As house prices rise, and families grow, a loft conversion is a popular option to extend the size of your home, increase the equity in your property, and perhaps see a sizeable return on investment!
But with any major construction work, there are always pros and cons to consider – such as how much time the extension will take to build, concerns about planning permission, and factoring in the dust and chaos. Let’s look a little deeper (or perhaps, higher!) into the advantages of a loft conversion, how you can utilise your building best, and what sort of loft design would enhance the feel and flow of your home.
What Is a Loft Conversion?
It sounds like a silly question; but in reality, multiple types of renovation can transform an empty attic area into an integral space in your property.
The three main styles of loft conversion, all carried out by Pinnacle Works, include:
- Dormer window construction – a dormer window extends outwards from your roofline, in a box shape that increases the width, head height and light in your attic.
- Mansard loft conversions – this type of extension increases the height of your external wall, usually on a shared partition with a neighbouring property, and builds outwards to increase the size of your loft space.
- Hip to gable construction projects – lift the outer edge of a sloping roof, raising the height in line with your highest eaves, to create a vertical wall where the old roof sloped down to meet the building.
For a simple conversion, installing a dormer window, adding a staircase and insulating the walls and floors will create a new, usable space within your property. A conversion such as a hip to gable roof extension can deliver a completely new floor, so there are plenty of options to think about!
Loft Conversion or Building Extension?
If you’re looking for ways to increase your living space, without the costs and stress of moving and having to put your property on the market, you might be stumped in deciding whether an extension or loft conversion is the right way to go. For example, a side return extension builds outwards into the space running down the side of your home, and a rear-facing conversion could be a one-storey conservatory or a full two-storey extension.
It all depends on what you want to use the space for, what sort of capacity you have on the land within your property boundaries – and, of course, how far your budget will stretch.
Loft conversions tend to be the most cost-effective option, and are ideal for terraced properties, or those without extensive land to build on. They are also an excellent option for homeowners who want to expand their home, without eating into valuable garden space!
Key Benefits of Converting Your Loft
In return for the time, cost, and upheaval of a loft conversion, you’re going to want to be sure that the effort has a just reward – and we know this simple construction project transforms a property!
Some of the top benefits of converting your loft include:
- Space, space, space! Most of us could do with more room to stretch, and with increasing numbers of people in the UK working from home, an attic is a prime opportunity to create a cosy home office without impacting on family life.
- Having an extra room, or an entire floor, to expand into, means a bigger house, without impacting your layout, sacrificing any garden space, or encroaching on neighbouring properties (we all want to live harmoniously next to our neighbours!).
- Adding value to your property. The average loft conversion adds around 20% to the value of your property – according to research conducted by Nationwide Building Society.
So – not only do you get more space, an extra room, a larger house, and save building on any outdoor land, but you also add value to your property. An attic conversion makes your home more saleable and with a competitive edge over other local property listings if you do ever decide to relocate!
What Can I Use a Loft Conversion For?
There are multiple ways you can purpose a loft conversion; and again, it all depends on your needs and those of your family.
Popular options are:
- Home office – away from the hustle and bustle of family life!
- Additional bedroom, guest bedroom, or ensuite.
- Children’s playroom or games room.
- Storage space, or a dressing room.
- Larger bathroom.
One thing worth noting here is that if you decide to use a loft conversion as an additional bedroom, you’ll need to think about planning permission. We’ll explain this in a bit more detail below, but if the extension is ‘habitable accommodation’ it’s less likely to be considered Permitted Development.
That said, the cost of a loft conversion – typically between £20,000 and £60,000 depending on the structure, materials, size and design – is often quickly repaid by the increase in your property value. If you compare those costs and return on investment with the expense of relocating, and the uplift cost on purchasing a property with an additional bedroom, the idea of a loft conversion becomes even more appealing!
Do I Need Planning Permission?
Happily, most of the time, you don’t. Permitted Development rules mean that you can make renovations and changes to your property, without formal planning permission, provided they fall within a set of criteria.
If your loft conversion meets these rules, you are likely to be able to build under PD rights:
- Doesn’t change the exterior of your property.
- Increases the sidewall for a hip to gable conversion.
- Creates less than 40 cubic metres of additional space
- Has obscure glazing on any windows.
Where planning permission is required; say your building will change in appearance, or the additional space will constitute an extension, then Pinnacle Works is on hand to provide support throughout the application process. Planning Permission isn’t a reason not to proceed with a building renovation project either – but it’s wise to build in a few weeks to work through the process, and not to begin any work on your extension until all the approvals have been confirmed!
Does a Loft Conversion Impact the Insulation of my Property?
One of the lesser-known positives of converting your attic is that you often increase the thermal value of your house – rather than making it less energy-efficient, which is a popular myth!
When you build a new room, or rooms, in your loft space, this includes:
- Adding stable flooring and insulation.
- Installing wiring and pipework as required.
- Creating an access point – usually an additional set of stairs.
Building regulations use a scale called a U-rating to identify the energy efficiency of your property. To achieve a lower U-rating, Pinnacle Works always ensures that your loft conversion includes high-quality insulation between and beneath the rafters, and between the walls and roof. By creating a well-insulated loft space, you avoid heat loss through your attic, as well as reducing energy bills, and adding a soundproofing quality to your new area.
The key to a successful loft conversion is in choosing a design that fits in with the style and shape of your building, meets with your requirements, and creates a seamless addition to your home. For more information about any of the styles of loft conversion mentioned, for an obligation-free quote, or to learn more about the renovation options available, get in touch with the Pinnacle Works team!