Has your home begun to feel a little cramped? Has your family started to outgrow your property - are there just not enough rooms for everyone? When our homes begin to feel a little too cramped, most of us make the mistake of thinking that our only option is moving to somewhere new. However, instead of selling up and moving to a new property, often your best bet is to consider converting an unused are of your home into additional space, such as your loft or basement
Of all the unused areas in your home with the potential to be transformed into livable spaces, the loft tends to be the least disruptive and least expensive option. In terms of cost, converting your loft will cost just a third of the price it would cost you to move to a property with an extra bedroom. It’s clear that converting your attic is the most practical option for increasing the space that your home offers, but the question is, how should you go about converting the space? Admittedly, it's not a straightforward task, but it's not as complex as you might think either.
For everything that you need to know about converting your attic, read on.
As a rule of thumb, to be eligible for a conversion, the tallest part of your attic must measure at least 230cm. So the first thing that you need to do is get a tape measure out. If your loft doesn’t have the right height, then converting it isn’t a good idea as it means that the room will be cramped and uncomfortable. To be able to create comfortable living space, your loft needs to be tall enough. If your loft doesn't have the height needed, perhaps converting your basement could be a better option?
The buildings that tend to be the easiest to convert are ones that were built before the war because they tend to have steep pitched roofs. However, these types of buildings tend to need additional structural support incorporated into them from timber beams like the ones that George Hill Timber supply. While newer properties aren't always as easy to convert, they don't tend to need additional structural support adding.
Another factor to take into account when determining whether your loft is convertible is the access that it would have. Building regulations stipulate that if a loft is being converted into a bedroom, bathroom, or office, then it has to have a permanent staircase in place. The question is, is there room for this in your home? This could be a narrow set of stairs, a spiral staircase, or even a permanently fixed ladder - it doesn't matter which just as long as there's permanent access to your converted loft.
Take your time frame and budget into account
So, how long does a conversion tend to take? Usually, a loft conversion can be completed in the space of a month and is the least disruptive home conversion because most of the work goes on in the loft. Normally, scaffolding is required until a staircase is fitted and there is access to the loft via that. It might be noisy, but the work won’t create the same level of mess as a side or rear extension would do.
Aside from the cost of the labour and the building materials, often the most expensive part of converting your attic into a livable space is the electrics and plumbing, apart from the decor and furniture, of course. If you are hoping to add an extra bathroom to your home as part of your attic conversion, this can be where a lot of costs arise, as not only can the plumbing be expensive, but you may also require a new boiler. However, adding a bathroom to your home adds value, so it's just a case of determining whether your budget can stretch as far as a new bathroom.
Think about the windows
For any loft conversion, choosing the right windows is crucial. Unless you are a fan of dark, dingy spaces, then you are going to want multiple windows installed in your loft, to ensure that the space is wonderfully light and airy. There’s nothing worse than a dark and dank attic space.
Skylights are a simple option when it comes to the windows for your attic conversion, and are ideal as they aren’t too expensive and don’t tend to require planning permission. Whereas, dormer windows, are more expensive and often require planning permission because of the change the exterior of the building that they cause. However, these do let in more light and add style to the space.
Invest in storage space
The chances are that until your loft was converted, it was used as a useful storage space. So it’s a good idea to find ways to incorporate areas of storage into the converted space, to ensure that your home doesn’t lack storage space because of the conversion. As the last thing you want is your loft rooms to be cluttered and messy due to a lack of storage space.
When it comes to your home, to ensure that you are making the most of the space, it’s vital to utilise every inch possible.