Loft conversions are great because they offer you the opportunity to increase the space in your house without having to move. They can often make the world of difference for anyone with a growing family, as well as satisfying the need for an at-home workspace, or simply the desire for a little more room to spread out in.
Converting the attic can also be a great way to increase the value of your home. Building an extra bedroom or bathroom, or creating a large, open plan kitchen area, can add thousands of pounds to the sale price of a house. But there are a number of important considerations if you’re planning on taking this step in your own home, and in the first part of our Home Improvement series, we take a look at how to go about it.
Planning permission is paramount. The rules have changed recently, however, meaning that it’s easier than ever to do a loft conversion. Most home-owners can now go ahead with their conversions without planning permission in the UK, but there are still rules and regulations surrounding development and conversions. According to planningportal.gov.uk, there is a volume allowance of 40 cubic metres for terraced houses, which is increased to 50 cubic metres for detached and semi-detached houses, and similar materials to that of the existing building must be used. However, if you live in a listed building, or think you may be living in a conservation area, you must be sure to investigate more around the matter of planning permission.
Other questions to think about are the size and capabilities of your current loft. Get up in there before even approaching a contractor or architect and nose around with a torch and tape measure. At the very least, you need to be sure you have a ceiling height of 2.3 metres. Dormer windows can also be added to give you nice bit of extra headroom as well.
Is it worth adding a bathroom up there? It may be that you want to extend into the roof purely for the extra bathroom, but you need to be sure that you have the capabilities to even build one in the roof. It may be that your system won’t be able to cope with the extra pressure to feed water up another floor, in which case you may need a pump in order to do so. Choosing to have a bathroom in a loft conversion often dictates the entire layout and floor plan of the extension.
You need headroom in a bathroom, especially if you’re planning on having a shower stall, but it also needs to be placed as close as possible to the waste pipe. An easy way to determine where a bathroom in a loft should go is to work out whether or not it’s possible for it to sit directly above the current family bathroom. If there isn’t the space to do this, you may have to reconsider your plans for a loft bathroom.
Once all the planning is done, however, the real fun can start. Remember to take into consideration insulation and sound proofing if necessary, and be sure to take on a builder you trust, as this is a big job for anyone. Another thing to remember to do is to let us know you’re converting your loft so we can ensure your home insurance policy covers the extra room. But once you’ve done all this, all that remains is to think about how to decorate your own personal castle in the sky.
Stay tuned for the second part of our Home Improvement series, in which we’ll be giving you some tips on how to convert your garage.
Image credit – loft conversion design by www.curtiswoodarchitects.com on Flickr