Your DIY guide to a loft conversion

If you’ve been living in your home a while now you’ll probably have been thinking about moving or extending the property.

When you consider your options it’s likely a conservatory or full house extension is high on the list.

But one area that many people overlook is the loft and the potential to unlock fantastic space to enjoy in any way you want.

With a loft conversion you can add an extra bedroom or bathroom to your home, or perhaps utilise the area for any other purpose.

Loft conversion benefits

There are a number of brilliant reasons to give a loft conversion serious consideration.

  • Increase home value: By converting your loft you’ll add more living space. Research shows you can increase the property value by over 20%
  • Cost effective: Converting your loft is a third cheaper than moving to a house with an extra room
  • Get extra living space in the home without disrupting everyday life as a conservatory or extension would
  • Planning permission is generally not needed
  • You won’t have to use up valuable garden space in the same way an extension would
  • It won’t take you endless months to complete and will be finished in between 5 and 8 weeks.

Do you have to worry about restrictions?

The good think with converting your loft as opposed to extending the property is you’ll encounter fewer restrictions. First and foremost, in many cases planning permission won’t come into effect. In layman’s terms, if you can measure 2.3m from the floor to the roof in the tallest part of your loft space and half of the loft area is this height then a loft conversion is good to go. Also remember, the higher the roof, the more suitable the loft is for a conversion.

What’s always best though is to double check with your local council via the planning officer. The last thing you want to do is miss any regulations that are confined to your area.

Building Regulations

A common mistake made by homeowners is believing planning permission and Building Regulations to be the same thing. They are completely different and Building Regulations always need to be adhered to.

The first thing to bear in mind is that if you’re converting the space into a bedroom, bathroom or other living space, you’ll require a permanent staircase. Building Regulations also cover things such as energy efficiency, ventilation, fire safety and lighting. That’s why it’s sensible to find out all the information you need to before starting with the conversion.

The Government’s planning portal is a handy website to check where you’ll find all the rules and regulations in one place.

Always expect the unexpected

It’d be lovely if everything did run smoothly and without any problems. But when has that ever happened before? Even if you anticipate your budget to remain intact, it pays to have a little extra money available if you need it.

For instance you may need extra plumbing or heating which can add up in cost. You’ll also need to think about insulation costs. Insulation needs to be between 150 and 250mm thick to ensure you meet thermal, sound and fire regulations.

You’ll also need to consider what windows you want in the conversion. Velux are pretty standard and the most popular, but you could also be adventurous with dormer installations. Bear in mind you may require planning permission with a dormer as it’ll change the exterior look.

Your DIY guide to a loft conversion
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Tom Crosswell

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