DIY Guide to Loft Conversion

DIY Guide to Loft Conversion

22 May 2021

Loft conversion is among the popular choice for people who want to create extra living space in their house in UK. Lofts are usually believed to be those damp areas where you store old furniture. But the addition of a loft can give extra space you require without making further extensions that consume a part of the garden.

When you are planning to convert the loft, there are a few things to consider before starting with the work. Some designs to check for include:

  • The height of the ceiling
  • The kind of loft
  • Lighting problems
  • The services you need to install
  • Whether you require a planning permission
  • Building blueprint that denotes the strength of floor and fire escapes.

Step 1: Know if the loft is suitable for a conversion

There are some lofts that cannot be converted. Before you decide to do the conversion, try to conduct a survey to know whether the loft will be suitable. The things you need to check for are height, space, roof structure, felt, chimney or services.

Roof structure: You need to see if it is a traditional cut than roof or trussed roof or purlin roof.

Height: Check whether the loft has sufficient height and you require a traditional roof which should be 2.2 to 2.4 meters. The minimum height for m trussed roof has to be 2.4 to 2.6 meters.

Space: Check whether the loft space is enough to be converted into a usable roof.

Services or Chimneys: You should see that chimneys or services run through loft space and there is no movement required.

Felt: Check if the roof is weather proof or has a felt under the tiles.

When the loft meets all these specifications then, you should search for the type of loft conversion you require.

Step 2: The kinds of loft conversions

There are three factors that decide on the kind of loft conversion you might have. These factors consist of the exact use of the loft, the kind of roof type and your estimated budget. Depending on these factors, you will find three kinds of loft conversions. These include – dormer loft conversions, conversions that require the restructure and removal of the roof and internal loft conversions.

Internal loft conversions require expert help and they are budget friendly. Dormer loft conversions are highly preferred in the UK due to the additional space they offer. Loft conversions that require complete restructuring and removal will probably satisfy all the needs and they are very expensive.

Step 3: Change the structure of roof and floor support

Most roofs have been built with internal support structures that are located in the loft. All roof support in the loft need to be removed and then replaced with new ones which won’t take up the space available in the loft.

With different kinds of loft conversions, one thing which is common in them is that the ceiling cannot act like a floor. You may turn the ceiling into a floor for extra support and this can be achieved by fitting new support next to the old roof support structure.

Step 4: Loft Conversion Stairs

When designing stairs for a loft conversion, this seems to be quite challenging as the space for the staircase is restricted. With narrow and winding stairs, you will find it to be the common staircase design though this might be impractical as it is really difficult to shift furniture into a loft having narrow staircase.

If you require advanced design for the staircase, then it is wise enough to select staircase design that has been approved by the Building Control officer before moving ahead. The design of loft staircase design might cause an external hall or door. When you select an open-plan design for staircase where they are located in a room, you need to change the plan by installing a new partition wall or other escape routes.

Step 5: Building Windows and Attracting Natural Light

When fitting the windows for loft conversion, you should not do significant structural alterations to adjust with skylight windows and roof-light at the time of dealing with the project. Mostly, the windows should be fitted on either side of roof-flight.

One of the most preferred options is dormer windows that have been fitted at the back of the house so that they do not need a planning permission. But when the dormer windows are situated at the front of the house, planning permission will be required and so, people select skylight or roof-light windows.

Step 6: Upgrade the loft for fire safety

If you stay in a bungalow, then loft conversion project will probably block the fire escape. You need to be sure that windows are spacious for being used in the form of emergency exit. If the loft conversion creates additional storey, then there are problems you will have to manage.

Step 7: Insulation for loft conversion

The authorities have already enhanced the standards for energy efficiency over the years and it is really difficult to insulate the loft than before. If the conversion includes replacing roof tiles, then you may place insulation in between covering and the rafter. This will provide you with good airtight insulation.

When you select to replace the roof, check the sloping ceiling as it requires insulation to be fitted in between the rafters and at the rafter’s underside.

Step 8: Insulating the loft against noise pollution

The newly constructed floor in the loft requires soundproofing and this may be attained easily by placing mineral fibre between the supports. You need to use heavy materials for sound insulation and not the lighter ones for thermal insulation. The internal stud partition between bedrooms and bathrooms has to be insulated with heavy sound proof material.

Step 9: Lighting the converted loft

Lighting a converted loft will need inclusion of different light sources unlike other rooms of your house. Some light sources you require to include are ambient lights that may be used in the daytime,, task lights for thins such as working and reading and accent lights that can improve the ambiance of lighting.

Step 10: Proper ventilation

Maximising energy efficiency will need to make roof space tight. But balancing between ventilation and energy efficiency requires controlled ventilation to avoid water vapour from condensing further.

Step 11: Heating

Adding an extension can increase the heating requirements of your home. The quick solution is to upgrade the boiler and other options are installing heat radiators, combination of these methods or under floor heating. But when the best loft conversion in London is added for an extra bathroom, you will have to upgrade the boiler system.

Step 12: Plumbing

Plumbing is extremely important for conversions that require adding another bathroom. The location of the plumbing services has to be considered before starting with the building works. A suitable solution is to supply new loft with plumbing services with the help of present plumbing system. This can usually be done with flexible plastic piping.

Step 13: Electrics

Electrical alteration might be needed at the time of a loft conversion. You can expand the present circuit based on the age and condition of the present system. In certain cases, you will require distribution board and new circuits.

Step 14: Regain the lost storage

When turning the loft into a bathroom, bedroom, office, bar or for other use, you will lose some storage space. You may even make storage space just behind the partition. When you want to turn the loft into a bedroom, you may install the already built wardrobes to get additional storage.

Thus, when you are aware about different kinds of loft conversions in London and the method for converting them, these steps can help to explain some relevant issues and get them solved as soon as possible.