Loft conversions have seen rising popularity in recent years. Not only do they extend the usable living space in your property, they can also increase the value of your property significantly. However, before you make big plans for your loft conversion, it’s important to make sure a loft conversion is possible for you. While many houses will come with allowances for permitted developments – a category which loft conversions fall into – some won’t. If you live in a conservation area or your room space is limited, you may need to think twice about whether a loft conversion will work in your property.
The first thing you can do is ask your neighbours if they know of anyone on your street with a loft conversion. If someone in a similar house to yours has had their loft converted, then chances are yours may be suitable for conversion too. You can also measure the head height in your loft; it must be 2.2 metres tall at the tallest point in the room. If your loft space meets this requirement, then you’re past that hurdle.
Rafters vs trusses
It’ll also help to check what kind of roof you have, roof trusses or rafters. Rafters run just around the edge of roof and leave most of the loft ‘triangle’ empty, while trusses use support beams that run across the roof. Loft conversions are possible where trusses have been used, but they will likely be more costly and time-consuming, as alternate supports will need to be in place in order for the conversion to be stucturally sound.
Draw up a plan
Finally, think about how the conversion will take shape. Where will the stairs from the floor below come from? How will the rooms and landing on the floor below have to be adapted to fit a new staircase? You might end up concluding that you’re not happy sacrificing space from the floor below to facilitate your loft conversion. These are important considerations, and another reason why chatting to neighbours who have had loft extensions done might be a good idea.
You won’t get a definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer without speaking to a builder or an architect, but you can certainly get a good idea of whether a loft conversion might work in your property if you know what to look for.