Is your neighbour’s recent renovation project giving you loft envy? Then maybe it’s time to consider getting a loft conversion of your own. Which type to get though, might take a little time to work out. That’s because although your neighbour’s loft conversion may look fabulous, it may not be suitable for your property or for your family.
Every household’s needs are different depending on family size, lifestyle, finances and even occupation (ie if you and/or your partner work from home). So, what are the main types of loft conversions out there and what are their benefits and disadvantages? We’ll answer all those questions for you right here:
Also referred to as a Velux loft conversion since these are the type of windows commonly used in this type of renovation project, Roof Light design is the simplest type of loft conversion. As a result, it’s also the least expensive.
It involves simply renovating the pitched roof to add in a couple of skylight windows. The existing structure, and size of the roof itself don’t change.
Older houses with high ceilings
Adding more natural light than a ‘standard’ side window
Retaining the existing look of the property (so good for homes in conservation areas)
An en-suite bathroom – you can put the window above the shower for ventilation
Avoiding having to apply for planning permission
An attic with a low ceiling (you need at least 2m head height)
Head space – the pitched roof remains angled
Dictating design – the stairs have to be in the centre of the loft
These extensions were extremely popular decades ago and remain so today - especially for bungalows. They are often used for creating additional bedrooms as well as extra floor space and height. You’ll find them added to a sloping roof at 90 degrees and in the shape of a rectangle ie they have a flat roof and vertical sides. You can have one or two dormers at the front of the house (the most common form), or even a side, back or combined side and back (ie an L-shaped dormer conversion).
Raising head height so you can choose where the stairs come up
All types of properties eg terraced houses, semi-detached and detached homes
Less expensive than a Mansard or Hip to Gable loft extension
Creating a versatile space with lots of light and room so excellent for a home office
You can get a Juliet balcony added on
You’ll need planning permission for a front dormer since you’re altering the look and shape of the existing roof
Its rather boring box shape isn’t particularly appealing in an aesthetic sense
The most extensive – and therefore expensive - option, a Mansard extension involves altering the design of the roof by adding a horizontal edge and a vertical straight wall (so that you have three sides to the roof as opposed to the standard two sides). But, unlike a dormer loft conversion it sits at 70 degrees (rather than 90 degrees) from the existing roof. It’s also possible to have an L-shaped Mansard on the older Victorian and Edwardian style properties with rear extensions.
Being more sloped it looks better than a dormer
Providing the most head room in a conversion
Not a lot of structural reinforcement is needed
Being the most expensive type of loft conversion
Having to spend time getting planning permission from the local authority
With this type of loft conversion, which is also referred to as a ‘raised gable,’ one side of the house (or both) are replaced with a gable wall. In order to achieve this the side of the sloping roof is extended by removing the roof and erecting a triangular vertical wall. The space between the central ridge and new wall is connected via rafters and tiled over.
Their durability - this is a very sturdy type of loft conversion, thanks to its four support rafters or ‘hips’
Traditional bungalows since they may not be able to take the additional weight
You’ll have to secure planning permission due to the size – and look - of the extension
Takes longer to design because it’s the most complicated of all loft conversions
Why you should consider a loft conversion before moving home
Regardless of which type of loft conversion you decide to go for, it’s certainly a less expensive and stressful way of gaining more space in your current living space than moving home. And it probably won’t take as long as selling your existing home and finding a new one either considering how stagnant the UK property market is at this moment in time (and has been for years).
Whether you do opt for a loft conversion or a home extension (which we will look at in the next article) then it’ll feel like you have a new home anyway – especially if you alter the sequence of the existing rooms and plan a new redecorating project.