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A Guide to Loft Conversions: What are the Types and Benefits?

loft conversion

You’ve been thinking about converting your loft for a while now. You can already imagine the benefits of the extra space – a loft conversion could allow for a guest bedroom, study, or a playroom for the kids! How wonderful would that be?

A loft conversion also adds value to your property without causing too much disruption due to prolonged construction.

But there’s a hold-up. Why? Because converting a loft is a big job and there are important decisions to be made.

One of the main questions is, what type of loft suits you?

There are a few types of loft to consider, each with their pros and cons so you want to make the right decision. To choose what kind of conversion you’re after, you’ll need to consider the shape and line of your roof, budget, and any planning restrictions from the local authority.

That’s where we’re here to help. We’ve listed the four different types of loft conversions so you can choose one that fits your home and family.

1. Dormer

The most popular type of loft conversion is a flat roof dormer. This is a structural extension which typically projects vertically from the slant of the existing roof.

Why is the dormer loft conversion so popular?

Because it usually requires no dramatic changes, adds useful headroom in a cramped attic, allows for good lighting, and provides a large amount of additional internal space. Plus, it’s inexpensive compared to other roof extension types and doesn’t usually require any permission from authorities.

And the downside? Well, of the four types of loft conversion it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing choice from the outside.

However, you can dress your dormer up as you please to improve the look inside and outside. Why not add Velux windows to provide extra light and ventilation? Or pretty French windows are another option.

And if you’re worried how your dormer will appear outside, more picturesque dormers can face towards the front of the building. In this case, it’s likely you’ll have to seek planning permission, however.

Bonnet dormers are another attractive option but provide less internal space than a flat roof.

2. Mansard

A mansard loft conversion is constructed by raising the wall shared with your neighbors. The roof remains flat, while one outer wall slants inwards gently.

Mansard lofts are suitable for many property types, but typically they’re found at the rear of the home and are popular in terraced houses in urban areas.

Mansard lofts blend well into older properties and due to their shape give more headroom than any other type of conversion. This means they allow more light into the loft. Plus, they are much better to look at than a dormer!

However, there are cons to converting to this loft type. As mansard loft conversions involve significant construction work and changes to the building, they are more expensive than other conversions, and they almost always require planning permission.

Plus, construction times can be long, so this is no quick job!

3. Hip to Gable

A hip to gable loft conversion straightens an inwardly sloped (or hipped) end roof, creating a vertical gable wall. Typically, a conversion like this transforms the slanting part of the roof into a wall which is then the same height of the top of the roof.

Although this sounds like a small change, it can make a huge difference to the feel of the space inside. All that additional space can be used for a variety of purposes, such as adding in an office or increasing living space.

Ideal for detached or semi-detached homes, bungalows, and chalets, this is one type of loft conversion that’s trending with homeowners.

As it blends in with the existing home, it’s one of the more aesthetically pleasing options on the list. Combine with the construction of a rear dormer loft for maximum space.

As you can guess, this stylish design is more expensive than a dormer conversion. Additionally, they aren’t appropriate for mid-terrace homes and can look imbalanced if your neighbor doesn’t have one too. Likewise, planning permission may be necessary for this conversion.

4. Velux or Roof Light

If you aren’t keen to make any structural changes to your home or are on a budget, then you might want to consider a fourth option.

A Velux conversion, otherwise known as a roof light conversion is where you avoid altering or expanding the existing space altogether.

Instead, Velux windows are fitted to renovate an attic into a comfortable and bright living area. Check out this helpful article on how to start off transforming the space with loft boarding.

It’s a relatively simple way to breathe life into your loft and is certainly an inexpensive option in comparison to the other three types of loft conversion.

Plus, since you aren’t changing the structure of the roof or any of the original shape of the room, planning permission isn’t usually necessary. This is unless the windows are fitted at the front of the house, of course.

Although a Velux conversion doesn’t open any more useful space, if you think creatively there are plenty of ways to make room for storage.

However, to make a Velux conversion work, it’s necessary that the attic already has 2.25m of head height in the center of the room to allow for space to safely build up the floor. And due to limited headroom, the stairs may need to enter the middle of the room.

Ready for Your Loft Convert?

Now you’ve learned of the options, we hope you’re one step closer to building your loft convert!

The average national cost for attic renovations is $49,438 so for your dream loft prepare to spend and always weigh up the pros and cons of each type of loft convert before making a final decision.

Remember that there’s still lots to do, even if you’ve almost finished planning. Expect it to take between four to eight weeks converting empty roof space into a lovely, livable loft.

Good luck and we hope you enjoy your new loft!

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