..... ..... .....
..... ..... .....
...... ......

Loft Conversions: How to Succeed

Before beginning a loft conversion project, it is important to figure out what is involved and what the impact will be on your home.

Below is a list of scenarios and situations that need to be taken into account when deciding if a loft conversion is appropriate for your property and circumstances.

Roof Structure Alterations

The majority of roofs have internal support struts in the loft. These have to be taken out to make way for the new conversion, and will need to be replaced with supports that don’t interfere with available space. The builder will also fit new floor joists alongside the ceiling joists to form the floor structure.

The home’s ability to shoulder the added weight

Adding a loft room and the structural alterations that go with it can also add more weight to the property, so the foundations need to be checked, along with any lintels or beams that will be required to carry more weight. If the house needs underpinning for added support, your budget could potentially double.

Building Regulations and Partitions

Loft conversions always require Building Regulations approval, so get your scheme approved before engaging a builder. If you live in a semi-detached or terraced house, advise your neighbours of your intention to build, as the Party Wall Act 1996 will likely apply.

Fire Safety

If your loft conversion will turn two storeys into three, there are fire safety measures that will need to be taken. The new floor will require at least 30 minutes of fire protection, a fire door at the top or bottom of the new stairs will have to separate the loft room, and one escape-sized window needs to be in each room.

Loft Staircase

You may need a purpose-built staircase, as it could prove difficult to get furniture up a narrow winding flight. They are an expensive solution, being about ten times the price of off-the-shelf designs, and the design may have to be approved by Building Control beforehand.

 

Specialists in Construction Insurance

Post-conversion head height and space

Ask your designer how much headroom the loft will have after the conversion: a lot of homeowners have been disappointed in this regard. A sealed system may have to replace your heating and hot water set-up due to lack of available roof space, so you will have to find somewhere to install and store it.

Windows and Access to Natural Light

Skylight windows are relatively easy to fit, as they don’t require a lot of structural alterations. Dormer windows, however, will require planning permission if you want to install them at the front of the house. Because they maximise the headroom and provide usable space, the added steps of obtaining the necessary permission can be worth it.

Storage

Loft conversions entail loss of storage space, but you can have roll-out bins made to fit the eaves behind the ashlering. Built-in wardrobes are also excellent storage options in loft bedrooms.

Insulation Against Heat Loss and Sound

Loft conversions can be tricky to insulate. Insulation will need to be cut and fitted between the ceiling rafters as well as on top of them. Make it as thin as possible, so plasterboard can be fixed to the rafters through the bottom layer.

Soundproofing the new floor is easily achieved by positioning a mineral fibre quilt between the joists. Use the denser version, not the lighter thermal insulation type.

Topic:

Stay Updated

Join our email list to receive useful tips, practical technical information and construction industry news by email. Relevant to everyone in the industry. Your details will be shared with no one else.