Convert Your Loft - An Essential Guide
Many people in the UK move house to gain more living space. For some converting a loft may provide another option. In many cases it could be considerably cheaper and less stressful to convert your loft than buying a new house.
Loft conversions can be put to a wide range of use. Bedrooms, hi-tech cinema rooms, home offices and play rooms for children are common uses but loft kitchens and complete "granny" flats can be provided in some houses. Even in relatively built up areas one of the benefits of a loft conversion is the views. Looking out from the roof of your home may provide you with spectacular views which you did not even know were there.
If a loft conversion is a possibility which you want to explore, one way to do so it to contact builders in your area which carry out loft conversions and get their initial views on what could or could not be achieved within your loft space. You may, at a later stage, want to involve your own architect and surveyor but many of the firms specialising in loft conversions offer a service which includes advice from their own in-house professionals.
Obviously it can pay dividends to spend the time talking to a number of firms so that you get a range of ideas about what it possible and what would best meet your needs. If the companies to whom you are talking are able to arrange for you to view conversions at properties which are similar to yours, it can be extremely helpful in enabling you to visualise how your conversion could look. With sloping ceilings and additional staircases, loft conversions are notoriously difficult for home owners to get a clear idea of exactly what the end result will look like. Obviously having a look round another conversion which your prospective builder has carried out can be a great way to get a reference.
Once you have decided in principle what you want to do then obtaining several quotes based on the same specification can help you to be sure that you are getting the best value for money.
Use the hot hints to help you in your discussions with local builders who carry out loft conversions.
- Check whether you need planning consent or any other forms of approval and make sure that it is totally clear whether it will be your or the contractor who submits any planning application and pays the fees.
- On a similar note, check that the builder will take responsibility for ensuring that all building regulations are complied with.
- Ask how long the work will take and when checking references ask whether the builder stuck to agreed timescales.
- Make sure that you understand all of the information relating to head heights on the builder's plans and query whether the heights are before or after insulation, plastering, flooring etc. Head height is often a major constraint in loft conversions and a few centimetres can make the difference between a very useful space and one which has limited value.
- Ask whether any of the doors will have the corners cut off to take account of sloping ceilings.
- If you are having a bathroom installed, ensure that there will be sufficient water pressure for showers and baths to operate effectively.
- If you are using the room created as a bedroom plan to include space for wardrobes. It is not always easy to fit wardrobes into bedrooms with sloping ceilings.
- Check how much space on your driveway or garden your builder will need for materials and a rubbish skip. Where will you park your car? Where will the builders park their cars?
- Ask who will arrange and pay for a skip for rubbish.
- Ensure that a good match for roofing tiles, windows, stair balustrades etc, will be provided.
- Check on the quality of insulation which is being planned. Good insulation can significantly reduce your heating bills. Some insulation is more fire retardant than other types of insulation. Ask your builder what he plans to use.
Once all the details of your planned conversion are agreed and approved, a loft conversion can take place in as little as 6 - 8 weeks. A great way to get extra space quickly.
Caroline Blatchford is the founder of Local Service Guide which helps people to find the UK services which they need.
Whether you need a loft conversion firm, an hotel or a gift shop go to http://LocalServiceGuide.com for services in the UK.