A loft conversion is the best way to add one extra room to a house without building an extension. Because of that, it has become incredibly popular in recent years. Judging by the number of requests that we get at GradedTradesmen, we can safely say that this is one of the most popular home improvement projects in the UK, right up there with roofing and fencing. This is why we welcome loft conversion specialists on our website, and offer them an easy way to reach out to large number of potential clients, and build a reputation for themselves. We get a lot of these requests, as people find it much less stressful to simply look up capable tradesmen online.
So, why are loft conversions so popular? What do they entail? Why should you hire a highly skilled professional? Well, if you are considering investing in this project, keep reading to find realistic and concise answers to all these questions.
1. Why people choose to upgrade their loft?
Loft conversion is not as simple as it may sound. First, let’s consider the three main reasons why you should go through with this home improvement project:
Increase home value
By improving your home and adding one more fully furnished room, you will significantly increase your property value. If you are planning on renting or selling your house, turning your simple loft storage into a room will increase the value up to 20%. Moreover, it will be much easier to sell, because it means less investment for future owners. Also, when renting, people focus on houses that are already fully renovated, so that they don’t have to waste time and money fixing tons of little problems from day one.
Get more space
You might think that you are making good use of your attic space, because you store all sorts of old clothes and furniture there, but it is highly likely that you can do without most of those items. Old furniture can be brought back to life easily enough and used in the loft, and lots of other items can be repurposed or thrown away. Piling up boxes in the attic doesn’t help you get more free space; it just robs you of a room.
Save some time and money
When people realise that they are, for whatever reason, going to need an extra room, their first idea is usually to build an extension. While this can be a viable project in certain cases, when you put it all down on paper and look at the numbers, you’ll find that it requires a lot of time and money. Also, you’ll have to get familiar with your local regulations and may not even be able to build the extension in certain cases. A loft is considerably cheaper to build and doesn’t have any legal hassle involved.
Whatever reasons you may have for investing in a loft conversion, be sure that it is a good idea and that you won’t make a mistake.
2. Determine if your attic is suitable for a conversion
Not every attic is suitable for a conversion, because of the height of the ceiling and the construction of the house. It is important to determine whether the house structure can take the weight of the loft. Even though this may seem like a small change, and you feel confident that the loft won’t weigh much, you will have to get a trusted professional to assess the situation, for your own safety. If your home’s supporting structure can’t handle the additional weight, it will require underpinning. This will certainly double the costs, and compromise your planned budget.
You also need to check the thickness of the walls and the height of the ceiling. Whatever type of loft conversion it is that you are doing, you’ll need to do it under Building Regulations and get an approval. If you are extending the roof and loft, you’ll also need to get a planning permission. Therefore, before hiring a builder, you need to apply for approval in order to get the exact estimate, and not just a vague one. If you live in a semi-detached house, a Building Control officer will inspect everything closely, so don’t start anything until you get a certificate. Under the Party Wall Act 1996 you will have to get your neighbour to agree to you adding an extension to your house and doing some additional work.
3. Can you do it by yourself ?
There are a lot of DIY tutorials that show you how to complete all manner of projects with your own two hands. However, you’ll certainly need some advice from the experts, as every house has a different structure, and these projects can get too complex for the average handyman. When you take the complexity of the work, the regulations needed and your own safety into account, it is better to leave this to people whose job it is to turn a simple attic into a beautiful loft.
4. Hire professionals and avoid pitfalls
Whenever you’re planning major home improvement projects, the safest bet is to consult the experts and get their informed opinion. You don’t want to make a mistake and end up with an unsound structure that jeopardises the safety of you and your family, nor do you want your finances to take a big hit. Projects like this will raise the value of the house, but only if they are done right. So, don’t take any unnecessary gambles and hire professional tradesmen, who will do the best work and help you avoid some of the potential pitfalls.
Loft conversion isn’t an easy job – it requires multiple skill sets such as working with plumbing, electrical systems, etc. If something goes wrong, you risk wasting a lot of money. That’s why you’ll need to do a good deal of research on the people you are hiring. Our platform makes it easy for homeowners to find the right man for the job, so that they can get what they are looking for, without paying through the roof, no pun intended.
Here you can find all the information about their past jobs and projects, as well as plenty of reviews from previous clients that will give you an idea of how they do business. As you can inspect their full portfolio, you will have much better chance of making an informed decision than if you were relying merely on word of mouth.
5. How to use the brand new loft?
Once you have found out whether or not your loft is suitable for conversion, you will be able to decide what you want to do with it. Will it be a bedroom or a gym? A home office or game room? It is very important that you know what you want to do with your loft because of the electrical installations and plumbing. Your interior designer and builder should be familiar with your plans and there needs to be clear communication between all of you, so that they can find the best solution for your particular situation. As the loft is a very beautiful and isolated room in the house, you can make it a bathroom or a room for relaxing. It is also very good for home offices, as you can easily insulate the floors and walls, which will enable you to work without any distractions.
6. Things usually neglected when building a loft
People tend to plan everything, but forget about some important things such as loft stairs. Your contractor will likely give you some suggestions, but you need to get familiar with these things beforehand, so that you can determine what you like and what suits you best. Let’s go through some of the most important points:
There is not much space for them, so they are really hard to design and build. They are tricky because they can take up too much space, which defeats the purpose of having the loft. Therefore, if you decide on a purpose-built staircase, then you need to send the design plan to a Building Control officer, who will need to approve it, as it is required that they lead to the hall and an external door. All in all, there are many options and depending on what you need, so ask your builder for detailed information.
You’ll probably want to install some new windows, which is a simple task for professional builders. However, when putting in dormer windows, you’ll need a planning permission, as it is considered a roof extension. If you want to avoid these regulations, you can simply use a skylight.
The floor will certainly need soundproofing, as well as some of the walls, especially if you have a party wall. You should also consider the possible heat loss, and avoid it by using the recommended materials. When you invest in your home, you are actually investing in your future, and the future of those closest to you. Loft conversions are one of several great home improvements with an impressive return on investment, but you will need some professional help with the design and regulations. Make sure you have done all the necessary research beforehand, go through all the possible options and create a smart plan before taking on a project like this.