Are you thinking of taking the plunge and extending up into your loft? If so, you might be aware that converting your loft costs an average of £40,000. As that’s a significant amount of money, you really want to get it right. Any slip up could be costly to put right and if you want to boost the value of your home through your conversion, you need to avoid some common design pitfalls. Here’s ten mistakes you should avoid when converting your loft.
Neglecting to hire an architect
Architect services do cost a significant amount of money. So, you can’t blame people for trying to reduce costs by not hiring one. However, having to undo design mistakes is likely to be more costly. Getting all the design details right, including structural and building regulation requirements, is priceless. Therefore, a good loft conversion needs an architect.
Not deciding on the function of your loft straight away
Before you start any form of planning or hiring of architects, you need to sit down and work out exactly what function you want the loft conversion to perform. Without this, you can’t tailor your design or come up with an accurate budget. The function of a loft conversion informs everything from the number of windows and plug sockets to the type of flooring and furnishings you need.
Overlooking your home insurance
Whenever you’re having building work done on your home, it’s important to update your insurer. Not doing so could mean they won’t pay out if anything goes wrong. But with so much to think about, it’s easy to overlook the paperwork. So, make sure you put this step at the top of your loft conversion to-do list.
Putting stairs in the wrong position
Where you decide to position the staircase to your loft needs careful consideration. But all too often, people fail to consider all the different options carefully. Head height restrictions may seem limiting, but there’s often a simple solution to make things work. This might be turning the staircase around or adding a dormer window at the top. This could help you minimise the space it takes up.
Failing to maximise the space
Failing to maximise your available space is another big mistake to avoid. In terms of staircases, this could be making sure it enters the loft on one side rather than in the centre of the room, so it isn’t hogging useful space. If head height is low, it’s worth considering raising the roof or doing a Mansard conversion. If it’s floorspace that’s tight, building in your wardrobes and storage could help.
Forgetting to factor in heating
When you’re using a loft conversion for anything other than storage, heating is important. But simply extending it from your existing boiler could put a strain on the system. So, you need to find a solution that works, even if that means completely upgrading your home’s central heating. It’s also wise to decide whether traditional radiators are the best option. Underfloor heating could provide a more comfortable warmth and it won’t use up valuable wall space.
Not insulating and soundproofing walls
When you’re converting a loft, the roof and floors usually need some additional work including strengthening joists and adding insulation. But it’s easy to forget to give the walls the same amount of attention. Not continuing the insulation around the walls can drastically reduce thermal efficiency and not soundproofing the party wall can prove an annoyance to you and your neighbours.
Getting the bathroom layout wrong
A bathroom in a loft conversion is usually handy but it’s so easy to get the layout wrong. Tucking it away under the eaves can save space but it can make baths and showers awkward to use. Leading to family members crouching when they’re showering and needing to duck to avoid beams. You might find yourself struggling for flexibility due to plumbing limitations but speak to a knowledgeable plumber and you’ll probably find a way around these issues.
Leaving out ventilation
A good loft conversion should be well insulated to keep the warmth in, but doing so also keeps moisture in. So, you need as good a ventilation system as you do heating. If you’re installing a bathroom, you need to make sure there’s an openable window or an extractor fan otherwise you’re going to have damp and mould problems.
Not choosing additional extras for your roof lights
Velux and other types of roof light are commonly installed in loft conversions as they’re a cost-effective way to bring in some natural light. But it’s a mistake not to consider how you’re going to block the light out. So, don’t forget to get specialist blinds or shutters included with your installation. You should also consider options such as solar or electric opening and closing mechanisms, and rain sensors to stop you accidentally leaving them open during bad weather.