The Sterlingbuild Guide to Loft Conversions
Our guide aims to help you answer any questions you might have regarding your attic conversion, from 'can I convert my loft' to what 'roof windows are best for a loft conversion?'
Why you should convert your loft
If you are considering expanding your property and wondering what type of home extension would be best suited to your needs, a loft conversion could be the answer for you.
Building upwards can be one of the most cost-effective and straightforward ways of creating more space in the home. Small loft conversions and loft conversions on a larger scale are increasingly popular choices for homeowners looking to find extra living space without having to move home.
Whether the kids have returned from university or you are looking to move your parents in, a loft conversion can be the ideal fit whatever your plans.
Loft conversion ideas
VELUX pitched roof windows are the perfect choice to light up your new space and should be the first item on your shopping list if you are looking to bring your new room to life and connect it to the outdoors by introducing natural sunlight.
VELUX are leaders in manufacturing windows which have ventilation and insulation at the core of design, two vital components in making loft spaces healthy and comfortable. For bedrooms, Noise reduction windows are perfect for keeping out unwanted noise and ensuring a good night's sleep.
If you plan on having an en-suite bathroom as part of your loft conversion, VELUX obscure-glazed windows will give you complete privacy as you bathe under the sun.
A good quality, loft ladder should be more than just an afterthought. It is an important part of your overall home aesthetic, while being both an attractive and safe route to your new room. FAKRO's wooden loft ladder is a great option, or, if you prefer aluminium, a Youngman telescopic loft ladder is equally reliable.
VELUX Extension v Dormer
The most immediate thing to consider when planning for your loft conversion is 'can I convert my loft?’ This is a sensible question to ask as not all roof structures can be converted. Different roofs require different work with some structures requiring planning permission while others do not.
VELUX loft conversions, which sees one or multiple VELUX windows affixed to the roof in order to introduce light, are generally very cost-effective and do not normally need planning permission. Even the groundbreaking VELUX CABRIO balcony system does not require planning permission for homes not in conservation areas.
If you do not have enough head height in your loft, you may need to build a dormer, a small flat roofed extension with a window. This type of extension will typically cost a lot more money and require special loft conversion planning permission.
The Planning Portal can provide a full picture on the limits and conditions of your conversion and is where most planning permissions in England and Wales are now submitted through.
How much does a loft conversion cost?
Naturally, the price of a loft conversion will depend on the size of your house, the amount of rooms required and where you live.
On average, VELUX loft conversions, including the installation of VELUX pitched roof windows, will cost upwards of £20,000, while the average Dormer loft conversion with a double bedroom and en-suite can cost around £35,000–£45,000.
Again, the scale of your project will determine how long your loft conversion takes to complete, but on average it takes four to six weeks.
Important things to consider
As well as loft conversion planning permission, insulation, insurance and safety are all crucial aspects to loft extensions which need thorough consideration before any work can commence.
Fire safety is one thing that is typically not taken seriously enough, but should. The basic rule around fire safety is that all upstairs habitable rooms must have some form of fire escape window / fireproof stairwell. Certain VELUX top hung windows are suitable as a ‘means of escape’ window.
Contact a ‘building control body’ (BCB) for a full list of building regulations appropriate to your property. This can be done via Gov.co.uk.
Who can help me with my loft conversion?
Depending on the scale of your project and your own level of experience, you may require an architect or designer. As well as bringing ideas and originality to the table, architects can also bring a touch of realism to your loft extension, letting you know what is possible and what is not.
The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors are two of the leading professional bodies in this field.
If you or any of your friends know any good, trusted builders who can help you carry out work, then you should utilise their services. This could save you a lot of money.
Alternatively, there are loft conversion specialists who can help you. A full list of bodies can be found on the British Associations site.