With the cost of moving home running into many thousands of pounds, it’s not surprising that many families are opting to move up instead of moving on, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Converting your loft is certainly a job for the professionals, but if you get it right you not only gain a fabulous light-filled space, you could also get a handsome return on your investment when you sell. According to the FMB a loft extension can add up to 15% to the value of your property.
Can you stand up?
Is your loft suitable for conversion? The easiest way to tell is to see if you can stand upright at its highest point, as this needs to be at least 2.3m.
Even if you can stand up, a dormer window extension will maximise headroom throughout the space. Planning requirements often mean that this is put at the back of the house so it doesn’t change the house’s appearance from the street.
For this reason, roof windows are commonly used at the front to provide light and ventilation.
Don’t get into hot water
Most people convert their loft to add an extra bedroom and bathroom to their home.
The layout will largely be dictated by the position of the staircase and plumbing arrangements for the bathroom, as Cornwall Loft Conversion Specialists will explain: “It can be difficult to put the bathroom at the front of the house as you have to run a soil pipe to the back of the building where the existing bathrooms and toilets are situated. You’ll also need to consider the hot water and heating system. The boiler may not be capable of heating the extra space or providing enough hot water for the extra bathroom.”
It’s all in the planning
There are also structural considerations. New beams will be needed in the roof and in the new floor to take the floor weight and strengthen the roof when the existing rafters are removed.
If you live in a terraced or semi-detached house this work will probably require a Party Wall agreement with your neighbours. This refers to walls, ceilings or floors which are shared with other properties.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) has explanatory information for householders which is available free of charge (see contacts).
The good news is that planning permission is not always necessary, but as with any extension work, you should contact your local planning office and ask if the work can be done within what is known as, permitted development.