Is your attic space suitable for a loft conversion?

Loft conversions offer numerous benefits for your property, from providing you with an extra room to be used as a bedroom, study or additional lounge space, to increasing the property value if you choose to sell in the future.

But as with any large renovation project, there are considerations to bear in mind – the most important is to identify whether your attic is actually suitable for a loft conversion. We’ve compiled some of the most important questions to ask before you invest in a loft conversion.

What type of loft does your property have?

The first consideration to make if you’re thinking about converting your loft space is to determine what the existing structure is and the type of roof your property has. There are two main types of roofs – traditional and modern trussed. The former is found on properties which were built before 1965 and the rafters in a traditional roof form an ‘M’ shape which meets in the middle of the loft. Traditional roofing usually measures 2.2 metres at the highest point.

A modern trussed roof is found in homes built after 1965 and are constructed with rafters forming a ‘W’ shape, measuring 2.4 metres at the highest point. This style of roof can be harder to convert since the ‘W’ frame takes up the majority of the loft, so the whole frame has to be replaced. It’s not an impossibility but it can make a conversion more expensive and time-consuming.

Is there sufficient space?

The second factor in whether a loft conversion is possible for your home is to determine how much space you have. This involves measuring floor area and the angle of the roof. The internal walls of your loft should measure 7.5 metres across, front to back, and 5.5 metres from side to side for the ideal size conversion, although smaller spaces are still possible to convert.

The pitch of the roof should be at a higher angle, so any angle higher than 30 degrees will work well. For your conversion to pass building regulations, it will need to measure 2.2 metres from the floor to the highest point of the pitch to allow for plenty of room at head height. You will also need to think about access to the loft, as you may need to install a staircase as well.

Do you have planning permission?

You may require planning permission for your conversion, depending on where you live and the type of home you own. For example, property owners in London will find that the planning permission requirements vary depending on the borough they live in. Similarly, if you own a listed building, you won’t have the same permissions as a modern build.

There are specifications your conversion needs to adhere to in order for the project to fall within your permitted development rights as a homeowner – projects outside of these specifications will have to be approved by the local planning authority. Likewise, there are party wall agreements which need to be consented to in order for your conversion to be permissible – if you have people living next to you in a terraced or semi-detached house, they need to give their consent to the conversion in order to avoid any costly legal disputes in the future.

What can make a property unsuitable for a loft conversion?

While most lofts can be converted, there are naturally circumstances that can make a property less suitable for a conversion. If your roof is too low and it’s not possible to raise it, which is one of the more common reasons for a loft conversion not being advisable, then you may need to consider alternatives.

Similarly, if you live in a flat and don’t own the freehold to the property, then you won’t gain planning permission to alter the loft. This can be a common issue for property owners in cities where flats are more common property types. Finally, if you live in a listed building, then it’s unlikely that local authorities will permit a loft conversion unless it’s deemed essential. There are few instances where this would be the case so it’s rare that homeowners in these situations get approval for a conversion project.

Final thoughts

A loft conversion provides many benefits to your home, increasing your floor space and providing a cost-effective alternative to moving to a bigger property. But it’s still advisable that you do your research before embarking on this renovation project to make sure the results are as you imagined and that you have permission to adapt your property.

For more information about loft conversions or if you have any further questions, contact us today.

Velux or dormer – which is best for your attic conversion?

A loft extension is an excellent way to make the most of the space in your home, adding valuable square footage while increasing the value of the property – in some cases up to 25%. We wrote a recent blog about the advantages of converting your loft which you can read here.

Whether you have your heart set on an extra bedroom, a home office or a chillout area on the top floor, the type of property and the style of your roof will determine what sort of conversion is most appropriate for the building. It is important to think carefully about the style of conversion that would suit your needs.

At Jones Brothers, we can design and build all kind of lofts, and when we come to survey your property, we will be able to advise on the best options. Typically, homeowners choose between a simple Velux conversion or a dormer conversion that protrudes from the roof – so let’s take a look at the benefits of each in turn.

Velux

A loft conversion using Velux roof windows will use the original shape and layout of the roof, while giving the appearance of a larger space via the addition of skylight windows. The structure of the roof remains the same, which means that there must be enough headroom available for the new attic room to be viable.

If the budget is tight and your roof is high enough, Velux windows may be all you need to bring in plenty of natural light to effectively illuminate the newly converted room. These skylight options fit within the natural slope of the roof, requiring less building work and making the whole project more affordable than other conversion options.

What’s more, adding standard Velux windows shouldn’t require planning permission since there’s no outward projection that might need consent. In any event, conversions typically fall within permitted development as long as they meet certain criteria. That said, it is always wise to check with your local planning authority. Certainly, if your home is situated within a Conservation Area or is a listed building, additional planning restrictions will apply.

For light and temperature control in the new room at the top of your house, automated blinds can be fitted to the new Velux windows. These can be conveniently operated remotely at the touch of a button, allowing quick and easy operation with a hint of luxury.

Dormer

Dormer windows are popular because they achieve greater head height in the attic room, creating more usable floor space. By building a projection upward from a sloping roof, the room becomes more conventionally square in shape. Without this projection, you would be left with a narrower portion of the room to stand up in.

To maintain the overall visual appeal of your home, a dormer window can accommodate a wide range of window frame styles, so you are able to match them to the rest of your home for a smart, uniform appearance. In this way, the traditional look of a dormer window can produce a more architecturally sympathetic loft extension that is more in keeping with the character of your neighbourhood.

The additional building and roofing work and window fitting required for a dormer loft conversion will obviously incur additional costs. There is a greater chance that you might need planning permission too, especially if you are altering the property’s silhouette. Do check with the local planning officer before you start work. As you might expect, the build time for a dormer conversion will be slightly longer too. That said, large and modern dormer windows can be a feature statement, adding value to your property when you come to sell it on.

The team at Jones Brothers have many years’ experience in designing and constructing residential loft conversions in and around Surrey and South West London, and we would be delighted to help you make the right decision for your property. Why not take a look at our Gallery page for some examples of our recently completed projects?

It’s worth remembering that the window style you choose must work in terms of practicality, aesthetics and budget. Whatever design you are contemplating for your upcoming home improvement project, contact our professional team today and we will be more than happy to offer our professional advice.

Moving up, not moving out – 6 advantages of converting your loft

It’s no surprise that so many people choose to convert their loft space – it provides homeowners with a practical solution to the need for more space without needing to sell their home. But it is a big decision – here are six reasons why you should convert your loft space, to help you decide if a conversion is right for you and your property.

Maximise your living space

Whatever your goals are for your loft space, there’s no denying that it provides you with plenty of extra living space to use in any way you see fit. A loft conversion can be transformed into an extra bedroom, an office or study, or a hobby room, to name just a few of the ways you could make use of this underutilised space. For so many homes, the loft is just used as a storage space. But a conversion will ensure you put this valuable area to better use – even a basic loft extension can make your home feel considerably larger and more spacious.

Added value to your property

A loft extension is a worthwhile expense, but it’s an investment that leaves many wondering if they’ll see a return if they choose to move on in the future. The good news is that a loft extension can increase the value of your home, in some cases by as much as 25%. Since a loft conversion is often cheaper than other types of home renovation, chances are the increase in value will outweigh the initial cost of the project for a positive return on investment.

Attic conversion bedroom

An energy-efficient solution

Heat rises, so if your loft is poorly insulated, you could be wasting money on your utility bills each month and not feeling the benefit. Loft conversions are actually a great solution to this problem, as your loft will be properly insulated which keeps it warm in the winter and cool in the summer for a more comfortable property. This will also help you to save money on your heating bills in the long term.

No need for planning permission

Planning permission is rarely needed for a loft conversion, unless you’re planning on altering the exterior of the building, so it’s a quick alternative to other types of property extension. In some cases, a conversion can take as little as 4-5 weeks to complete, so you’ll be able to enjoy your extra space in next to no time.

Create a room with a view

In addition to the space you’ll gain from converting your loft, you’ll also gain nice views from your property too. Loft conversions often use large windows and skylights which allow plenty of natural light into the room and are perfect for looking out onto your garden or the surrounding views, as well as for enjoying the night sky.

A cheaper alternative to moving

Moving home is expensive and stressful, but if you’ve outgrown your property, you may feel like it’s the only option left. With deposit costs, stamp duty and your solicitor and estate agent fees to think about, not to mention the hassle of packing up your belongings, moving is a stress that you can avoid through opting for a loft conversion instead. It will provide you with plenty of extra space without the need to move properties.

Final thoughts

A loft extension is the ideal opportunity to improve the look of your home and the practicalities of living in your property, as well as increasing its value if you choose to sell later on. Lofts are often dead space that could be put to better use and a conversion is a great solution that utilises the valuable space you have available.

If you’d like to discuss your loft conversion project or you have further questions, get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to help.

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