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  • Writer's pictureSophie Baylis

Loft Conversion Ideas - is my loft suitable for conversion?

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

Your loft is likely to be one of the most under-utilised areas in your home – so why not make more of it via a loft conversion? This will add space and value to your property. But is your loft suitable for conversion? Johnpaul Manning, MD of Insulation4less, reveals what you need to know.

Q: I’m thinking about converting my loft. Where do I start?

A loft conversion can definitely be a worthwhile project, but I'd recommend you start with some in-depth research to explore what's needed to make it a reality. It’s not just your average DIY project: it’ll call for a lot of planning as well as an understanding that life can be disrupted during the build.

Q: How can I tell if my loft is suitable for conversion?

To find out if your loft can be converted successfully, you need to check that your roof is structurally sound enough to handle the work and whether it’ll need alterations. What these entail (and the costs involved) depends on the type of roof you have:

👉 Traditional roofs are typically found in pre-1960s houses and have rafters running along their edges. This leaves a good amount of free space, which makes them ideal for conversion. However, you might still need new or extra support.

👉 Trussed roofs have W-shaped rafters that support the roof and the floor structure. They may appear to be harder to convert but it’s not impossible; the W-shaped rafters can be replaced with an A-shape structure that creates a hollow space. This work can add additional costs but the project could still be a worthy investment – just make sure you weigh up the pros and cons during your planning.

Q: Who can help me check that my loft is structurally sound and can handle a conversion?

If you’re ever unsure about a building project, especially if it involves the structural integrity of your home, it’s important that you talk to an expert. While most reputable builders would be able to give you great guidance, I would recommend reaching out to a loft conversion specialist for a consultation. Since this is their area of expertise, they'll be able to give you the best possible advice on converting your loft safely, and can step in to help if needed.

Q: I’ve checked that my loft is suitable for conversion. What else do I need to know?

The next things to look at are the roof's height and pitch, and how these will affect the amount of space you’ll have. You’ll need a minimum height of 2.2m to ensure a practical amount of clearance. Think carefully before reducing this: you might be happy to settle for something a little shorter on paper but this could affect your enjoyment of the space later.

Q: What do I need to know about access to my loft conversion?

You might have the space for a loft conversion but will you be able to access it? And is this access fit for purpose? If you're planning on turning your space into a functional room, it needs to have a permanent structure in place such as a straight or spiral staircase. At the very least it’ll need a fixed ladder.

When you’re planning your access route, think about how you’ll strike a balance between space, practicality and comfort. For example, while a fixed ladder can save space, it’s less practical and comfortable. On the other hand, a straight staircase can make life easier but will cost space, not only in the loft itself but also in the area below it.

Read more about loft conversions:

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