qualities that Determine a Good Loft Conversion Firm

Most of the work in a loft conversion process can be treated as a DIY. However, not many have the sufficient skill and expertise to opt for this. Instead, the majority hires a loft conversion company to do much of the conversion work for them. If you’re thinking of doing likewise, here are a few qualities you should look for in a conversion company before hiring one:

1. Affordability
As with everything else, the budget is the first thing you should consider when hiring a loft conversion firm. Find a company that offers conversion services at a very reasonable price without sacrificing quality work. You can ask companies directly about this, as standard prices tend not to apply to most lofts.

2. Trustworthiness
Also, the company you should hire ought to be honest and trustworthy in all respects. Those with good reputations and those you can deal fairly with are the ones with whom you should do business, as they can deliver honest work – no cutting corners, unnecessary fees, and the like.

3. Efficiency
The company you should hire must be able to complete the task at the least possible time and with as little material resources as possible. Such efficient companies will save you a lot of money, as long-drawn work tends to drain a lot of cash from your funds.

4. Expertise
Know if the conversion company does their job really well. Find samples in their print materials and websites. If possible, you might even want to visit previous clients and check their lofts. Hire the company if you find their output satisfactory in terms of both function and form, but only if you can afford them. Remember, the best conversion company delivers the best possible output without being so expensive.

Before hiring a loft conversion company, always make sure that the contractor in question is trustworthy and can deliver great results in as little amount of time and resources as possible. To put it simply, the company ought to be honest and efficient, or you’ll end up spending more than you can afford.

Loft Conversion Building Regulations for a Safe Loft Design

There will inevitably come a time when you judge that the existing space in your home is no longer enough for you to live in. Such requires no simple solution. Will you just buy a new house and move out? It sounds easy, but it’s also a little too expensive in both the property purchase and moving costs. This option is best reserved when no renovation can fix the home. Will you just have to expand your house instead? Why not, as this frankly is a better idea.

Now what options do you have when extending your home? First you have a single storey extension where you basically add some square meters to your first floor. Then there’s a multiple storey extension, which is just the same as the first floor extension method, but applied to two or more storeys of the residential building. Fancy folks would resort to the conservatory, a sort of greenhouse extension. All of these however, take up much lot space, and may end up impractical, most especially when the house in question is situated in cramped urban areas.

Loft Conversion

If you have no way to add to the existing area covered by your home, then there’s no need to lose hope. A loft conversion can solve your house extension problem for you, provided that your home has a roof. This method is simply put transforming your normally ignored attic into a more valuable and useful top-floor room. It currently enjoys a lot of popularity thanks to its practicality, flexibility, and for its mere cool factor.

The attic’s conversion may be a lot easier and less time-consuming than the previously mentioned home extension methods, but it’s not really uncomplicated. It’s not as simple as reinforcing the ceiling and creating a semblance of a functional room out of the attic. It also needs to follow certain loft conversion building regulations, which is essential if you want to do the conversion correctly and up to legal and modern standards.

Lofts That Don’t Require a Permit

You can freely construct your loft and not be hassled by paperwork. That however is only possible if you restrict your design to the following regulations:

• The loft must never go beyond the roof’s existing dimensions.
• You need sufficient roof space: 40 cubic meters for terraced homes and 50 cubic meters for detached and semi-detached ones.
• Windows and other openings should be 1.7 meters above the loft’s floor; side-facing ones require obscure glazing.
• No open features such as balconies, verandas, etc.
• Apart from hip-and-gable, roof extensions like dormers should be no less than 20 centimeters away from the lower edges of the roof; all roof extensions are prohibited in designated areas like national parks.

These are just provisions to be followed in order to have a safe loft design. You don’t have to limit your loft to these rules. You can be as free as you wish when converting your attic, so long as you have the permit required and your design still follows the latest loft conversion building regulations. These laws, all prioritizing safety and practicality, vary from one area to another. It is thus best to consult the local building control officer for such regulations in your locale.