Homes in the UK may be increasing in value, but they are also decreasing in size. With the growing trend of making office space in Weybridge or other places, homes are becoming less valuable. However, you can easily increase both the value and size of your home by implementing a loft bedroom in your attic.
Do you constantly struggle to find free space in your home? Have you thought about getting rid of some of the clutter in your loft and converting it into a bedroom? Well, it may sound difficult but it’s definitely not impossible.
What Do You Need?
Before you invest emotionally and financially into a loft to bedroom conversion project, you should first do a simple reality check. Is your attic big and tall enough to be a comfortable bedroom? Ian suggests that the loft should have a height of about 2.5m for a modern home with a trussed roof (factory roof) and 2.3m for an older or traditional home with a cut roof (this is a roof made of timber that was cut on-site and assembled to make a series of purlins and rafters that form the roof).
Next, you should check the design of the roof. “A trussed or factory roof is more difficult to convert than a cut roof because each segment is made to fit into a particular position in the structure of the roof,” Ian says. “If the segments are changed in any way, there is a huge possibility that the roof may breakdown and collapse like a house of cards. You need to remember this every time you need to convert a loft into a bedroom. It’s always prudent to involve a structural engineer in the exercise.”
There are three different kinds of loft conversions: namely mansard, dormer, and rooflight.
Rooflight Loft Conversions
A rooflight conversion is the cheapest and simplest to undertake because it involves very few modifications to the existing space such as adding windows to the sloping roofs. Harvey Norman Architects will charge you anywhere between £1,200 and £1,500 for every square metre.
Mansard and Dormer Loft Conversions
Most homes that have pitched roofs can have dormer lofts. Dormer lofts are best known for their box-shaped windows. Dormer lofts can significantly increase the amount of floorspace and headspace in your home. These lofts are typically found on the rear ends of homes.
Mansard loft conversions involve replacing one or both sides of a roof with a totally new structure with steeper slopes and a nearly flat roof. “Mansard loft conversions are used in situations where the original roof was not big or tall enough to accommodate a bedroom,” notes Ian.
Apart from mansard loft conversions, all other types of loft conversions don’t require you to get any special planning permits (unless you want to increase the volume of your roof by more than 50 cubic metres or 40 cubic metres for terraced homes). But, there are still certain rules and regulations that need to be followed such as only using materials that match the current appearance of your home.
Working With Building Codes and Regulations
“Loft conversions must get approval under building regulations, regardless of whether they require planning permits or not,” notes Ian. These regulations cover areas such as sound insulation between the rooms in the house and the new conversion, stair safety, fire precautions, stability of the structure (including the existing roof), strength of the new floor and many others.
“It’s important to get a design plan of the conversion approved before starting the project,” says Ian. “Having your design plan approved will eliminate most of the risks involved in the project. Also, your builder can give you a fixed cost quote rather a rough estimate.”
The building control office will evaluate the project at different stages. When the project is complete, they will issue you with a certificate of completion. You should avoid settling any accounts before getting this certificate.
Alexandra Fry, Senior Designer at John Cullen Lighting says that “Loft bedrooms are not usually very big, and this means that they don’t need a lot of lighting. The secret is to find ways to fit discreet lights into clever spaces such as shelves, skirting and joinery.”