While the value of UK homes is rising, they are shrinking in size. A loft bedroom is one of the great ways that you can boost both the value of your property and the living space. If you are fighting for space, you should clear the clutter from the loft and turn it into a bedroom. While this might sound like a challenge, it is not as hard as you might imagine.
The Right Ingredients
Before you invest emotionally and financially in a loft conversion, you need to do a quick reality check. First, consider if your loft is big enough to become a usable bedroom. Does the loft have enough height?
It is recommended that you have a minimum height of 2.4 to 2.6 metres for a modern trussed roof. If you have a cut roof, you need 2.2 to 2.4 metres. These roofs are made with the traditional method of cutting timber on-site and then building the roof with rafters and purlins.
You also need to take a look at the design of the roof. Modern trussed roofs are harder to convert compared to the traditional cut roof. This is due to each truss being made for a specific position in the structure of the roof. If they are altered, the roof could potentially collapse. You have to take this into account when you consider a loft conversion and get a structural engineer to take a look.
Rooflight Loft Conversions
There are three primary types of loft conversions that you need to know about: rooflight, dormer and mansard. The rooflight will be the cheapest option and it is also the simplest. There are few alterations required to the space other than putting a window in the slope of the roof. These types of conversions will generally cost around £1,200 to £1,500 per square metre.
Dormer and Mansard Conversions
If your property has a pitched roof, you can probably have a dormer window. These are best known for the box shape they have and will project out of the existing slope of the roof. They will create a generous headspace and internal floor area. The rear of the property is where these windows will generally be found.
When you have a mansard conversion, the slope of the roof will be replaced with a new structure. This will have a steeper sloping side and a flat roof. This is a good option if the original roof had very little or no headroom on offer.
Do You Need Planning Permission?
Loft conversions are generally considered a permitted development unless you are looking at a mansard conversion. This means that you will not have to get any planning permission. The only time you need this is when you need to extend the roof space by more 50 cubic metres. While this is the case, there are strict rules which apply such as the material needing to be similar in appearance to the rest of the house.
Working With Building Regulations
You will need approval for your loft conversions under the building regulations. This is not related to the planning permission that you need. The building regulations will cover the strength of the new floor, fire precautions, the structure stability, stair safety and the sound insulation between the loft and the floor below. For your own comfort you should also consider how you will heat the new room(s), can your boiler service the whole, larger house? Or would German electric radiators be more cost effective and easier to install?
It is recommended that you have a detailed plan approved before you look for a builder. When you do this, you take the risk out of the work. This results in a fixed quote for the work instead of a vague estimate which can change. The building control office will check the work at different stages and will provide a completion certificate after the final inspection.
Planning the Lighting
You should avoid downlights when you have a loft bedroom because of the glare. As these bedrooms are not that large, they do not need mass lighting. It is better to use discreet light courses within the shelves, skirting and joinery instead.