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Loft Conversion Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Loft conversions are a perfect way create extra living space. Obviously, it’s easier to remodel than move. Choosing to remodel a space that you love, but which needs a little extra work is often one of the smartest decisions you can make as a homeowner, especially if you love the area you live in but just want a little more from your home. Loft conversions are a fairly easy remodel that can bring a ton of value to your space with less fuss and hassle than you may expect. Let’s take a closer look.

What is a Loft Conversion?

A loft conversion is a stylish, smart way to extend your home without the need for extreme remodelling. Attics can occupy a huge chunk of home space, and are rarely well used. At most, we use it as somewhere to dump our junk. Imagine, instead, a gorgeous new sitting room, a cosy bedroom, or a beautiful sunroom designed to catch the best of the afternoon sunshine perched high in your home.

Loft conversions can be relatively simple or go all-out with full remodels. A lot will depend on the existing space, how the support in your home is designed, and, of course, your own wants and tastes. A skilled architectural firm, however, can make even a smaller loft shine.

What Are the Benefits of Loft Conversion?

By increasing usable space, you also add value and curb appeal to your home, and in the current market that’s a win-win too. Think of it as a fun way to, quite literally, find cash in the attic!

That said, it’s not as easy as simply repainting a room, and will run a solid price tag. So what reasons are there to consider a loft conversion over other ways of improving your living space?

Obviously, the major drawcard is the usable space it creates. From giving older children private space to creating hobby rooms or simply more living space, it’s a great way to renovate and extend your home without all of the work some other remodels can require. Depending on your area, it can also be a great way to add a view to your home, or even to bring natural daylight into a smaller home. Natural lighting has become one of the most desirable features in a home over the last decade, and also contributes to running a greener home.

As soon as you enhance a home, you increase its value, too. The square footage increases, and you’ve created a stand-out feature that makes your home memorable and desirable. It’s also common- although not guaranteed- for loft conversions to not need planning permission, so they can be easier to set in motion than other remodelling projects. Provided you don’t need to attempt items such as raising ceiling heights, they’re also quicker and relatively painless as home improvement projects go, especially in the hands of a skilled professional team. Plus, you lose the incentive to hoard junk in the roof!

What Types of Loft Conversion Are There?

There are three key types of loft conversion you can consider. Which is right for you will depend on several factors, including:

  • Your roof type,
  • Your budget,
  • Intended use.

Velux (Internal) Conversions

Internal conversions are the most cost-effective, and involve very little alteration of the existing structure. Additions could include new roof windows, wall treatments, and flooring alongside insulation and reinforcement. Larger spaces might be subdivided into two (or more) rooms.

In the UK we call them Velux conversions after the most popular style of window used in these conversions. Velux windows are wide, letting in tons of light, but weatherproof and reliable for use in Velux conversions. 

Dormer Conversions

In a Dormer conversion, you add dormer windows to the roof, which builds in extra space where you don’t have a lot of natural room in your attic area. They allow you to build a space that offers full head clearance, so it’s fantastic where you’re making an office or bedroom. With planning permission, they can even be added to the side or front of a property, but are a little more intensive in work than the internal conversion. Single and double dormer conversions exist, and you can even create L-shaped dormer conversions.

Roof-Off Conversions

As the name implies, this is the most intensive type of loft conversion there is, and it is more comparable to other building renovations. The extra work can pay big dividends, however, especially with a professional architectural design and skilled build team. There’s many styles of roof-off conversion, from replacing the slope of the roof with the new space (something like a dormer conversion, but larger) to adding a prefabricated loft space to the home.

1)    Mansard Conversions

One of the most common types of this conversion is the Mansard conversion. Typically built at the back of the home, this creates a horizontal roof and near vertical wall to the loft conversion, jutting out in replacement of the original roof space. It’s a single, rectangular, and boxy loft conversion.

2)    Hip-to-Gable Conversions

Hip-to-gable loft conversions are fantastic for semi-detached properties where there is already a hipped roof. Here the hip will be extended from the ridgeline to instead create a gable (hence the name). From there on out, the space is recreated into something of a rear Dormer. This is a great way to boost floor space alongside head height, and is one of the most common types of loft conversions in the UK as a great balance of hard work and result.

 Roof-off conversions like Mansard and Hip-to-Gable can add a lot of value and space to a home, but will also need intense home remodelling and have a lot more associated inconvenience during the build. The results may be worth it, however.

Choosing the Right Architectural Firm

It’s probably obvious at this point that, while a loft conversion can be a very valuable addition to a home, it’s not a weekend DIY project. It’s also a smart idea to not go straight to a building firm for this, as you need smart design work that works with the shape of your home and its existing structure to create something smooth, seamless, and as hassle-free as possible. The larger the job, the more important that becomes.

Recommendations have long been the core of finding a reliable architectural partner, and for good reason. Don’t be shy to let family and friends know you’re on the hunt for a great firm, and make use of online resources too. If someone in your neighbourhood has already had a conversion done, don’t be shy to ask who did it and what their experience was like.

A loft conversion is a great way to make the most of the home you already have. As we enter an era where working from home is becoming more common, it also helps you create a private work or play space from ‘dead space’ within your home, without the hassle of a full-scale remodel.