Choosing a Company to Convert Your Loft

With there being so many loft conversions out there, how do you chose between them. I thought it be worthwhile to write a post on choosing a company to convert your loft – hope you find it useful.

When it comes to building extensions, a little bit of planning know-how goes a long way. The average loft conversion costs between £20,000 and £40,000 depending on the design and the type of house, and is anything but a simple process. To maximise the potential of a loft, you are going to need planning and building skills, as well as the ability to manage a budget accordingly, this is why those considering a conversion should always think about hiring a specialist company.

Loft Conversion Dining Room

An experience loft conversion company bring the experience and the skills needed to ensure your loft meets your expectations.

Gathering quotes

Loft conversions are very popular at the moment so you shouldn’t any problems finding a specialist company in the local area. When choosing a company, you do not want to rush out and hire the first firm that you see; instead you should shop around for quotes.

If you’ve ever seen television shows such as Rouge Traders and Cowboy Builders, you will know that not every building company are who they say they are, so it wise to find testimonials and examples of work before phoning or emailing for a quote. The internet is a good place to find feedback on a company, as is word of mouth from friends and family.

Once you have found four of five reputable companies in the local area, you can begin to gather quotes. When doing this, bear in mind that the lowest quote is not always the best.

Getting a consultation

Many companies will provide a consultation service whereby an employee of the company can visit your home to discuss your ideas and look at the possible conversion options. This will allow them to provide you with a more realistic quote, and you to see clear examples of their work.

Most companies will offer such consultations free of charge, and any company trying to charge for the service is probably best avoided. At the same time, just because a consultation is free, doesn’t mean you should feel like you owe the company something. Also, never let yourself feel pressured by any sales patter that company employees try to deliver.

A loft conversion is a massive investment and every decision made should be one that is right for you.

Electrical Access in the Loft

electrics loft conversionRegardless of the type of room you are creating with a loft conversion, there will be a need for electrical access. This will ensure you have power points for plugs and lighting. Even if you are not converting in the loft into a habitable space, electricity always comes in useful.

The wires

Installing electricity into a loft should be done in the early stages of a loft conversion; the good thing about the wires is that they are thin and extremely flexible; this means that they can be easily manipulated and placed into position. This makes the job much easier than plumbing which often involves the use of hard plastic and copper pipes. Feeding wires into the loft from floors below should not pose too many problems, other than the possibility of drilling through floorboards, which is often more messy than it is difficult. The biggest task will be hiding the multitude of differently coloured wires needed for different purposes – this can be done during a first fix.

Hiding the wires

The only signs of electricity in a completed loft conversion will be the sockets, light switch and light fitting, all of the wires will be well hidden behind the plasterboard and insulation on the walls and ceiling. Hiding the wires is done during the first fix.

First fixing is carried out prior to any insulating and plasterboarding being carried out. Wires will need to be well protected, this will involve tacking them along the inside of wall and roof joists and as tightly as possible to brick walls.

It will be important for the builders carrying out the plasterboard work to know that wires need to be brought through the plasterboard, and where they need to be pulled through. This will be very important for ensuring light fittings and sockets are in the correct place.

Once the plasterboard and plastering is complete, all wires will be hidden will be away from view. After this a second fix can be carried out, fixing the light fittings, switches and plug sockets in the correct places.

Using an electrician

When compared with the building work and plumbing that goes into a loft conversion, fitting an electricity supply is a fairly easy job. That being said, it should not be attempted by anyone that is inexperienced in the field. It is recommended that you use a professional electrician for any electrical work that needs doing. This will ensure that a job is done efficiently and correctly.

Loft Conversion: Practical Considerations

Loft Conversion Advice

Realising the potential of your loft

If you are looking for some extra space in the home, why not consider a loft conversion? It is much more cost effective and less stressful than moving home, is cheaper and better for space than building a ground extension and, best of all, it can add significant value to your home – up to 25% on the original value. When planning a loft, there are some practical considerations that you should take into account.

Space

The space that you have available will go a long way to determining the type of loft conversion you can have. If you loft has vast amounts of space, then you may be able to choose a Velux conversion, this will involve no changes to the roof and is by far the cheapest of any loft job. If however there is a lack of space, you are going to need to create some. This will probably mean a dormer conversion is needed. This will give you the required space but will be a much more expensive job to complete.

A general rule of thumb with lofts is that if the space from floor to the tallest part of the ceiling measures 230cm, you will have the required height needed for a conversion.

Access

Access will also be important. If the loft is being turned into a “habitable room”, for example, a bedroom, bathroom or playroom, it must have a permanent staircase. You will need to think about the space you are going to be losing below when installing a staircase; therefore it can be wise to use stairs that are less wide than those on lower floors. A staircase must also provide 210cm of headroom.

Safety

Safety is of paramount importance for obvious reasons. Fire regulations should be at the top of the list in any plans; this will mean purchasing materials that comply with building regulations in terms of fire resistance. Smoke alarms, escape access and sprinkler systems will also be required. Existing doors in a two storey home will also need to be replaced for fire resistant alternatives.

Choosing the Right Loft Insulation for Your Conversion

Loft Insulation

The importance of effective loft insulation

If you’re looking to make the most of the roof space in your home by carrying out a loft conversion, you will need to make sure you adhere to the latest edition of the statuary Building Regulations. This will mean insulating your roof in the proper way (choosing the right loft insulation material). There are many different types of insulation that can be used, some more expensive than others but all with great properties. The following is an overview of the types of insulation that can be used in your conversion.

Polyurethanes

There is a number of gas-based, plastic foam, polyurethane material insulation types. The best known and most popular are Kingspan and Celotax. They are fairly expensive but are much better at insulating than air-based mineral wool insulation types. This type of insulation is excellent where space is at a premium.

Blown-in

On some occasions it is possible to use wool, fibres and plastics that are not dry fixed but rather blown into position with a nozzle. The most popular type of insulation in this form is Warmcel which is constructed from a combination of recycled newspaper and cellulose fibre. Blown-in is a technique widely used in timber frame houses.

Multifoils

Made up of thin layers of aluminium foil and foam padding, Multifoil has excellent insulation properties and can be put to good use in houses with sloping roofs.

Extruded polystyrene

Extruded polystyrene is much denser than its expanded counterpart and is most widely used under loft flooring. There are several different suppliers of this type of insulation but Knauf is a recommended choice.

Natural minerals

The popularity of natural materials as insulation is becoming immensely popular. Wood fibres and hemp are both available in roll and slab variations and are excellent for insulating roof spaces and any timber walls that you have in your conversion. More popular than these though is sheep wool. This is a wonderful material with excellent insulating properties and is much better to use that fibre glass and mineral wool insulation; however, it is also more expensive.

If unsure contact us today and we’ll put you in touch with a professional loft conversion speciailist

Loft Conversion Fire Safety

Loft conversions are not difficult projects to complete and they can add significant value to any home. A converted attic can be used for many purposes: extra bedroom, bathroom, study, play area, home office or a guest room. Whatever your intended use for the loft, safety must always be the primary concern, fire safety in particular.

Before proceeding with any loft conversion work, whether carried out by you or a professional company, it is essential that you seek advice from the local council to ensure you are adhering to building regulations. On many occasions, loft conversions can be completed without the need for planning permission, but it is always recommended that you contact your local authority. They will also be able to provide you with help and advice on loft fire safety.

Flooring

The floorboards used in a loft conversion must not only be strong enough to support loading from furniture, bathroom fittings and the like, they must also provide at least 30 minutes of fire resistance. This will give enough time for occupants to escape in the event of the fire.

Plasterboard

Plasterboard is used to cover all roof joists and any stud walls that have been erected. It is important that fire resistant plasterboard is used. These boards are generally pink in colour; Gyproc Fireline, GTEC Lafarge Fire Board and Knauf Fireshield are all recommended choices.

Windows

It is always recommended that an escape window is installed in the roof of the house; this will provide a route out of the property in the event of a fire. Velux manufacture large escape windows designed specifically for loft conversions. An escape window should always be easy to get to and be located at eaves level, this will aided in rescue from outside.

Doors

Whether you have an escape window installed in the loft or not, fire doors are essential. All doors should provide 20 minutes fire resistance and be of at least FD20 grade. FD30 doors are also available should you want extra security. Intumescent strips which are fitted to the door and on the inside of the door frame are also essential in preventing smoke from filling a room.

Smoke Detectors

Probably the most obvious piece of equipment in fire safety, smoke detectors are essential to meet building regulations. Rooms that are above ground level carry an increased risk of fire and a properly fitted smoke alarm can be the difference between life and death.

Do not overlook loft conversion fire safety. If unsure – contact us today for free advice to ensure the safety of all.

The Benefits of a Loft Conversion | Loft Conversion Benefits

Loft Conversion Bedroom

I’m sure you are already familiar with what a loft conversion is and no doubt you will have seen one, if not in person, then on the countless DIY and home improvement programs on television. But what are the benefits? Let’s take a look at the loft conversion benefits

Better than the alternatives

Extending the house is a great way of gaining much needed extra space and an ideal alternative to the stressful, time consuming and costly process of moving house. Some people opt to achieve this extra space by building a conservatory or extension on the ground floor of the home. The instant downside to this is the significant garden space that is eaten up. A loft conversion simply makes the most of the space that is already there, roof lights and dormers can also provide stunning views of the local area. Unlike a conservatory, a loft offers versatility in terms of the type of room it can become. Turning a conservatory into a bedroom or bathroom is not a viable option whereas a loft can be transformed into one, or both, of these.

Adding value to your home

While a converting a loft is never really done simply to add value to a home, the fact that your property valuation will increase as a result of a conversion is a definite plus. According to the latest Housing Market Research, a quality conversion can add up to 20% on the value of a property, in today’s market this can equate to around £15,000 – £35,000. Regardless of the type of conversion, simply turning your loft into useful space will increase the value of your home.

You may also decide to turn your loft into a room for guests and lodgers. Advertising a “room for rent” can provide you with a source of extra revenue.

The space

The biggest benefit of all is the added space that a loft conversion provides. The attic is a dark and empty space begging to be used and it can be put to good use in a number of ways. If you have a growing family, the loft can be converted into a much needed extra bedroom. Maybe you already have a large family and a second bathroom is needed – the loft is the ideal location. It could be the space to create the perfect home office for your business, or a playroom for the kids… the list is endless.

If you have ever thought about moving home for extra space, think about the loft first – it probably has all the space you need!

Convert Your Loft: DIY, Local Builder or Specialist Firm?

Loft Conversion - Decision MakingDeciding to convert your loft from a dark and empty space into a spacious living area can add an extra dimension to the home, giving you the extra real estate you need and adding significant value to the property.  When you make the decision to convert your loft – whatever the intended purpose of the extra space – you will have three options: do it yourself, have a local builder carry out the work, or call in a specialist firm. All three have benefits.

Do it Yourself

The DIY option is a very popular one and it is by far the cheapest in terms of outlay – largely because of the money saved on labour. However, while converting the loft into a home office or children’s play area can be pretty straight-forward, the job should still be carried out by someone that is a competent DIYer. If you intend to use the space to create a bathroom, the recommendation would be to hire someone more qualified. You should also be aware that a bad DIY job can cost more to put right than it would to hire a professional. Although, if are on a particularly strict budget, DIY is most likely the best choice.

Local Builder

A local builder should be able to carry out all the work required to convert a loft and they are often available at discounted rates. Hiring a builder will speed up the job considerably in comparison to the DIY option and will ensure the conversion is carried out correctly. However, you should always be aware of the “cowboy” builder. Unfortunately, there are a lot of rogue traders out there, a significant number of whom claim to specialise in loft conversions. Before hiring any builder, make sure to check their credentials. Word-of-mouth is always a good way to find a legitimate building firm. Also read previous customer reviews online.

Specialist Company

There are many companies in the UK that specialise solely in loft conversions, providing everything from the initial drafts right through to the clean-up. Specialist firms are experienced in various types of conversions and can generally provide a turn-around of 6-8 weeks. Of the three options, this one is likely to prove the most expensive and there is also the “cowboy” element to look out for, but if a complete, no-nonsense job from start to finish is what you require, a specialist loft conversion firm is the recommended choice.

Convert Loft into a Bedroom

So you have decided to have a loft conversion? YES – Its a wise move to make use of that attic and you won’t regret it. Many people choose to convert loft into a bedroom.

In fact 70% of the lofts converted in the UK have been made into a bedroom.  This is unsurprising given a loft makes the ideal guest room.  Most families are outgrowing their home and it is therefore not surprising many lack that extra room when a friend or family member wishes to stay over. A loft conversion will ensure the well insulated roof will keep heat inside and the cold air outside – allowing that lucky person to have an incredible nights sleep.

A bedroom in the loft can be accompanied with a shower and toilet – this can be done with minimal extra cost. Loft slopes make the ideal space for storage and when converting your loft always make sure that your loft conversion specialist includes this into the final architectural design.

The type of loft conversion popular for bedrooms are  dormer loft conversions – this is because they allow the homeowner to maximise roof space and in many cases allow for both the bedroom and bathroom. A velux loft conversion would only allow an additional bedroom in 90% of the cases. This is because there is simply not enough height space and you do not want to get the feeling on living in a cage…. don’t cramp everything it and live with a regret. A loft conversion should be a dream airy room – not a cupboard.

With a focus on London, many homeowners are choosing to convert their loft to bring in additional income. A room in London with its own bathroom would bring a minimum of £500/month – that’s a minimum of £6000/year. With a typical bedroom conversion costing £30,000 – that’s an immediate ROI of 20% (not bad!)

Did you know – An additional bedroom will also add a minimum of 10% to the value of your property.

Loft Conversions: Making the Most of your Home

Loft Conversion Study

For many people, the loft is simply that empty space at the top of the house used to store old boxes or hide away old school books, CDs, childhood toy and of course Christmas decorations for another year. However, with living space increasingly at a premium, the loft could prove to be much more than a dumping ground.

Loft conversions can transform what was once a dark and empty void into a luxury living space. Regardless of the size of your attic, a loft conversion can have it looking spacious. For tight lofts, a dormer extension can add the necessary space, while larger areas can benefit from a roof light conversion. When you consider the options that a converted loft can give – especially to a family – you realise just how wasted the space is in its current un-converted state.

Think about living as a family of four in a small three bedroom property. What happens when you are expecting baby number three? Sure, when the kids are young sharing a bedroom will not be a problem; the newest addition to the family can take bedroom number three. But as any parent with older children will know – kids sharing a room is a disaster! As kids grow up they begin to value privacy and have a need for their own space. A loft conversion can give this much needed extra bedroom. And it doesn’t have to be for the kids; include an ensuite and make it the master bedroom, or if you are a small family and have regular guests, a converted loft can serve as the perfect guest room.

A loft doesn’t have to be a bedroom; it can be anything you need it to be. Perhaps you are starting a business working from home and need some office space, or maybe just a place to study in peace. A small attic could also be the ideal location for an extra bathroom. A large family fighting over one bathroom is never a good thing!

Whatever your space problems, a loft conversion can be the perfect, cost-effective solution. Please have a look at our loft conversion gallery for some inspiration as to how you may wish to covert your loft

Loft Conversions in the Current Housing Climate

hipped-roof-loft-conversion Loft Conversions – involves converting your attic into a habitable living space. In the current climate, UK house prices are somewhat stagnant and I am including London in this statement. Those wanting to get on to the housing ladder need to have a significant deposit (atleast 25%) to obtain a decent mortgage interest rate. Landlords are the new capitalists and demanding high rents given the shortage in supply. It seems for many to be a losing battle whilst lives are literally put “on hold” and pumping more dead money into other peoples pockets.

The recent recession has created a baby boom – it is now blossoming and many families are out growing their current homes. Moving house on average cost atleast £8,000 taking into account estate agent fees, days off work, removal, storage costs, solicitors, bank charges not to forget the added stress as you go through the housing transactional process. This is why a loft conversion is strongly being considered by many especially those in London, who have built local ties and a feeling of community. It avoids the upheaval and there is no longer the requirement to detach oneself from the many happy memories they have built from their home. Kids are able to keep and build bonds with their friends.

A loft can be converted from as little as £24,000 and the process can take only 4 weeks.