Loft conversion is a trend that’s gaining momentum among property owners as a preferred way to transform the unused roof space of their houses. It’s the easiest solution to meet housing needs of a growing family without having to relocate to another place. Proximity to the sky and nature also make your loft the most favored location for a home office. Whatever your needs, if you own a large house and still have some space vacant above it, the wisest thing would be to go for a loft conversion without any reconsideration. There are many reasons that make loft conversions more suitable than relocation and one of them is energy efficiency. Rooftop rooms have much less artificial lighting requirements and need for electric heating in winter months is also curtailed, compared to rooms lying on the ground floor. They can also help upgrade the value of your house if your goal is to fetch a handsome price for your house in case you wish to relocate to a different country in future.
Once you have an outline of your intended loft area ready, there are no limits to the construction and renovations you can undertake to make it suitable for your existing needs. While loft conversions may sound like a cake walk to most people, they do need a lot of planning that goes in accordance with the local guidelines. Most loft conversions come under permitted planning and permission is rarely required in case your intended loft conversion plan ceases to meet the under mentioned rules specified by the local planning council:
- The extended loft space should come within the permissible limits set for loft conversions. For terraced houses, the space can be extended not more than 40 cubic meters and for other houses, the space can be extended up to 50 cubic meters.
- There are no balconies or verandas with elevated floor base. Addition of balconies to your loft space will need permission from the Planning Development authority. Juliet balconies are great for people who wish to have a place to let the summer breeze in without any planning approvals.
- The loft is constructed at the rear end of your house. If you plan to add a loft extension to the front of your house, you will need to apply for planning approval.
- The height of your loft conversion should not go beyond the height of your existing house.
- The loft area should also not exceed the roof slope at the front side of your house facing the highway.
- The side facing windows must be placed at least 1.7m above the floor of the room they’re installed in.
- The materials used in your loft conversion must be the same as were used in your existing house.
If you are living in an area where building a loft extension might pose a hindrance to the surroundings like in a residential colony, maisonettes, listed buildings, conservation areas, national parks, World Heritage sites and areas of outstanding beauty, you may have to fill out a planning permission application to eliminate any chance of the local councils from interfering in your project. Once you submit the application, it may take eight weeks for authorities to approve your application. Planning permission is often confused with building regulations and approval for the same is essential for any loft conversion project.
TYPES OF LOFT CONVERSIONS
Given the varied needs and interests of homeowners, architects have brought forth six different types of loft conversions to end the struggle you’ve been putting up with due to a lack of space in your house. The inspiration behind these conversions is the enormous space occupied by conventional roofs that store an unending scope to meet your family’s storage needs. The end goal is to intelligently use the tricky spaces under your roof in creating more living space for your family. Here’s a peek into the six loft conversion styles you can zero in to maximize your indoor space.
Full Rear Dormer Loft
A full rear dormer is the most widely used loft conversion technique that creates more head space under the existing roof of your house. This type of extension protrudes from the rear part of sloping roof giving your room more space. Placement of windows on the front facing sloping part on the dormer roof makes way for sunlight to enter the room. The space on the inside looks like that of any other four dimensional space, the only difference being that the wall facing the outdoors and the ceiling are constructed as an extension to the roof. The remaining part of the loft is the area under the existing roof which can be divided into multiple rooms using wall separators. This kind of loft conversion is constructed as a single unit to provide maximum indoor space to homeowners.
Pitched Roof Dormer Loft
Pitched roof dormers work beautifully in lending some more space to a targeted area on the existing roof. This kind of dormer loft is great for people living in conservation area or places where a full rear dormer loft conversion might not work due to obstructions like trees and other buildings. If you wish to add some extra space to your bathroom, kitchen or a tiny office under the existing roof, pitched roof dorm extension is the perfect alternative to help you create both light and space for you to comfortably work in. It also uplifts the look of your house with aesthetically placed windows.
Skylight or Velux loft conversion is the simplest way to infuse a feeling of openness with addition of window panels on either sides of the roof. This type of conversion method easily transforms the attic space into a livable place. The space however remains the same and no major changes are made to the existing roof structure. Only the windows are placed on the sloping roof sides to let in light and air. Depending on the size of the attic, Velux loft conversions can take around six weeks to complete.
L- Shaped Dormer
Houses with numerous gable roofs store a great potential for loft makeovers utilizing the space under the gables and the dorm to have a spacious room ready for you. L- shaped dormer conversions cleverly transform the vacant spaces lying under the region where gable roof and dorm connects. This kind of loft conversion works best to meet your goal of building several rooms which can also include a bathroom. The L-shaped space under the roof and dorm gets a new twist with addition of large sized windows to make the space airy and well lit.
Hip to Gable Dormer
If your house has a hipped roof meaning all parts of the roof slope downwards and there are no vertical roof structures, a hip to gable loft helps to maximize space on the existing slope of roof with a roof extension. This helps to transform a hipped roof into a gable roof with vertical outer wall to replace the sloping part of the hipped roof with a bit of headspace for you to comfortably move under this part of the roof. Placement of windows on this loft extension illuminates the space within and helps you reap in the benefits of the extended space you get with this type of loft makeover.
Mansard loft conversion is an extension made to the existing sloping rear roof. The newly built extension has a flat roof and a sloping outer wall. From the inside mansard loft extension gives you a flat ceiling with a diagonally placed rear wall where windows are placed for better lighting. With this type of loft extension your floor space gets a rejig due to angled outer wall. The ceiling however remains smaller than the floor but there’s tremendous scope for window additions on the ceiling of this loft extension if you’re willing to grasp the views of the sky.
HIRING A PROFESSIONAL DESIGN AND BUILD CONTRACTOR
Your loft conversion project might not appear as an arduous task but it does require you to handle every little detail pertaining to the conceptualization of its design with a greater level of finesse. The accuracy in getting the right dimensions for your loft extension is a must to successfully complete the loft conversion project. To minimize any chances of mishaps or errors, it’s best to seek help of a professional build contractor who can help accomplish your goals without any trouble or alterations. It also gives you more freedom to monitor any structural flaws at the earliest. This along with the decade long expertise earned by a professional loft builder helps to source the best materials and workers to get the project finished within a set time frame minus any interruptions in the work flow. Being well versed with the planning permission standards, your contractor will help you design your intended loft extension that meets the local development guidelines and also helps in obtaining approvals if you wish to add a few details that might need permission from the planning council.