Here at Ensure Construction, loft conversions are one of our most requested services, and with good reason. They’re a great way of adding extra space, personality and, crucially, value to your home without a lot of the hassle that comes along with traditional home extensions.
This guide aims to answer every question you may have about converting your loft. Our Ensure team have over 20 years of experience, and in that time have heard a huge range of questions about best practices, legalities, processes and how best to make use of your new found space. So without further ado, let’s get started!
Can I convert my loft?
One of the most commonly asked questions we get is whether a loft can be converted at all, and in the vast majority of cases, the answer is yes!
The first major consideration of whether a loft can be converted is space. Naturally, if you’ve got a very small loft, the viability of converting a loft may be affected, although there’s always the possibility of extending your roof to create more room.
Realistically speaking, the question shouldn’t really be “can I convert my loft?” In most instances, it’s better to ask: “should I convert my loft?” Almost any loft can be converted, but in a small number of cases the potential benefits can be outweighed by the amount of work, time and money that would go into the enterprise.
One of the leading prompts of this questions is the thought of planning permission. One of the reasons that loft conversions are so attractive to building an outward extension on a home is they often afford you a similar amount of addition space without the potentially time-consuming process of applying for the council’s permission to undertake the work.
There are exceptions made for where you’re making substantial alterations to the roof of your property, but for small changes and for conversions that are solely internal, there’s generally no requirement to apply for planning permission. You can find information on what exactly constitutes requiring planning permission when it comes to loft conversions here.
Of course, another consideration is the space you have to work with. If you’re set against applying for planning permission, then consider the following when deciding if the space in your loft is going to make sense as a conversion:
- How much headroom is there? Does the shape of the roof require you to constantly keep ducking and diving in order to move around the room?
- Will the roof require any modifications or insulating? Insulation in particular can add a surprising amount of depth to a roof, so bear that in mind if you’re already struggling for space before insulating.
- Similarly, if you’re anticipating putting carpeting in your loft conversion, remember this can have a surprising impact on the amount of headroom you’ll have. This is particularly true if your loft currently has no flooring whatsoever. Many lofts have exposed beams and nothing else; in this case, you’ll need to factor in both the flooring and the carpet.
How much should a loft conversion cost?
With such a wide range of conversion options available, and such a natural variation in the specifications and dimensions of the space, it’s very difficult to offer a useful average figure. However, by breaking down the costs of the individual components and aspects of a conversion, you can gain an understanding of the sort of pricing you can expect to encounter.
The basics of a conversion will often include:
- Roof reinforcements
- A staircase to access the loft
- Whether this is a fixed staircase or a slide down ladder can have a significant bearing on costs.
- A skylight
- While not an absolute necessity, it is often hard to imagine just what an impact not having a source of natural light in a room has – because almost all of your rooms will have them!
However, as with any building project, the only limit to what you can do is your imagination. Some of the most common additions to the basic requirements outlined above are:
- Dormer loft extension
- Completely altering the roof structure for added headroom
- Partition walls
- Ensuite bathroom
Another potential consideration of cost comes with a conversion that involves essentially replacing the roof. If you and your family are currently living in the property, there may be a period in which you’ll need to make alternative living arrangements. Be sure to factor this into your initial budget.
Of course, if you’re based in the North London area and want a more precise answer to this question, feel free to get in touch with us for a free quotation!
How long does a loft conversion take?
As with the question of cost, there’s unfortunately no definitive answer on how long a loft conversion should take.
If you’re avoiding any major work to your home, such as adding in a dormer extension or restructuring your roof entirely, then a loft conversion can be a relatively quick job, only taking several weeks. It can also be done without work that would make the house uninhabitable for a period, which is an added bonus.
The age of the home, the current state of the loft and the requirements for the new space are all further factors to take into consideration when planning the best moment in which to carry out your conversion. Call us today so we can help you more accurately predict how long your conversion project will take.
What is the best use of a loft conversion?
The classic use for a loft conversion is as an additional bedroom, and in many ways, this is the best option. Many prospective buyers searching for homes make the number of bedrooms a home has one of their key search criteria.
Bedrooms are also a great way of adding value to a property. Not only are they an important potential addition to your home in their own right, but they’re also very versatile, and can be changed to suit a new owner’s needs relatively easily.
However, many homeowners think of their loft conversion as little more than an investment, rather than an extension of the home’s potential while they still live there. Many households don’t need an extra bedroom, so why turn the loft into one?
Instead, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to how to use your loft conversion. The natural light that your loft conversion can bring in makes it an ideal room for relaxation and reading. Why not take a cue from one trend that’s certain to keep growing and make it a tech-free room? On the other hand, you could take the opposite route and take advantage of the loft’s natural distance from key living areas such as the kitchen to turn it into an immersive mini cinema! Yet another option, if you’re someone who loves to exercise but can’t quite bring yourself to step out the door on frosty winter mornings, is to turn your loft into a home gym! Your loft has a whole host of possibilities.
Naturally these options won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but as long as you’re not making drastic or permanent alterations to the space, there’s no need to worry too much about the long term impact on value your use of the room may have.
How much value can a loft conversion add to my home?
As with the cost of the conversion itself, there’s no steadfast rule for how much value a loft conversion will add to your home. The area you live in, the number of bedrooms you already have, the number of similar nearby properties with existing loft conversions – they all factor into how much money your investment could ultimately be worth.
Perhaps the best guideline you can obtain is by finding the average price difference in your area between homes with the number of bedrooms you currently have, and those with the number that you would have if you were to convert your loft.
According to ThisIsMoney, in 2015, the difference between a two- and three-bedroom house in London was over £150,000, while the same conversion in Scotland would have led to a £45,000 increase in a property’s value.
By following the same methodology with your location, you can gain a better understanding of just how much value you could be adding to your property.