Ultimate Loft Conversion Guide
What is a loft conversion?
A loft conversion is the process of turning an attic into extra living space. Lofts have been around since the Middle Ages, when it was used to store hay. Nowadays, they’re used for a variety of purposes, including adding extra bedrooms to a house.
We’ve been converting lofts in Bristol for the last eight years. During that time, we’ve come to understand that loft conversions are best for people who need to create more space for themselves. They’re not suitable for everyone, but they can be an ideal solution for families with small children, older people who want to be more independent, and people who want to add value to their homes.
If you’re thinking about adding a loft conversion to your house, you’ll want to work with a builder who can deliver a top-quality service. Our expert team have years’ of experience and are qualified to undertake loft conversions of all sizes. We’ve also got lots of five-star reviews from happy clients across the city and wider South West.
What are the benefits of having a loft conversion?
Converting your loft into living space is a very popular home improvement project. Most homeowners who have completed this project report great satisfaction with the finished product. Here are some of the benefits of a loft conversion.
Redesign a room for fun
Creating a space with your own personal touch can be a great way to enhance the value of your home. With a loft conversion, you can create a home office, entertainment space, play room, or simply a great place to store your toys. It’s a great way to breathe new life into your house.
Increase home value
A loft conversion increases the value of your house. If you are considering selling your home in the future, it is wise to make any home improvements that you can to increase the value of your home.
Give Yourself an Office Space
An additional space in your home can be a great addition. The space can be used for a home office or guest room. If you have a family of six, a loft conversion is a great way to give yourself more space.
What should I consider when planning a loft conversion?
There are a number of factors you need to take into account when deciding whether or not your existing home is suitable for a loft conversion. In the next part of our ultimate loft conversion guide, we’ll cover some of the more common considerations we discuss with clients looking to increase the space within their Bristol home.
Can my loft be converted?
The first is whether or not the attic in your home is of an adequate height. You ideally need your loft to be at least two metres tall at the highest point. This will give you the necessary clearance needed to add a new room or rooms in your loft.
The next thing to consider is that the floor joists for your new attic space are not typically strong enough to support the ‘load’ of the new additional living area, furniture, and people that will be up there. If you do decide to embark on a new loft conversion you may need to factor in the cost of adding new floor joists.
When a loft conversion is carried out, it is important that it’s delivered with the correct building regulations. This is because if a loft conversion is not carried out to the correct regulations, there is a risk that the building will not be able to be legally built, or a building may be structurally unsafe.
The planning application
Before the planning permission process can be applied for, you will have to satisfy planning officers that your proposed work is “proper”. A conversion which is considered “improper” is unlikely to be approved.
This can be determined by the design of the proposed conversion. Design is generally considered inappropriate if it:
- Is in an existing house
- Does not complement or make better use of existing house
- Does not fit in with the surrounding area
- Has a “lumpy appearance”
- Is visible from public right of way
Inspectors will want to see an outline drawing of the design, floor plan, site plan and floor and wall elevations of the proposed conversion. They will also need to know the number and size of rooms you intend to convert and whether or not you will extend over the existing roof line.
The inspector may also wish to see a section drawing of the roof framing.
Building regulations are statutory regulations in the UK that ensure relevant legislation is carried out. Most building work within the UK (including loft conversions) requires building regulations approval.
This is something that can be discussed with the builders you decide to working with. Here at Lofts Kitchens in Bristol we’ve had lots of experience getting the correct building regulations for our clients.
Disruption during your loft conversion
Depending on the size and complexity of your new loft, a typical conversion takes between four and eight weeks to complete.
It’s important to bear in mind for at least part of the project there is a high chance that your regular home life will be disrupted in one way or another. This might include the water being off for several hours or days, no electricity for a similar amount of the time, and tradespeople coming and going from your home at different times of day.
A professional Bristol loft conversion company will provide you with an estimate for how long the different steps of the project are likely to take This will be an estimate as there may well be factors during the project that are out of their control. Even still, this should give you an idea of how long your new loft conversion is likely to take.
In our experience the best way of handling any potential disruptions is to keep an open dialogue with the building firm creating your new attic space. If you have an important Zoom call and need the electricity then let them know.
And, if you have friends or family coming over and need running water – tell your main contact at the building firm and they’ll ensure their team are made aware and don’t interfere with your plans.
What are the different types of loft conversion?
If you’ve decided that you’re going to invest the time, money, and effort in a loft conversion project and you’ve confirmed that your existing attic space is suitable, the next thing to do is decide what type of loft conversion is right for you.
The loft conversion company you choose will not only help you decide what type of conversion you need, but will be able to provide an accurate quote so you know how much to budget for your project.
There are four main types of loft conversion. These are dormer loft conversions, hip-to-gable loft conversions, and mansard loft conversions.
In the next section we’ll cover each of the main conversion types in more detail.
Dormer loft conversion
A dormer loft conversion is a very popular method of adding extra accommodation to a home. The conversion consists of using either the original roof frame or a new roof framework, adding a new dormer roof and constructing a loft conversion which can be accessed from outside. The space can be a bedroom, a lounge or even a playroom.
Dormer lofts are a fantastic way of transforming the look of a large attic room and creating more useful and usable space. With the addition of dormer roofs, the attic room becomes more of a space that you can actually use.
Here at Lofts Kitchens in Bristol our team have built many dormer loft conversions for happy clients across the city and throughout the wider South West.
Hip-to-gable loft conversion
The hip-to-gable loft conversion, as the name suggests, is particularly suited to a house that has a hip roof, with the gable that runs towards the eaves being located higher than the peak of the hip. The side rooms in such a house are generally narrower than the main roof. The conversion, therefore, creates an addition to the house that fits into the roof pitch of the house as a whole. The main attic of the house runs at a gentle sloping angle to the roof.
Mansard loft conversion
In a mansard loft conversion wooden or brick structure is inserted into an existing loft space. The conversion adds space to your existing house. Sometimes it can make sense to add a flat at the base of the mansard to provide a new ceiling above the conversion.
The main advantages of a mansard loft conversion are the possibility of creating additional rooms for entertaining, a more versatile floor plan and the ability to increase living space without having to extend the height of the building.
There are many benefits to having a loft conversion and we’ve completed projects for Bristol clients who want to use their new space for a whole variety of different purposes.
Here are some of the more common usage examples:
If you have children who are currently sharing a room, but could benefit from having their own space, a loft conversion can be a great way to give them each their own space and privacy.
Bedroom with ensuite
Another option with a loft conversion is to use the new additional space for a master bedroom, complete with a new ensuite.
Your new loft space could also be used for a dedicated play room. Providing your children with a space to enjoy themselves.
With more and more of us either working from home every day of the week, or at least part of the week, having an office space at home to call your own can make a lot of sense.
What’s the process of getting my loft converted?
The loft conversion process itself is complicated and requires the installation of new ceilings, beams and floorboards. Additionally, you will need to install new roof and skylight systems and replace any existing roof insulation.
If you are not planning on using an architect, it is advisable to seek the help of a company that has experience in the loft conversion process. Here at Lofts Kitchens our experienced team of builders and designers have many years of experience creating new spaces for happy clients.
The work involved in creating a loft conversion typically includes cutting through the rafters, installing new joists, and putting in new floor and ceiling boards. Once this is completed, the company you’re working with will complete any necessary plumbing and electrical work and install new skylight systems. Once these are complete you can install drywall and finish the loft.
How much does a loft conversion cost?
There are many factors that will determine the total price of your loft conversion. For example, the size and shape of the area to be converted, the existing structure, the dimensions and type of window(s) in place, whether the area is new or old, the availability of the materials and of course, your budget.
Our loft conversions typically run from £20,000 – £50,000, with the price depending on the factors above and also the specification of the fixtures and fittings that you decide to go for.
Book an initial consultation with a member of our Bristol team
If you’d like to discuss a loft conversion project that you’re planning with a member of our team, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 002 9541 or by sending us an email.
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Loft Conversions in Bristol
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