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Turning your attic or loft into a liveable space

Unique loft conversion at a home in Cardiff

When it comes to creating an additional room in the home, one of the first places that springs to mind is the loft.

Everybody loves a loft conversion!

It all depends on the available space, of course, but for some a home extension may prove the best option if there is plenty of available land around the property - though an attic or loft conversion is still incredibly popular with families who are looking for an extra bedroom, chill-out area or additional living space.

Converting an empty and underused attic or loft into a liveable space makes fantastic financial and practical sense. The beauty of a loft conversion is that more often than not, they are far less costly than the other alternatives. These alternatives usually involve either moving to a property that contains enough space and rooms for you and your family, or building a costly extension onto your current home.

A loft conversion creates a new liveable space out of an area of the home that was otherwise largely null and void, probably being used as nothing but a large storage area for Christmas decorations and old boxes of this, that and the other. Converting this space into something far more useful will add significant value and appeal to your home - often up to 20% if built with quality and attention to detail.

Attic conversions are a breeze with expert local builders

It may seem like a daunting project to undertake, especially if it's your first foray into improving or renovating your property. However, as long as you bring on board reputable local builders with the knowledge and expertise to carry out the work confidently and efficiently, then you'll be surprised at how much of a breeze it really is. A loft conversion is definitely one of the most economical and least disruptive ways to create a new living space in your home.

Before planning your new attic conversion, you'll want to assess just how suitable your property is for this sort of building renovation work. Do you have plenty of roof space? Is the loft area actually large enough for what you want to use it for? Will the height of the internal area allow the attic conversion to be successfully carried out?

You also need to consider the usability of the floor space. If there isn't enough, then it may not be worth your while, or you may want to reconsider what it's used for.

You must also ensure there is adequate access for the conversion to take place. Is there a safe passage to the roof cavity of the house, or do some rafters need to be removed? It's important to check if there is any structural work that needs completing to allow unhindered access into the loft space. Of course, this is something our team would determine for you upon inspection of the loft areas.

Finally, you need to take into consideration the structure, pitch and weather-tight properties of the roof. If you have a modern roof, then it's like to be adequately insulated and watertight. With all of these things checked and assessed, it's possible to then go ahead and think about the attic conversion project and discuss how you'd like the finished attic room to look.

Attic or loft conversions can have a variety of uses

The most common use of a new attic space tends to be for an extra bedroom to accommodate a growing family. However, there are also a variety of other creative ways that people make use of the area. These are usually a dedicated play area or games room, a guest room, a cinema room, a home office or a spare room that simply adds value to the property for someone that is looking to sell in the near future. How you plan on using the loft conversion will have a great influence on the type of conversion, the design and what materials will be used - therefore, it's important to know how you want to use it early on in the project.

Types of attic conversion

Generally, there are 4 types of attic conversions that you can carry out on your home. The type you decide on will depend on the structure of the roof on your property, how you want to make use of the attic space and what sort of budget you're working within.

The 4 types of attic conversion are:

Dormer - These project vertically from the roof and are usually the most common type of attic conversion as they are often feasible even in attics with limited space or headroom.

Rooflight/Velux - A rooflight or velux attic conversion involves the creation of a large window to let in adequate light. In higher end options a balcony may even be installed where possible.

Mansard - These are constructed by raising the walls that are shared by neighbouring properties before adding a frame between the two wall extensions. These are popular with older properties as they tend to have a very aesthetic finish that lend theirselves well to a traditional design.

Hip-to-Gable - These attic conversions are suitable for both detached and semi-detached properties. They are usually combined with a dormer or mansard attic conversion to create the additional floor to your property.

Some important things to consider

No matter which type of loft conversion you undertake, there are a few extremely important things to remember. All planning specs of your conversion project must include solutions for access to the new attic conversion from within the property, plumbing, ventilation and insulation. Your attic needs to be accessed through a staircase erected from within the property, unless you plan on shimmying up and down a fireman's pole - a quality space-saver and upper body workout, if nothing else.

Assuming you opt for the usual route of a staircase, it's worth bearing in mind that this isn't always as straight forward as you may think. There are building regulations that need to be adhered to and any fire or safety concerns need to be considered and addressed so that you can be sure that the new loft space can be evacuated with ease in any emergency situation.

With regards to the plumbing, if your new loft conversion is to contain a bathroom or en-suite then you need to factor in the additional costs of joining new plumbing onto the existing system. As for the ventilation and insulation, it's vital that the roof is adequately ventilated and insulated, otherwise you are likely to be prevented from receiving necessary certification. Ensuring this is done will protect the health and safety of you and your family within the property.

Contracting specialist local builders will help save time, effort and money, as well as ensure that you avoid all of the common pitfalls that we see too often with attic or loft conversions.

In most instances, you won't need planning permission for your attic conversion, unless the proposed conversion design extends or alters the roof - such as a dormer or mansard loft conversion - or if it fails to comply with specific up-to-date planning restrictions that are in place. The Planning Portal provides a useful list of these restrictions. You must ensure your attic conversion design is in line with these to ensure you remain compliant.

It's difficult to provide an average cost of an attic conversion because costs can differ wildly as it depends on a number of varying factors, such as the number of professionals you need to contract (builders, plumbers, electricians etc.), the type of conversion that is built, the size of the conversion, as well as any additional structural work that may need to be carried out. Fixtures and decorations are also other variables that need to be considered within the overall cost. No matter what the cost is, it's likely to yield a fantastic return as long as you are sensible and spend in line with the area within which you live.

Here at RGB Construction, we are experts in all aspects of building and construction, and have a wealth of experience that can ensure your attic or loft conversion is designed and built to the best standard possible. Why not contact us today for a FREE quotation and friendly chat stacked with plenty of friendly advice? You can call us on 07946452571, e-mail or fill in our simple online contact form. You're also welcome to reach out to us on Facebook.

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