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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.

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.

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 Practical Loft Conversion Advices

If you are looking for a great way to improve your home and add a great deal of space to it at the same time, look no further and convert your loft. This is because a loft extension is one of the most efficient home extension methods and is one that can produce outstanding results, often in the form of a comfortable loft room. A home within a home indeed.

Why Should You Choose to Convert Your Loft?

A loft conversion is one of the most efficient home extension methods, making it an amazing alternative to the likes of conservatories and single storey extension. For one, it does not take much time and effort to complete. Also, it may not cost you much money when planned properly.

Besides being efficient and cost-effective, loft conversion also offers a lot of side benefits. The first is obviously all that space it adds to your house. The added floor space amounts to more or less 30% in an average house. The presence of a functional loft room also increases the real property value of the house, meaning it can now be sold at a price a lot higher than how much it originally costs.

Some Advice Before Converting Your Loft

For some reason, you probably may also want to convert that useless attic space. If that’s the case, here’s some loft conversion advice:

1. Get assistance from the building control officer.
Before the actual construction could take place, make it a point to pay a visit to the local building control officer. Inquire about the regulations you should follow or if you already have a loft design, let him check on it and see if it fits your loft and is within the limits of existing regulations.

2. Plan carefully and in detail.
Be thorough with your planning. Assess your requirements and determine if it is practical with your loft and see if you can afford the conversion. Design the loft in accordance with the existing building regulations if you wish to build straight away. Going beyond the rules will require a permit, and that will take some time and may be costly to obtain.

3. Pay for professional help.
If you can’t do a certain part of the conversion, don’t be afraid to spend to hire professionals. Having someone who knows what he or she’s doing, work on that certain difficult task, can save you not only time but also money that could’ve been wasted if the problem delayed the conversion process. Employing an architect during the design stage is recommended, as this professional can create a design that’s within the limits of your budget, your loft’s dimensions, and the laws involved.

4. Remember: things don’t always go according to plan.
Be flexible. If some circumstances prevent you from proceeding to a certain task, do not linger on it and consider making some changes that you’ll still be satisfied with. Never force a solution, lest you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and effort for little gain.

Is the article too long? Here’s a short summary of all these loft conversion advice: know your limits, plan carefully, be flexible, and do not be too stingy to get professional help.

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.