When homeowners feel pressed for space, there are a few options. One is to extend the home (whether out or up) and another is to make use of dead space in the home. And when it comes to dead space, there’s no better area to convert than a loft or attic.
After all, lofts or attics in their natural state (i.e. completely unusable or suitable for storage alone) aren’t prime for living. But with a few simple renovations, you’ll have a new space you’ll soon wonder how you lived without.
That being said, not every loft or attic can be used for conversions. However, there are solutions (though they come at a cost) so that no matter most of your limitations, you’ll get the space you need.
There are a Few Common Issues That Can Render a Loft Unsuitable for Conversions
Unfortunately, not every loft will come ready for a conversion. And for most homeowners, there are a few common issues that you must address before you move forward with your plans (if you’re able to move forward at all):
- Head Height – You shouldn’t convert your loft or attic if you can’t stand up in it! You should measure from the bottom of the ridge timber to the top of the ceiling joist. If it’s at least 2.2 metres, you’ll have ample space for your conversion. If it’s not, you’ll need to either raise the roof or lower the ceiling in the room below to allow for proper head height.
- Pitch Angle – Higher pitch angles often mean that there’s more useable space in the loft or attic. If you’re lacking space, you can increase it provided that dormers are used (because this means that you can increase the floor area).
- Type of Structure – Do you live in a home built before the 1960s? If so, your house likely has a traditional frame, which is most suitable for conversion because the construction is simple to disassemble and open up. If your home was built after this time, you might lack loadbearing structures in your loft and require some structural support work to open up the space.
- Obstacles – In some homes, water tanks or chimneys might take up space in the attic or loft. You can’t build around these structures so typically, more intensive construction work is required.
There are Four Basic Types of Loft Conversions
No two loft conversions are quite alike. In fact, there are four common approaches to conversions you should be familiar with as you plan your own (provided that none of the issues above are standing in your way).
As you can imagine, each potential type of conversion comes with advantages and disadvantages:
- Dormer – Dormer conversions extend your existing roof to create additional floor and head space. The dormers work by protruding from the roof slope to create vertical walls and a horizontal ceiling.
- Hip to Gable Conversions – These conversions are typically used if you lack head height or other internal space for conversions. It works by building a gable wall to the ridge line and then constructing a new section of the roof to fill the gap.
- Mansard – If you want a lot of extra space (and are willing to take on more construction than most conversions), a Mansard conversion is your best option. In this conversion, the gable walls are raised and a timber frame is subsequently fitted.
- Velux – A Velux conversion is the most common type of conversion and is cheaper than many other options. This option simply requires fitting velux windows flush with the roof line. It leaves the majority of your roof structure untouched, making it the best option for those with space in their attic or loft to begin with.
Of Course, There are Some Additional Factors in Need of Consideration
While the most significant construction of any loft conversion is typically spent creating a liveable space with enough room, there are additional factors (and costs) you need to consider.
Just some of these factors include:
- Floor – Loft or attic floor joists aren’t sometimes built to support the weight of a useable room. As such, you may need to reinforce the flooring or add additional support for safety purposes.
- Staircase – You’ll need a way to access your room and a new staircase is the way to do it! There are several regulations and challenges that can arise while installing a staircase, but your contractors should understand how to overcome common challenges.
- Fire Safety – You’ll need an escape window, a smoke alarm, and other critical elements to comply with fire safety standards.
At Management Joinery Solutions, We Worry About Every Element of Your Loft Conversion so You Don’t Have To
With a “systems of works” approach that utilizes teamwork to finish your loft conversion efficiently, on budget, and on time, Management Joinery Solutions is your comprehensive solution to any loft conversion challenges that arise.
This means that whether you’re facing head height challenges or your home wasn’t built with a simple structure that is conversion ready, we have the premium quality solutions you expect for your new conversion.
To discuss your unique needs, contact a member of our team today on 07772608248. We look forward to helping you achieve the loft or attic conversion you’ve planned!