A loft conversion will give you a lot more space in your home; it will provide you with more value, too – perhaps as much as 20 percent over the standard market value. Not only that, but a loft conversion means that you don’t have to move to a new house if you don’t want to; you can simply make the one you’re in more comfortable and user-friendly for you and your family.
It’s clear that there are many benefits to having a loft conversion, but there are also lots of things to consider before you go ahead with one. You wouldn’t want to spend all that time, effort, and money, not to mention the disruption a loft conversion will cause while it’s being done, only to find you forget one important element or neglected to think about something crucial. Read on to discover what you’ll need to think about before getting a loft conversion to ensure you get it right the first time.
Most people assume that getting a loft extension is simply about adding more space to your existing property. However, what they don’t consider when deciding that this is a great idea is that it will add extra weight to your property, which means you need to be sure that your home’s structural integrity is sound.
The best way to do this is to have an expert check your foundations. They’ll need to check the strength and the depth of the foundations because it is the foundation that is going to be carrying the extra weight of a loft conversion. It might not seem like a lot of extra weight, but even the smallest increase can make a big difference.
If the building’s foundations need to be underpinned to support your loft conversion, you’ll need to add a significant amount of money to your budget.
Some lofts are smaller than others, and because of this, some lofts won’t make good loft conversions, at least when we’re talking about height. The minimum height from the floor to the tallest part of the roof must be 2.2m since this will make the room usable and fit for human habitation. Anything less than this height may require additional work, and again this will add to the loft conversion cost. Don’t forget that other essential elements within your loft can take up a lot of your space, such as water tanks and hot water heaters. You’ll also need a staircase – a proper one, not just a ladder – to get up there. Taking all this into account means you might not have as much space as you thought you would.
This is why it’s best to speak to an expert such as those at Touchstone Lofts; without expert advice before you get started, it could be that mistakes are made, and money is spent when it shouldn’t be, and you’ll find plenty of information at touchstonelofts.co.uk.
It might not feel like it, but a loft conversion is only considered to be a minor home improvement meaning that planning permission isn’t usually required (although this will depend on the size of the extension and should be checked just to make sure). However, you’ll need to comply with any building regulations, and having your project approved before you start is always the best option. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Although you can start the project without having approval from building regulations, having this approval means that there is far less risk involved in the loft conversion. You should be prepared for a building inspector to come round at various stages of the build to ensure that you’re doing everything right.
Windows and Natural Light
One of the great things about having a loft conversion is that, when it comes to making provisions to include plenty of natural light, there isn’t usually a lot of work to do. You’re already on the roof of the property, and adding windows isn’t a difficult addition, but it can make a huge amount of difference in the room itself, turning it from a dark loft space into an area you could imagine using in your day-to-day life.
Skylights are very popular when it comes to loft conversions because they don’t require any special casings or the shape of the roof to be changed. Instead, they can be added to a slanted roof and will give you all the natural light you might need. Some skylights can even be opened (either mechanically or electronically), so you can get good airflow during the summer (remember, heat rises, and the loft conversion may become the warmest room in the house which isn’t always a good thing – anything you can do to prevent this is a good idea).
No matter what kind of window you choose, you’ll need to ensure that natural light is allowed for comfort, safety, and compliance with the building regulations.
All safety precautions must be considered at all stages of the loft conversion, and when it comes to fire safety, this is perhaps the most important of all. Adding an extra storey onto a property will come with all kinds of different safety regulations, and fire has to be a consideration. Whereas you might be able to escape from a two-storey building that was on fire, could the same be said of a three-storey one?
Make sure that all fire safety regulations are followed when having your loft conversion installed. This will include escape routes and the materials used, and the safety measures added, such as fire doors and smoke alarms.
You might not think that the stairs are going to cause you very many problems when it comes to converting your loft into a usable space, but they do need a lot of thinking about, and they can be one of the more complicated aspects of your loft conversion.
The main issue is that you’ll need to place them in a way that gives you good access to both the loft room and the area below, and this can take up much more space than you thought it would. Even if you decide to use narrow stairs, is that going to be enough space to get all the furniture up there that needs to go?
Whatever you decide, remember that you do need a permanent set of stairs that are safe to use when you have a loft conversion. If you don’t and you only use a ladder, for example, then the room can’t be called a room, and you won’t get the value from it when you come to sell – plus, it won’t be safe.