Loft conversions - tips and advice

If you need some extra space in your home but can't or don't want to move, you might consider extending upwards into your loft space. If your lucky enough to have a large space in your roof, a loft conversion could add an extra room to your house and potentially a few zeros to your house's value.

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Make sure your loft has both adequate floor space and a decent height before you start planning your conversion. If you employ a good architect you will be able to create a plan that best uses your available space.

Another step to take before you start spending money on your conversion is to contact local estate agents to find out if other houses in the area have benefited from loft conversions. If the extension does not add value to your property, you might want to think twice about going through with it.

Some more questions to ask before you go ahead with your conversion are: have you got a party wall agreement with your neighbours? Have you got space for built-in storage in the new room? Will you soundproof the new room? Is there enough light? Will your current boiler be big enough to cope with extra radiators? Will the new room be well insulated and ventilated?

A basic loft conversion can cost around £10,000. If you want to have extras such as an en suite bathroom or a dormer window, the cost can rise to between £25,000 - £40,000. Dormer windows are a good investment since they create extra space by extending out of the roof.

Before you start any building work, make sure you have planning permission or a permit from the local planning authorities. If you don't do this and the local authorities decide they don't want loft conversions in your neighbourhood, they can force you to restore your loft to its original condition.

Don't try cutting corners or skimping on costs as cheap conversions are easy to spot and you won't be doing yourself any favours house-price wise. But do shop around builders for the best quote.

If you want your conversion to be an extra bedroom, you will have to comply with stringent building regulations. A proper staircase and windows are necessary, as are fire safety standards such as fire doors that swing shut and a fire escape.

Finally, you might want to think about protecting your investment through a warranty. For example, MasterBond is an insurance-backed warranty that costs around £150 per £10,000 or work. This will provide you reassurance in case something goes wrong during the work and for 10 years afterwards.

Are you planning to build a loft conversion or have you already built one? If so, then leave a comment below and tell us about your experiences.