ARTICLE Philip Saich
With property prices on the rise and square footage at a premium, more and more homeowners in Surrey are looking upwards to create more space and add value. If you have sufficient living space but need another bedroom or bathroom, converting your loft may be a cost-effective solution. This is especially relevant if your loft has become a dumping ground for old toys, defunct computers or nostalgic memorabilia but could be put to much more beneficial use.
So where do you start? As Kelley Malcher of Surrey builders Refresh Renovations observes, there are several things to consider before embarking on a loft conversion. ‘We are seeing a definite trend in Surrey towards loft conversions to add a bedroom – or two – with ensuite bathrooms, but also to create playrooms, home offices or even tranquil living spaces to take advantage of beautiful views,’ comments Kelley. ‘At Refresh we love loft conversions because we know that we can not only bring clever design innovations to the project but also manage the design and build to ensure a quality result without unnecessary overspends.
‘Before you start, it’s worth talking to a professional to run through a few basics,’ continues Kelley. ‘In general, most lofts are suitable for conversion, as a head height of at least 2.3m is required. That said, it is important to take into account the position of potential barriers such as water tanks and chimneys, as well as the type and pitch of the roof. Most loft conversions can proceed without planning permission as they are classed as permitted development, but they will normally require building regulations approval as they represent a change of use. Finally, a loft conversion will most likely increase the property’s value. As a ballpark, adding a room to your house will increase its value by between £50,000 and £60,000, so with loft conversions costing on average £30,000 to £40,000 there is an immediate benefit.’
Loft conversions come in several forms. With a rooflight loft conversion you are adding windows to create additional light, so there is no need for structural work. Dormer loft conversions are incredibly popular and are relatively simple to execute as they involve the addition of a large, flat-roofed dormer to the side or rear of the property. Dormers help to flood an area with light and generate increased roof space.
If you own an end-of-terrace or semi-detached house, a hip-to-gable loft conversion may prove most appropriate. In this case, the sloping (‘hipped’) side roof is taken away so that the end wall can be built up to form a new vertical gable. Other loft conversion options include gable-to-gable, whereby a new box extension is created to span the distance between the gable ends, and a mansard loft conversion. With the mansard option, one or both of the roof slopes is replaced with steeply sloping sides, and a flat roof is constructed over. A slightly more radical option is known as the modular extension loft conversion, and this involves constructing the new rooms off-site, removing the roof and inserting the modular rooms before re-roofing. The modular approach is most suitable in instances where the loft space as it exists is not suitable for conversion.
‘With so many options available, it’s useful to weigh up the pros and cons of each approach with an experienced project manager,’ emphasises Kelley. ‘It’s also vital to be able to visualise the end result before you start work, and that’s not easy if you’ve never undertaken a loft conversion before. The design and layout are both absolutely critical. If you’re adding living space, then the size and position of the furniture can have a huge impact on the project, and if you’re including an ensuite or a bathroom, there are considerations for plumbing and so on. Headroom needs to be taken into account here, both for showers and hand basins, and the positioning of any stair access should also be borne in mind. It might sound trivial, but the effect of even a single door can impact the final outcome. A door at the top of the stairs, for example, might give a more closed, boxy feel, while having the door at the foot of the stairs will make the conversion appear more open,’
Refresh Renovations UK are builders in Surrey offering design and build services. To discuss how to add value to your home with a loft conversion, please get in touch today using the enquiry form listed alongside, or if you would like to submit a more comprehensive enquiry, you can do so on the Get In Touch page.
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Want to know more? Get in touch with the renovation experts at Refresh now to find out what they can do for you and your home. Refresh Renovations Specialists offer a free initial one-hour consultation that will help you make the decision whether their team is the one for you. This consultation is no obligation and is a chance to understand what they can do for you.