Our conversion plans are as individual as your home. We cater for your needs and budget to create that extra living space – bedroom, bathroom, office, or simply somewhere to relax. Now that the benefits of a loft conversion are clear you may be asking yourself, "Can I have a loft conversion?"
Our experience with local authorities and conversion planning regulations means you can be assured of a hassle-free loft conversion.
At More Than Lofts, we pride ourselves on not only giving you quality and value for money, but that extra luxury which will really make the difference to your home.
Your loft conversion will be professionally managed and usually built within a six-eight week period. Our aesthetically driven loft conversion process aims to open up your horizons to new design potential, working in harmony with the characteristics of the property and clients' personal tastes. We put particular emphasis on creating light, spacious loft conversions.
Loft conversion is an excellent way to maximise your garden space without having to build. Converting gives you a variety of designs to choose from. Moreover, you can save on costs when deciding to convert a loft in terms of adding living spaces within a property. A new room created from loft conversions have the following benefits- it gets a good amount of sunlight throughout the day, acquires a good interior design shape due to the roof, and it automatically shows off some of the best views around the house.
The newly-created roof space can be made into different functions, all according to the homeowner’s needs. It can be made into a self-contained annex, a playroom for children, a home office or even a new master’s bedroom as long as you follow the Building Regulations.
Almost all types of home extensions require building over a garden, but loft conversions are an exception. All you need to complete the conversion is to add a new staircase for the new room. Loft conversions typically take around 4 to 6 weeks to complete. Homeowners can continue to stay in on their home as the new loft is being constructed.
Loft conversion requires careful planning and forethought. You may need to get advice on whether a loft conversion is the best way to convert the extra space, or if the space is suitable for conversion. The most simple loft conversion designs are usually done by the homeowner. You may need to hire a professional structural engineer to see if your home structure can support the load of a new floor. You may also need an expert to draw up technical plans which gets passed on to your preferred builder. That same technical drawing plan must be submitted to the appropriate building control company to make sure it passes Building Regulations.
Is your property ready for a loft conversion? Here’s how you can assess. Measure up your space- it should have an approximate headroom of about 2 to 2.1 metres between the rafters and the joists. When the flooring has been built and your roof insulated, the allowance for headroom should measure up to about 1.9 to 2 metres, which is also the minimum required height for ceilings.
But what if the space isn’t quite enough for a viable loft conversion? There could be other elements to consider. The positioning of the cold water tanks, the roofing truss design or the roof’s height and/or shape can make it difficult to build up a loft. The good thing is that there are design solutions that can make it truly viable. For one, you can have your roof volume increased to create some extra space for the loft conversion.
Remember that you probably won’t need a planning permit for loft conversions, unless you’re also planning to extend your home’s roof space. Any type of roof additions (40m³ in terraces and 50m³ in rear or side roofs) are under the Permitted Development rule, so you don’t need a permit. The Permitted Development also allows for insertion of rooflights as needed. What you need to watch out for are roof alterations and larger extensions where Permitted Development is not allowed (Conservation Areas, etc.)
If you’re planning for loft conversions in listed buildings, you will need a listed building consent. All newly-made side-facing windows should be non-opening and have obscured glazing, unless the window is more than 1.7 metres above the room’s floor where it was installed. You may increase the roof height by about 100mm above the existing roof plane, as stated under Permitted Development. The raising allows for insertion of rooflights and/or additional insulation.
Finally, the newly-created roofing must not be higher than your existing roof. The dormer windows must be set in by 200mm from the verges, unless you plan for a gable-to-gable conversion.
There are many types of conversions, each with their own unique design and how the new living space is created.
This type can be normally found in houses with terraces. The back roof is rebuilt for increasing the pitch as the gable walls are built up. The roof will be placed nearly vertical along the ceiling height, which then forms a wall. It then connect to the ridge at a flat angle, creating a spacious area with comfortable headroom.
A hipped roof is created when a roof slopes gently down to the eaves on all 4 corners. One or more hips may be replaced with gable walls to create some space. The roof is also extended up and over the new gable(s) to allow for more living space.
This loft conversion is characterised by the addition of dormer windows at the sides, the back or even at the front in order to create more space. Dormer conversions are often applied in small extensions where one needs a window or two, but it’s not unusual to see one in a larger conversion where the whole roof width is extended, which forms a spacious area with comfortable headroom.
The roof is converted into a loft as is, often with no difference in volume. The only change is a rooflight addition at the back and front. Some homeowners may add windows to the gable walls. Rooflight conversions are cost-effective because you can do minimal, inexpensive alterations.
A roof replacement can be done if the initial assessment shows very little usable space due to a shallow pitched roof. Economically, it would make perfect sense to replace the old roof with a new, more spacious structure that has a higher pitch.
Conservation Areas are restricted from having roof alterations, especially when it comes to increasing the height of the ridge. The better solution would be to lower the ceiling to add more volume.
Building Regulations do not have specific minimum ceiling heights, but there are a few guidelines. Above stairs require 2 metres of comfortable headroom. Loft conversions can be made as long as they clear 1.9 metres at the flight center and at least 1.8 metres on the edges for sloping roofs. The minimal height for practical ceilings is 1.9 metres, but it is common to see sloping ceilings in attics used for storage, bed heads, seating, etc.
Loft conversions often revolve around the placement and the design of your staircase. The decision will affect how much of the floor below will be made for access. The new stairs must be installed to where there’s around 1.8 metres of headroom at the sides and around 1.9 metres of headroom on top, which could greatly limit your loft options.
The key here is efficiency- the narrower and steeper you can get, the better. Building Regulations state that the allowable maximum staircase pitch is at 42, with no minimum width required. Having less than 600mm is not advisable though. You can make use of one of the most efficient staircases available, the spiral staircase.
In cases where you have decided to replace your existing roof covers (slate, tile etc) it would be wise to insulate your rafters as well. Fit in a breathable membrane that is air permeable and waterproof in order to properly provide roof ventilation. The result is a “warm roof” which can be very effective in loft conversions. Permitted Rights in Development allow for roof height increases up to 150mm for insulation purposes.
Should you decide to use the existing roof, insulation is still a must-have in the rafters. You may leave a space of 50mm in between to create a ventilation void, and below where the plasterboard is. Keep in mind that adding insulation lowers the effective ceiling height, so you need to make use of materials that are space-efficient, such as Celotex or Kingspan. If you can (and if the authorities allow), use multi-foil insulation for the most efficient spacing possible. Your gable walls will most likely need insulation as well in order to meet proper Building Regulations.
Part of creating a great loft conversion is in making sure that sound is optimally reduced in between the new storey and the floor below it. Though it isn’t a strict requirement, soundproofing your new loft adds to the overall atmosphere. Noise may travel from the attic to the floor below via impact transfer or airborne transfer.
You can eliminate airborne transfer noise by taking the necessary steps to ensure an airtight structure. Use sealant along floorboards, skirting boards and around floor edges and tape insulation materials. Floor joists spaces can be filled in using high-density acoustic insulation, but don’t use it on recessed spotlights. Eliminate impact transfer noise by using chipboard that is both high density and cement impregnated for the best results.
Once you have a loft conversion that is on the 3rd floor of your home, you will need to have it separated from the rest of your property. This means it should be kept off doors, flooring, walls and the rest of the house to allow for a half-hour fire protection. You can achieve this when you use fire doors and about two layers of plasterboard.
The main staircase is usually the means of escape in instances of fire; it should lead to an external door which should also be enclosed and provide a half-hour fire protection. Your responsibility is to ensure all the doors leading to habitable rooms should be fire-resistant types. Adding in hard-wired smoke alarms to each floor is also a must.
The space where your staircase ends may be fitted with a capable sprinkler system. A fire door should stand in between the 1st floor level and the ground floor. A fire escape should be available if you are in the attic room, via a 1st floor window.
Loft conversions in bungalows will not need an enclosed staircase as long as there’s a fire escape window built in the loft spaces.
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