There’s no doubt that loft conversions are one of the most popular alterations that homeowners make to their properties at the moment. However, even though all of the neighbours might have converted their roof space, this certainly doesn’t mean that you’ll have an easy project on your hands.
Most people don’t realise that loft conversions can cost a significant amount of money to build, with many factors needing to be considered. Therefore, we’ll now take a look at five issues you should be looking at before you pick up your trowel and get to work.
The Roof Type
First and foremost, you need to see whether or not your roof type is suitable for a loft conversion. If you are lucky enough to have a queen post truss roof, you’re in the ideal position and little alterations will need to be made. However, a standard truss roof may cause a few problems, as there is no open space where the habitable area will be situated. In fact, if your roof is designed like this, you might want to consider scrapping the whole loft conversion plan. Some companies will offer a conversion service, but suffice to say it is expensive and may even involve completely replacing your roof.
If you already have a skylight in your loft space, you won’t have any concerns. If you don’t, you might want to think about adding one. While electrical light installations are by no means expensive, they don’t provide that illusive natural light that every room craves. Therefore, you will probably have to factor in the cost of new windows by looking through the various available products on roofing supplies websites.
Fortunately, even if you think you might struggle to install standard skylights due to planning or structural issues, there are more creative solutions out there now that will allow natural light into your loft. Tubular skylights are barely noticeable from the outside, but will provide a large amount of light into the loft – and this is just one of a number of solutions that is available.
If you are converting your loft space into a habitable area, you will need to install a permanent staircase in accordance with the building regulations. This is certainly something that will hinder a lot of people’s plans, with many homes simply not able to facilitate a full staircase.
You will also need to consider whether or not your loft will be warm enough for a habitable room. While many lofts are insulated following encouragement from various government initiatives, a lot are still not suitable for living purposes. Therefore, you will need to consider the cost of insulating between the rafters to make sure that there are no unwelcome draughts flowing into the space.
If you are part of a terrace or semi-detached property, you will most likely have to inform your neighbours of your plans via the Party Wall act. This is because you will probably be reinforcing the ceiling joists so they are able to withstand the additional loading that the habitable room is going to prompt. Unfortunately, this process usually involves surveyors fees and if you don’t happen to get along with your neighbours, you may incur obstacles and therefore additional costs in trying to get permission to carry out the work.