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If you have a look down your street, that'll give you the quickest indication of whether your loft can be converted. If there are similar houses with loft conversions, it's very likely you can have one too.
You should also look at the internal height of your loft as it currently is. If the tallest part of it is at least 2.2m-2.5m you shouldn't have any issue converting.
A typical roof is supported with either trusses or rafters, which are easily identified by just looking in the loft. Rafters follow the edge of the roof, meaning the space below it is empty. Trusses criss-cross through the loft.
Trusses cost more to convert because extra structural support is needed to replace them.
Lastly you should also think about how much space you have below the loft. A staircase will have to be built so that the loft conversion is habitable, which will take up some space in the room below – can you afford to lose that space?
|Some typical jobs||Low||High|
|Roof light conversion||£20,000||£30,000|
If your loft is pretty spacious already, and could function as a room without needing to extend the walls, then a roof light conversion could be for you. It's the least disruptive conversion and will turn your loft into a habitable room. You'll get windows installed, as well as a floor and a stairwell, plus they'll obviously spruce the room up with any necessary insulation, plasterboard and decorating.
These are the most common and most suitable for a sloped A-shaped roof. The extension simply protrudes from the slope of the roof to create extra space.
A ‘hip' roof is where your roof slopes down towards the side of your property, usually on a detached or semi-detached house. Much like a dormer, this side of the slope is extended to create a new room.
Mansard conversions basically make all sides of your roof vertical, which is the most expensive conversion, but also results in the most space.
Planning permission isn’t normally needed, but permission is required where you extend or alter the roof space and it exceeds certain specified limits and conditions.
Your loft conversion specialist definitely needs to have public liability insurance, which will cover you and them if someone gets hurt or if the property is damaged.
You can get this as part of the cost of the work, if your specialist offers it. Check exactly what's covered - it should include the cost of finishing or fixing the work if there are any issues.
If you have home or contents insurance, check with your insurer to make sure you'll be covered while the work is going on. You might have to pay more for your insurance during and after the work. Your insurer will probably want to know what builder you're using and what insurance they have.
These are the key things you’ll need to be aware of, but it’s best to consult the Planning Portal for full, up-to-date info.
Fire safety - you’ll need fire-resistant doors for the new room, along with mains-powered smoke alarms.
Floors and beams – all structural floors and supports will need to be sufficient for the new room.
Sound insulation between rooms and walls.
Stairs – you need a permanent staircase rather than a ladder or retractable staircase, so that the room can be easily escaped from in case of a fire.
Walls – new walls will have to support existing or new roofs where existing supports have been removed.
John boarded our loft for us. He was very good at advising us and managing our expectations while also taking on board where we wanted something a little different from the norm. He really cares about making sure his customers are happy and he has good attention to detail. As a result we have exactly what we wanted and couldn't be happier. We'll definitely be using John again for any woodwork we need doing.