Residential Blogs
July 29, 2022

All you need to know about loft conversions

Converting a loft can be a relatively easy way to add useable living space to your home, which would usually add value to your property whilst also being a very practical solution to the need for an extra room.

We spoke to Ben Hosmer of boutique estate agents Maison, based in Tunbridge Wells and he said:

‘On valuations, clients often ask me if a lick of paint, or new carpets will add value to their home. Whilst they will improve the overall presentation and perhaps get a higher offer, it’s the big things that really make a difference to your house value. Adding square footage such as an extension or loft conversion creating more living space, or an extra bedroom is certain to add value. You may even see a return of double your cost or more. New quality kitchens and bathrooms will also add value, as these are important living spaces in the home, spaces that mean a lot to buyers therefore will increase the price you achieve. You may not necessarily have to pay for the most expensive too. The better return may come from spending mid-range with all improvements!’ 

Questions to ask at the earliest stages:

  • Where will we re-home the current contents of the loft? It may sound obvious but we have met clients so keen to have the extra space that they have really chosen to overlook this aspect and left themselves with real storage issues! 
  • What will you use the space for? The clearer you are on this, the more successful the design will be. Is it going to be a bedroom or a playroom, a home office or a hobby room, will it have a shower or full bathroom, might it be a second living space with a view?
  • Once you have decided on the purpose of your loft conversion, think about what furniture you want to put in it, where you will position it and whether it can be brought up the stairs – a crucial point that is easy to overlook.
  • How much will the project roughly cost compared to the approximate value you might add to the house? Invite an estate agent round to advise on what they think your property will be worth after the loft is converted, and also, the maximum property price for your road. There is a tipping point at which it’s not worth adding more value to your house if you would have to be very lucky to recoup it in a sale. If it’s your forever home and you won’t ever need to sell it to recover some of the money in it, go ahead and do what makes you happy!

How will Diamond Interior Contracts help with your loft conversion plans?

We will:

  • advise on whether you can complete your loft conversion under permitted development. If not, it’s not the end of the world. We are not planning experts but we can guide you through applying for planning based on our 40 years experience in construction. Planning will be needed if your home is in a conservation area or if you want to extend beyond the current roofline
  • look at how you can best access your new room with minimal disruption to your existing living space. No-one wants to lose a whole room if they can help it to accommodate a new staircase but nor do they want stairs that are too narrow or feel temporary to use every time they access the loft
  • measure potential head height which could be the deciding factor as to whether it’s worth making the conversion
  • advise on whether the floor needs strengthening, or based on the above, lowering. Floor strengthening is most likely to be required if you intend to install a free-standing bath
  • identify whether you can have a dormer window rather than (or as well as) velux which truly helps to optimise the space
  • look at a difficult loft space and give you our experienced opinion on the size room(s) you could create. If it’s not worth doing, we’ll tell you!
  • identify the plumbing needs of the job
  • recommend insulation improvements required
  • ensure your development complies with Building Regulations and is fire safe
  • take measures to protect your home during the build from water, dust and damage

Diamond Interior Contracts provide a full-service team for all our projects so you will have an assigned project manager you can deal with and we will provide all the trades you need from bricklayers and carpenters to plastering, painting and decorating

We have partners who are shading specialists who can advise on whether you should consider automated blinds or shutters to get the best night’s sleep in your loft conversion. Features like roof lanterns in a deep dormer are stunning and effective for flooding a room with light but could make the space impractical for sleeping at night or for use as a home office

We also partner with electrical specialists who can use lighting to highlight the lovely features in your loft conversion, for example, adding a lighting strip down a beam, or lighting a niche in the shower

Tips for before your project starts:

  • Agree exactly what you want your contractor to carry out in the price you agree for the project. We know how easy it is to think of extra jobs you would like doing while you have a practical team on site, and therefore how project scope can creep. We don’t mind at all and are happy to accommodate your needs when we can. It’s vital that both parties have agreed what is included in the original price so that when you want an ‘extra’ you both agree that it will add time and cost to the project plan. Our teams are led by an experienced project manager, used to working on commercial refurbishment projects as well as domestic so clarifying every task involved in a job is second nature
  • The easier it is to access the loft space, the quicker your job will be and the happier your contractors! Make sure the landing, hallway and doorways are free. Sounds obvious doesn’t it but it’s not only practical and time-saving, it’s also a safety issue
  • Pop over and have a chat with your neighbours. Tell them what you are planning and advise them of when the estimated start and end dates are. An early apology for any future inconvenience can minimise the risk of any potential future conflict

For any advice on your potential loft conversion, please contact Steve at Diamond Interior Contracts on 07790 909531. We’ll look after you!

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