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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.

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 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.