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How to Convert Your Loft


The loft of a property is often used to store family memories such as images, baby clothes and old toys. Others completely neglect the attic and are losing out on a great opportunity. To make use of this ample space, many opt to start a loft conversion project. You can gain a whole other section to your property and depending on the size of your home, it could mean more than one room! By choosing a loft conversion, you can gain more space in your home without losing outdoor space. If you were to opt for an extension, then you will lose part of either your front or back garden, depending on which way you decided to extend. With a loft conversion, no space is lost, it is only gained!

What is a Loft Conversion?

A loft conversion consists of transforming an attic space into a functional room, often a bedroom, office, gym or second lounge. To convert your loft, costs will usually start at around £15,000; this is for a basic room-in-the-roof conversion. Typically, this will usually consist of the following:

  • The reinforcement of the floor
  • Skylights
  • Insulation
  • A staircase to the loft
  • Electrics, lighting and heating
  • Fire safety measures, such as fire doors and smoke alarms, to comply with building regulations

Can All Lofts be Converted?

To understand and assess if your loft is suitable for conversion, you need to consider the following factors:

  • Available head height
  • Roof pitch and structure
  • Obstacles such as chimney, beams, water tanks

Calculating the Head Height

When calculating the head height, you need to have a minimum of 2.2 metres of usable space. You measure this from the bottom of the ridge timber to the top of the ceiling joist. If you discover your loft is less than 2.2 metres, don’t panic, you can still convert your loft, although it may take more resource. One option is to raise the roof; this will require planning permission and also scaffolding. The other option is to lower the ceiling in the room below the loft.

What is the Correct Roof Pitch?

With roof pitch, the higher the angle, the higher that the head height will be in the centre of the room. You can improve the space by redesigning the roof, therefore, creating more headroom throughout the area.

Are There Certain Roof Structures That Can’t be Converted?

The more traditional roof structures are most suitable for loft conversions; they allow for the space to be opened up reasonably easily and is perhaps the cheapest method. A structural engineer will be able to assist you with understanding if your roof will require additional supports or if the rafters need to be strengthened. Roof trusses are slightly more challenging to incorporate with regard to loft conversions. To be able to convert the space, a steel beam is often required between load-bearing walls; for the new floor joist. Additionally, the rafter section can be supported on the steel beam along with the steel beam that may also be required at the ridge of the roof.

What Type of Loft Conversion Should I Choose?

There are a variety of different conversions to choose from when transforming your attic space.

Roof Light Conversions

These conversions are undoubtedly the easiest and cheapest, but to achieve it, you will already need a large loft space. For a roof light conversion, all you need to do is add in some skylight windows, floorboards and some stairs to the loft space to make it accessible.

Dormer Conversions

Dormer conversions are the most common type of attic renovation because they are suitable for near enough any home that has a sloped roof. The conversion consists of adding an extension from the slop of the roof, therefore creating a flat roof. They are more expensive than a roof light conversion, but they will provide you with more headroom and floor space.

Hip-To-Gable Conversions

For houses that are only slanted on one side, perhaps an end-terraced property, hip-to-gable conversions are perfect. It works by extending the hip slope and by creating a vertical gable wall; the roof will all be one height. If you have a detached house, you could opt for this option and extend the hip on both sides of the roof, therefore creating an even more spacious loft conversion.

Mansard Conversions

The Mansard conversion works by creating an almost vertical extension on one side of the sloped roof, which is usually the rear. The wall is raised to an angle of at least 72 degrees, and then the roof is flat. These conversions are only suitable for pitched roofs, but they offer an incredible amount of space.


Here at Godfrey, Short and Squire, we are letting agents in Okehampton and have ten years of experience in the field. We can offer our customers a highly personalised service with genuine insider knowledge of the local property market, so get in contact with us today on 01837 54504. 

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