A loft conversion is a fantastic way of
creating extra room for your growing family or providing extra space when
friends and relatives want to come and stay.
Converting these dormant spaces is much more cost effective than moving house and means you can expand your living space while staying in the home you love while adding value to your home.
A quality loft conversion from Carl Winn Joinery can bring your dreams into your reality. Just think, that empty space full of dusty boxes could be transformed into;
• A luxury master bedroom suite
• An additional house bathroom
• Extra bedrooms
• Home office
• Home gym
• Home studio
A loft conversion, when thoughtfully designed, can easily become a fully integrated new space.
Carl Winn Joinery provide custom stair cases, dormer windows, custom loft furniture, clever storage solutions that utilise any ‘dead space’ and beautifully crafted wooden windows, doors and flooring to ensure your loft or attic space is transformed to the highest design specifications.
Carl Winn Joinery has trade partner links with all building trades to be able to provide you with a complete service. We can arrange all trades on your behalf and fully project manage the complete build. We are also happy to recommend trades people to you from our network of trade partners.
It is the responsibility of the home owner to check with their local authority planning department to see if planning permission or building regulations apply to the proposed build.
To discuss how we can help you transform your home, please get in touch with us for a site visit or a no obligation quote.
The loft or attic in your property is one of the areas that is most often overlooked; it is very much out of sight out of mind. Most loft spaces only seem to get used to stash the Christmas decorations and boxes of things we no longer use but may need in the future.
While there is much to be said for the availability of such a large area of storage space, it also seems a waste of potential living space.
Some lofts have a good amount of headspace in the apex of the roof but have a roof slope that minimises the amount of useable space, the addition of dormer windows can increase the amount of usable floor area, and Velux™ windows can help create a light an airy environment. You may feel that larger structural changes would be the best way forward to meet the requirement of increasing living space without needing to move to a new house. To fully utilise the space, storage can be built into the eaves to maximise the potential of your loft conversion, bespoke furniture and cupboards can mean that every inch of space can be used to maximise the benefit of investing in your home.
Most attics or lofts are perfectly suited to be repurposed for a wide range of uses. Lofts are a great space for creating work areas, hobby rooms, extra bedrooms for a growing family or guests, or maybe even a luxurious master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and dressing room.
There are many considerations to shape your decision to extend ‘upwards’, some of the most frequently asked questions are addressed below.
Planning permission is not usually required for loft conversions as they come under ‘Permitted Development Rights’, however, there are strict rules around not extending the original height of the existing roofline, or renovation work within houses that are comprised of flats for example. So, the best advice is to check out the latest legislation for when you do, and donot, need to get permission. You can find out about the latest legislation from the main UK government website which has an extensive section on planning permission, your local council will also be able to give you the most relevant information for your localarea.
If dormer windows are being considered then planning permission will usually be required as the volume of the attic space is being increased, or if windows are being proposed that may overlook a neighbouring property planning permission may well be required. Before you start on any construction work in your home, it is advisable to contact your local authority planning department to have an informal chat about your proposed work. Taking a few moments out in the early stages, can save a lot of frustration, unnecessary stress, and money- especially if you go ahead with work without the necessary permissions in place and are then ordered to reinstate the space back to its original condition.
When adding or altering a space to create more living space, or changing the use to residential, the work will need to meet building regulations criteria. These regulations are aimed at ensuring all work conforms to the highest health and safety standards, and that is it completed by competent tradespeople and individuals. Sometimes it is really tempting to only take advice from friends and family that have experience of converting their own home, however well-intentioned this advice may be, and it may be absolutely spot on, it is still always worth making that call or sending that email to the planning office, and the building control office that oversees building regulations for your local area. Once all your permissions have been sought and agreed, don’t forget you will also need to apply for a permit for skips, hippobags, and skip bags unless you are placing them on private land- these can take a few days to be granted don’t get caught out and receive a fine because the skip company delivers a skip before you have the permit in place.
There are different ways to approach converting your attic space, and the affordability of each type is related to the amount of work and complexity each one entails.
Roof light conversion is the easiest and most economic attic conversion style. Roof light windows, such as Velux™, are fitted to lay flush into the existing roof line to provide light. This type of conversion solution is best suited where there is ample headroom in the existing loft space or where there are planning constraints or restrictions.
Dormer conversions are one of the best ways to convert attic space under a pitched roof and there are many style variations that can add space and character to your home. Dormer extensions can consist of just one dormer, multiple dormers, and even wrap around L-shaped dormers - these are often possible on homes that have an existing extension already creating an L-shape such as mid terrace houses.Dormer extensions can usually be fitted to the rear of a property under permitted developmentrights, but dormers to the front of a property will most probably require planning permission.
Hip to gable conversions are one of the most suitable conversion stylesfor properties that have a sloping side (hipped) roof- a vertical wall is built up where the hip roof section has been removed, right up to the height of the ridge of the roof to create a gable end, this really opens up the attic space to give much more usable floor space and head height; detached houses and houses with multiple hips can benefit from a double hip to gable conversion to really add internal space and external remodelling.
Mansard Conversion- this is where the roof angle is altered to create an almost vertical profile, then the wall is raised to an angle of around 72°and the top of the roof is flattened to create height and space. To help visualise this, the finished extension slightly resembles a dormer that covers the entire side of the roof and which reaches the top of the roof line.
The cost of an attic or loft conversion varies on the size and complexity of the job, and the quality of materials used.All conversion options will require structural work, electrical installations, a source of heating, fire safety measures, and cosmetic finishes. The costs of these will dependon the quality of finish, so this is usually down to household budget.
The cheapest option isa roof light conversion as there is minimal structural work beyond the installation of stairs, reinforcement of floors, and the fitting of the windows. Prices for this type of project would start around the £15,000 mark.
Dormer conversions are more complex and require more structural work to be undertaken, these average around £20,000 for a standard loft, but can increase to the region of around £40,000 for a master bedroom with en-suite.
Hip to gable extensions dramatically enlarge the usable space of the loft and are a very popular option for home improvement projects. Prices for these extensions start at around £30,000, but a double hip to gable extension will often come in well under the cost of two single hip to gable extensions.
Mansard extensions are considered to be the high end of loft conversions. These create an amazing amount of space by dramatically altering the structure and shape of the roof and costs start at around £45,000.
Modifying your home is a long-term investment, and careful planning and troubleshooting before starting the project will save time and money further down the road. Adding living space to your property will usually add value as your house offers more resources overall- the extra bedroom, the creative studio space, the luxury sauna, is always going to add appeal to your house.
Property prices within an area, or even just on a street, will have what is known as a ‘ceiling price’- this is the highest price that a similar property in any given location has reached. Investing in extending your home may well place the value of your home over this ceiling price or may elevate it to other comparable properties with the same number of bedrooms, but this is not always the case. When you consider the emotional and financial benefits of staying in your home, avoiding the upheaval of relocation, and being able to remain in your school catchment area etc, the benefits of undertaking a conversion project will usually outweigh the cons.
There are some words of caution though- If you use the cheapest materials, you will save money, but as they say- you get what you pay for. A poorly thought-out conversion, or one completed with cheap materials and finishes will most probably not give you the return on investment you are hoping for. A poor choice of layout, attic access, and finishes can ruin the entire project. Using real wood over particle board on exposed surfaces, investing in quality fixtures and fittings, and not trying to cram too much into a small space can all elevate the finished anaesthetic.
Looking to increase the amount of living space in your home by converting your loft may be a perfect solution to save time and money by being able to stay in your much-loved home, and not have the expense and upheaval of relocating; also, by utilising the space above your heads means that you will not use any garden space as you would with an extension. But loft conversions have several considerations that should be worked through before investing too much time and money in the project. Before starting to look at whether you need to acquire planning permission, listed building consent and any other legislative controls, it is really important to do a thorough audit of what your attic space is offering.
With today’s building processes and wide range of engineering products, it is possible to achieve almost any conversion on any property, however, just because it is possible does not mean it will be easy, financially worth it, or the best option for improving your home. Before you get carried away with mood boards and purchasing soft furnishings it is important to ensure your proposed project could be viable- this will greatly help with formulating a realistic budget for the project and minimise any unexpected problems further down the line.
Start by doing an audit of the existing space- This is a good time to see if you have a modern trussed roof, or a traditional rafter’s type roof. A rafter’s style roof construction is easy to convert as there will be open space already created by the structure, whereas with rafters, more structural work is necessary to create room. Next,assess how high the roof is, the angle of the pitch, and the overall space; the minimum head space you will need at the highest point is between 2.4-2.6 m for a trussed roof, and around 2.2-2.4m for a rafter’s construction. Remember, you will lose much of this measurement with the addition of flooring, overhead insulation, and ceiling boards. Consider where the staircase will go, what about space taken up by a chimney breast, and realistically, do you feel comfortable with the size of the space.
If you are converting a home with a trussed roof, this will need to have structural reinforcement added to distribute weight carried by load bearing walls, the addition of steel beams will add time and cost to the project.
Retractable ladders are not usually considered an appropriate solution for regular attic access. Fire regulations will need to be met to enable a quick and easy exit from the space in case of fire so there needs to be adequate head space above where the staircase will enter the attic- the minimum height requirement above stairs is 2 metres, but as stairs are usually to the side of a room this may locate them under the roof ridge where 2 m may not be possible; also, is there adequate space for the foot of the stairs on the existing landing, or would structural work also be required on the first floor to accommodate an additional staircase? Space saver staircases are perfectly acceptable, but just remember these need to be functional.
Unless you live in a detached house, you will need to ensue you issue your neighbours with a ‘Party Wall Notice’ telling them about the proposed work as some projects may involve work on the wall between the two (or three) properties. Making sure you have notified the neighbouring adjoining houses should help to prevent any disputes once the work is underway- plus, it is the courteous thing to do to maintain neighbourly harmony.
Acoustic insulation or sound proofing will now need to be a consideration. Sound will travel in all directions so thought needs to be given to how to muffle sound- constructing a new space for a teenager’s bedroom in the attic may seem like a good idea, but do you really want to hear them walking overhead at all hours of the day and night, and of course, sounds from the lower floors will travel upwards too…
You will also need to assess what thermal insulation is already being used in the attic, chances are that if the loft space is going to be used for any other purpose than storage that the existing insulation will not be adequate. Energy efficiency is an important factor to save money on fuel, and to be environmentally responsible, however, ventilation will need to be integrated to minimise condensation and poor air quality. Ventilation will usually be adequate from a window or skylight but could also be provided by simple trickle vents and airbricks- if a bathroom, extra shower, or saunais going to be installed in the space then extractor ventilation will also need to be installed.
The loft is often selected as the place to locate water storage tanks and these may need to be relocated or sectioned off as they could have a huge impact on the convenience and amount of useable floor space available. If you are intending to add bathroom facilities you will need to ensure you have access to water and waste services and think carefully about the best placement for these; things to consider are how easily can the soil pipe be integrated into existing domestic facilities andthat additional pumps may be needed to ensure good water pressure.Macerator toilets can provide a good solution to fitting amenities is small areas, but they must be used responsiblyor they can requirefrequent and expensive maintenance and repair from damage caused by flushing anything other than human waste and toilet paper.
None of these issues are reasons to not proceed with a conversion project, but good planning makes for a more successful project so are worth bearing in mind.
We hope this has given you some inspiration for how you can add space and a good return on investment for your next home project. If you are ready to take the next steps, do give us a call and we will be delighted to move your attic extension onto the next phase.