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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.

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.

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.

How to Get Loft Conversion Quotes

Home extension is carried out for many different reasons. Some want more living space, some need more place to put their stuff in, and some just do it for the sake of doing it. In any case, all forms of home extension do basically the same thing: add more measures to the house’s total floor space such that the inhabitants’ needs and non-needs are ultimately satisfied.

There are several known methods to extend one’s home. While one can picture out that all these merely stretch the house on one or more sides, this is not always the case. One can always extend the edifice without letting it go beyond the area it originally occupies, provided certain conditions are met. Basements for one can be renovated to become a functional room, but that’s more or less a given to most houses with one. Meanwhile, we also have loft conversion as an alternative.

What’s Loft Conversion?

You may want to ask, “What on earth is loft conversion?” Well, a loft conversion can be simply defined as a home extension method where that oft ignored, dark, and dusty void called the attic is converted into a useful part of the house. It can function as a living space, as a mere storage area, or maybe a separate residential unit.

Loft conversion is often a preferred alternative to traditional home extension methods like first floor expansion due to the fact that it costs less time and effort to complete. To make it simple, some homeowners employ the services of loft conversion firms. Now these firms vary in how they charge their customers, being of varied expertise and approach to loft conversion. Knowing the figures involved in deals with these firms is important, especially when you are on a budget.

Finding Loft Conversion Quotes

Often, you can’t simply find how much the services of loft conversion firms cost in yellow pages and their websites. Regardless, you have the option to ask for loft conversion quotes through the following:

1. Online directories
Web directories provide search features that allow you to find conversion firms around your area, as well as the loft conversion quotes for each company. The searches may be customizable, but such sacrifices instantaneous results in order to get the best possible quotes.

2. Phone
The phone is an efficient way to get a loft conversion firm’s quotes for custom lofts in real time. You can easily find the right contact information in the conversion company’s website or the yellow pages.

3. Email
Electronic mail is also a great way to get quotes. Sending a comprehensible email to a legit conversion company will usually get you a good response. The efficiency of this medium depends on the company however, as there are still some who haven’t caught on with recent advances in telecommunications.

Asking a conversion company about loft conversion quotes is always the best way to get the price for their services. Through this, you can communicate your house’s specifications and get quotes that aren’t just right for your house but also up to your budget.

Loft Conversions and Their Benefits

Many people who have lived in a single house for quite a while share a single problem. This is the ever shrinking living space that resulted from the gradual accumulation of material possessions and possibly an increase in the family’s size. Whether this is a bad thing or not is somewhat subjective however. There are just some individuals who like their cramped home the way it is, while there are many who feel like they can use a little more living space.
Like any other problem, this has several solutions. One option is to leave and move to a bigger house, but a change in address may lead to complications and new houses are expensive to begin with. Some try to alleviate the problem by enlarging their house, which, though cheaper than moving, takes a lot of time and effort to complete. The more practical ones however, resort to loft conversion.

Explaining Loft Conversion

Now what is loft conversion, you ask? Simply put, it is the conversion of the attic into a loft, thereby giving use to this often underutilized space between the ceiling and the roof. Loft conversions are popular in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, owing to the fact that this solution to the shrinking of household space is not as expensive as both moving and literal home expansion in terms of money, time, and effort.

Loft conversions in any form however aren’t merely done by setting up your attic such that it looks like a room. No, it’s not that simple. There are standards you are required by law to follow. Building authorities have issued building codes specifically concerning attic conversion, and these are enforced by the local building control officer, a professional in his own right and a person who can actually help during the conversion process. Don’t view the building rules as pointless restriction though; each paragraph aims to ensure that your loft is safe and stable.

The Benefits of Owning a Converted Loft

Experts will often recommend loft conversion not just because lofts are good to look at. A home owner can certainly enjoy several benefits associated with owning a loft. The first obviously is the additional living space gained from a loft. This amounts to what is basically somewhere around 30% of the house’s liveable space, which is a really big waste before the conversion.

Next, we have the fact that lofts increase the house’s value at more or less 20%, as it adds up to the usage of the house for every square meter its first floor occupies. Thus, those planning to eventually sell their home can benefit from owning a loft.

The last benefit is that you can make money from your loft, even before you could start thinking about selling the house. Get the right business papers, separate the loft from the rest of your home, and have it rented to individuals, small families, or short-term residents.

Loft conversion however, isn’t cheap. Fortunately, the price can be offset by the benefits a loft can possibly provide besides giving you that extra space you’ve always needed.

How Feasible Are Your Loft Conversion Plans?

The attic is a common feature in homes with a roof and a ceiling. Often however, this space right underneath the roof is either overlooked or made into what basically is a dump of unwanted material possessions. Whatever the case, much of the attic is generally not used, and this can be a legitimate problem. This part of the house occupies more or less 30% of a typical detached residential unit’s space, and having it taken for granted means that the house isn’t utilized to its full capacity.

Loft Conversion: A Way to Make Your Attic Useful

No wise person would want such a large space go underutilized. Instead of leaving the attic as is, they’d rather convert it to a functional part of the house. This is achieved through loft conversion, a well-known and popular house extension method wherein the attic is given structural modifications, renovation, and design overhaul so as to create a useful loft room out of it. Loft conversion, unlike other methods like first floor expansion or building an entirely new storey, does not take much time and effort, and can be cheap with proper budgeting.

What to Consider to Determine Your Loft’s Feasibility?

Making loft conversion plans is arguably the most painstaking part of the whole loft conversion process. Here you have to design the loft and subsequently calculate every single factor and figure involved. Albeit difficult, a good finalized plan can be very satisfactory, especially if you can deem it feasible at first glance.

Now feasibility is what you should always consider during the design and planning stage. Assessing it is important in order to avoid making the big mistake of building an impractical loft. Here are the important factors that can help you know whether your loft is practical or not:

1. Your loft’s design
The first thing you should assess is your design. Is it practical for your attic’s size? Is it achievable with your budget? Does it please you? If your answer to these questions is “yes”, then get the materials and start building. Otherwise, figure out what’s wrong and start again from scratch.

2. Your attic’s size
The size of your attic space is directly proportional to the amount of effort, money, and time that you’ll be spending during the conversion. Make sure that you can handle your loft’s demand of the said resources. Go back to the drawing board if you can’t and make up a better plan.

3. Your roof’s support structure
For this, here’s a simple rule to determine your loft conversion plans’ feasibility: roofing supported by rafters are safe, while those kept together by trusses can never be directly converted. If the latter is your roofing architecture, consider replacing it if you can’t afford to trash the plan.

4. Your loft conversion funds
As always, money is the key. Your loft conversion project is only feasible if your finances can afford it, and there’s no getting around this.

Before implementing your loft conversion plans, always remember to thoroughly deliberate on it. Assess the relevant factors and see if it’s feasible or not. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an impractical design, one you’ll likely give up midway into the whole process.

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.