Our guide to building a loft conversion

Our guide to building a loft conversion

The appetite for working from home has accelerated since lockdown, with many companies, including Twitter, allowing their staff to remain working remotely indefinitely. However, with this change in lifestyle has come the necessity for more personal space and householders are now looking to loft conversions for creating extra room.

Aside from utilising otherwise wasted space, loft conversions, when done well, are a great way to add value to your property and are a much more cost effective alternative to moving house, which can add up to thousands of pounds in taxes, estate agency fees and solicitor bills.

If you’re considering updating your property, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you successfully plan your loft conversion from beginning to end.

What can I use a loft conversion for?

Depending on the available space and head height in your loft area, there are numerous ways to make use of the area. Bear in mind that most lofts won’t have windows so you will have to plan accordingly. However, with a little imagination, a loft can be ideal for:

  • Converting into a spare bedroom or providing a larger master bedroom – if space allows consider including an en-suite shower room or bathroom
  • TV room
  • Children’s playroom or teenagers’ den
  • Games room
  • Home office
  • Craft room
  • Treatment room

 

What should I think about when planning my loft conversion?

Depending on how you want to use the space will make all the difference at the planning stage. Many lofts will already have an electricity supply, but if you’re hoping to install a home office you should also think about whether you require a phone extension or broadband sockets. Likewise, don’t forget the TV points if you’re hoping to put a television up there in the future.

Water tanks are often located in lofts. If your loft has a water tank, consider the impact this will have on the overall work required and whether it will therefore need moving. The good news is lofts are usually easy to plumb into the existing main water supply. However, if you are looking to put in a bathroom or shower room, consider the amount of head height required and whether there is sufficient water pressure for the taps to operate effectively.

You should not convert your loft if it doesn’t have an adequate head height. This is usually a minimum of 2.4 metres.

Do I need planning permission for a loft conversion?

Planning permission is not normally required for a loft conversion under the government’s permitted development rights. However, there are conditions that need to be followed. These include:

  • The type of property you live in, for example, if your property is listed
  • Whether you intend to extend or alter the roof space
  • Whether your conversion will exceed specified limits and conditions

If you’re unsure about whether you need planning permission or not, we recommend you study the technical guidance and discuss this with a professional, such as a qualified architect or builder.

What materials should I use for my loft conversion?

If you’re looking for a high quality loft conversion, then employing a professional builder will be a better plan than attempting to take on a DIY job, particularly when it comes to the more technical aspects of the job, like plumbing and ventilation. A basic conversion should include stairs, chipboard flooring and windows. 

Windows will vary greatly depending on the type of conversion you have planned. Sky lights, such as Velux, will help to save space, while dormer conversions will involve a roof extension. 

Heating and ventilation are also important and should be carefully considered before work commences as the type of insulation, for example, might impact the height available. 

If you do plan to proceed down the DIY route, then take a look at our top tools for building an extension.

How much will a loft conversion cost?

Costs will vary depending on the type of loft conversion being undertaken. However, on average, a loft conversion will cost between £15,000 for a basic shell conversion to £40,000 for an en-suite bedroom.

Whether you’re working on a construction project or making home improvements, we can help. For more information about our products, get in touch and our friendly team will be happy to assist you.