Choosing the right loft conversion type for your home can be tough. There are many elements to consider from personal preference to the likelihood of obtaining planning permissions. We’ve created this simple guide to help you understand the different types of loft conversions to help you decide which one will be most suitable for your home.
Why you should consider converting your loft
Property prices across the UK and especially London have increased astronomically over the past few decades. Although this sharp rise has levelled out over the past few years, most experts claim that we will not see them decline much in our lifetime – with an ever growing population and higher demand for accommodation. It looks like the jaw-dropping prices are here to stay.
It’s for this reason that many homeowners cannot afford to upgrade to a bigger property and have opted to increase the square footage fo their home by way of a loft conversion instead. Unused loft space can be utilised to create an impressive amount of space and add a whole new floor to your home. Couple this with a house extension and you’re looking at potentially double the space!
A brand new conversion provides you with the freedom to dictate every aspect of the structure, giving you full control of the floorplan, ceiling height and shape of your loft. The possibilities are endless and you can use the extra space to build additional bedrooms, an office or even a play area or the kids.
What you need to consider when getting a loft conversion
By far the most important part of converting your loft is careful planning. Hiring a skilled architect will help you to make the most of this opportunity and make sure no space is wasted – there is no going back once the build is complete. They will also have comprehensive knowledge of planning permissions, which is crucial in ensuring your design is approved by a planning officer the first time around. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a perpetual cycle of making plans and having them rejected. This may seem unlikely, but unfortunately happens more often than you may think!
There are a number of important elements to consider when planning a loft conversion including:
- Making sure your home can withstand the weight of a loft conversion
- Ensuring there is enough head height to make a conversion feasible
- Whether you live in a semi-detached or detached house
- Making changes to the structure of your roof or the floor support
- Fire safety on the floors below the conversion
- Sound insulation
- Stair placement
- Placement of windows
- Storage space
So, what are the different types of loft conversion?
There are four main types of loft conversion: dormer, mansard, hip to gable and Velux (also known as a roof light conversion).
Velux Loft Conversion
This is the most simple and thus the least expensive of all loft conversion types. It involves adding skylight windows to the roof and reinforcing the floor without changing the shape or pitch of the roof.
Velux loft conversions are an ideal option for building within conservation areas or listed buildings due to the minimal disruption involved in the building process. Some homeowners also only want a modest amount of space added to their home and this type of conversion is perfect for adding a single bedroom or somewhere for the kids to play. The key requirement here s sufficient height within the existing loft space, where no changes to the structure need to be made.
Dormer Loft Conversion
The dormer loft conversion type is among the most popular of all styles and with good reason. It requires the rear side of the roof to be modified, forming a vertical wall and often a flat roof, providing ample space and a more desirable, classic interior structure.
It’s popularity largely comes down to three main benefits: relatively low complexity, reasonable costs and a means of installing vertical windows. It may not be the prettiest of the four conversion types, but it’s practicality more than makes up for its lack of aesthetic appeal. There are a number of variations to the dormer loft, including the gable-fronted type, which sacrifices interior space for a more classic look.
A dormer loft conversion is ideal when you need a little extra head room but wish to keep the overall design pretty simple. It will likely qualify for permitted development, making ease of planning another attractive trait.
Mansard Loft Conversion
Very similar to the dormer, a mansard loft conversion incorporates a flat roof while substituting the flat walls for gently sloping ones. Popular among homes in inner London areas, it follows the existing Mansard conventions often seen within the locality.
Mansard conversions are typically seen in terraced houses, with the party wall being extended vertically, making it the type which provides the most headroom. It’s also seen by many as a more aesthetically appealing alternative to the dormer conversion.
The downside of the mansard is its added complexity, cost and the likelihood of needing planning permissions to go ahead with the build.
Hip To Gable Loft Conversion
A hip to gable loft conversion is the most popular and often regarded as the best choice for detached or semi-detached houses (which are also the only houses suitable for this conversion). It requires the side, or hip end, of the roof to be converted to a straight wall. This is often coupled with a dormer-style straight rear wall, making for an astonishing amount of space inside – by far the most of any loft conversion type.
Its appeal comes down to the aforementioned space provided, as well as its aesthetics. It provides a more symmetrical look when compared to other conversion types and tends to blend in with the rest of the property. It works especially well with detached houses, where both sides of the roof can be utilised to create a double hip to gable conversion, creating even more space.
We hope this guide helps
And that’s all there is to it – the four different loft conversion types in a nutshell!