Homeowners Loft Conversion Guide
Finally, you’ve decided to go ahead with a loft conversion. Now the fun starts.
Loft conversions are a fantastic way to add functional, beautiful space to your home without using valuable garden space. Whether you want to use it as a luxurious home office, or a bedroom space for guests, it’s a savvy choice for home improvement, especially if you live in a built-up area like London, where extra space is at a premium.
You may now wonder how to prepare and what you should expect from your loft conversion process.
In our PropertyTalk guide, we take you through everything that happens ‘before’ the big build, including:
- What is a loft conversion, and why choose it?
- How do you choose a loft conversion company?
- Are there any legal considerations?
- Will you need to move out?
All these questions and more are answered below, so you’re fully prepared for this incredible home improvement journey that adds value to your property.
What Is A Loft Conversion?
Not all property types or styles have lofts. Your home needs an elevated area in the roof cavity. If a property has a flat roof or it is an apartment, aka condo or unit, then there are no areas in the roof cavity large enough for a living space.
A loft conversion is converting your loft space into a liveable space. This is done by reinforcing the floor, adding insulation, and sometimes changing the shape of the roof. In some instances, the roof itself may only be insulated, with windows added to let the natural light flow in.
Loft Conversion Types
There are many different types of loft conversions, including:
- Roof light/ Velux window conversions
- Hip to gable conversion
- Mansard conversion
- L shaped conversion
- Dormer conversion
There are also various combinations of the above types of loft conversion, depending on the design you want and what is suitable for your home.
Why Choose A Loft Conversion?
A loft conversion is a perfect way to create more space in the home without compromising on the house’s footprint. Plus, using the roof cavity makes tons of extra space. Some properties can accommodate more than just a single room. Imagine an area large enough for a studio apartment! Or multiple rooms, including an en-suite and perhaps even a kitchen too.
Once you’ve realized what’s possible with a loft conversion, how you use it is up to you. Maybe you’re remote working, and it can be your home office, or you’re looking for extra income, and you can repurpose rooms on the ground as a rental property while you and your family live upstairs.
Loft conversions have better views of the outdoors, sky, and lots of natural light. Some benefits to help inspire your loft conversion project include:
- Quicker building process than a home extension
- Quirky space shape
- Lots of natural light
- Potential for various uses
- Can open up better views of the surrounding area
- Lots of loft conversion options to consider
- Can add value to your home
- Potential for en-suite, kitchen, and multiple rooms
- Rental potential
- No need to use up precious garden space
Can My Loft Be Converted?
While many lofts are easily converted, some can be challenging and expensive. The loft conversion possibilities depend on a range of factors, including:
- Available head height
- Water tanks in the loft
- Staircase headspace availability
- Roof pitch – must have 2.2metres in height
- Roof structure
- Any restrictions on your property, such as Listed Building or Conservation Area restrictions
The quickest way to find out if and how your loft conversion can be achieved is to speak to a loft construction company with the expertise to advise you on the possibilities offered by your property.
The Legal Bits
A lot of loft conversions can be done under something called Permitted Development. This will not necessarily apply if you have Listed Building status, have a house in a conservation area, have specific rules relating to building adjustments, or have already had house extensions and other work done on your house. In this instance, you may need to apply for Planning Permission. You may also need Planning Permission if the conversion you want exceeds Permitted Development rules.
Choosing A Loft Conversion Company
Choosing the right loft conversion company for this exciting home improvement is essential. They will be able to advise you on every single aspect of the conversion and ensure exceptional results. You’ll want to make sure that you choose a trusted loft construction company that offers the following:
- Exceptional customer service
- Plenty of testimonials from previous clients
- Examples of previous work
- Local knowledge
- A transparent and clear quote
- Lots of experience in this field of expertise
- A competitive price
- Willingness to effectively manage the process and communicate with you throughout
- Help and guidance in the design process and any legal applications you need to make
How To Prepare For A Loft Conversion
Designing a loft conversion and having a loft conversion done is not stress-free. Even with the best possible loft conversion company, you’ll have decisions to make and lots to consider. However, with the right company, you’ll have the easiest possible journey, with exceptional results, ultimately making it all worth it.
The initial process of finding a good loft conversion company is essential and, if done right, will help the various stages of the process flow much more quickly. For example, they can help you with the legal process, advising you on what to apply for and how to best go about those applications.
You’ll also avoid managing the process yourself because a good loft construction company is communicative and manages the process while keeping you in the loop.
Your Loft Conversion Budget
In addition to hiring an excellent loft conversion company, it’s important to also prepare by considering your budget and the kind of results you would like.
Your budget should allow for various expenses, including:
- Additional insurance that covers the build
- The build itself
- Any contingency work is done to blend the extension aesthetic into the current aesthetic outside of your home.
- Decoration and furnishing of the loft space
- Potential costs of having to live elsewhere while the work is done
When it comes to the design process, you’ll get a lot of help from the conversion company as to what is possible regarding the space itself. However, if you have an idea of how you would like to use the area, that will help to ensure that the design is accurately tailored to your needs.
For example, the monthly rental potential of a room in London is around £800.
If you’re looking to rent the space out, it’s ideal for adding a bathroom and maybe even a kitchen if the conversion allows.
If you’re using it as a creative space, perhaps you want plumbing for a wash sink or a bigger window to let the light flow on a drawing desk. These plans for using the area are essential in preparation for the design to ensure it is tailored to your needs.
Additional conversion company and designer suggestions will help bring the practical possibilities and your vision together to create the perfect converted space.
Will You Need To Move Out?
When the time comes to have your loft converted, you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t need to move out of your home. You could if you felt that the disruption would be an issue, perhaps with very young children or a baby.
However, many people choose to remain in their homes when a loft conversion occurs because the work is not being done on the current liveable portion of the property. That being said, there will be noise, scaffolding, builders, dust, materials, and other impacts that you must be realistic about. Even with the best builders, a loft conversion will be noisy, and there will be an impact on the top floor of your home.
You’re now ready to get started with your loft conversion project. Start by speaking to a trusted loft conversion company. Do your research online, including customer reviews, and contact the company to find out how they will work with you. Ideally, you’ll be inundated with lots of information about the legalities, the building process, the planning process, and more.
The most reputable companies are transparent and open about the whole process and keen to communicate with you so that you never feel in the dark and always feel in complete control of this exciting home improvement.