Hysmark are building contractors based in Cornwall. Our local builders undertake construction projects in Bude, Launceston, Wadebridge, Newquay, Tavistock, Padstow, Truro, Bodmin and beyond. Our craftsmen are highly skilled, experienced and complete their work to a masterful level.
One of the most common services that we provide is constructing loft conversions. Loft conversions are a great way of increasing the value of your property and expanding your home without expanding its footprint (and, often without the stress of obtaining planning permission!).
In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why a loft conversion may be right for you, how to find the right building contractors for your project, and how to make the process as stress-free as possible!
Why are loft conversions a good idea?
Let’s start with a bigg’un. Value. According to the HomeOwners Alliance, adding a loft conversion to your property can increase its value by 20%. Just let that sink in a moment… By building upwards, you avoid much of the cost and the administrative nightmare of getting planning permission for an extension that would increase your home’s footprint.
As well as increasing the value of your home, loft conversions can provide a cost-effective way of providing more space for your family, without having to move to a larger house. So, if your family is growing, a loft conversion could be a great way to create a bedroom space for the little ones.
Cornish homes, in particular, can also financially benefit from loft conversions. A self-contained annexe space, equipped with an ensuite and kitchenette, could be put to use as an Air B n B, meaning that your building project immediately pays for itself. If your current house structure allows it, why not consider a balcony or roof garden to earn yourself that Superhost rating!
With so many of us now working from home, having a room separate from the rest of the house is ideal. Loft conversions can be made sound-proof, meaning that your office, studio or study can be a quiet, peaceful place to work (and Zoom) from.
The pandemic has also meant that many of us are now holidaying here in the UK, taking part in the Great Staycation! With hotels, campsites, B n Bs and holiday rentals so packed, it can be hard to find somewhere for guests to stay when they are visiting you in the South West. Why not solve the accommodation problem for good by creating a guest-suite in your own loft? Grandparents, parents (and maybe a grown-up child or two) can visit you, whilst also having some space of their own.
Lofts also make great places for storage, and converting a loft makes the space easily accessible. No more crawling about, trying to avoid falling through insulation or down the ladder hole!
What to consider when converting a loft
Firstly, your home will need to be able to accommodate the dimensions of a loft conversion. The internal height should be approximately 8-9 feet, and the footprint of the loft space should be approximately 18 foot by 24 foot. You should take into account the angle of the roof as well, particularly when thinking about headroom and the placement of furniture and fittings. If you’re planning to put in an ensuite, consider where there will be enough height for a shower, and where tall furniture, such as wardrobes, bed headboards, cupboards and bookshelves might fit.
Secondly, you will need a good team of builders and contractors to help you accomplish your conversion. We do not recommend undertaking a loft conversion project by yourself, unless you are a qualified construction worker, as loft conversions require a sign off on Building Regulations, which is part of the service offered by reputable contractors. (This is a service we provide our clients.) You will also need to comply with Fire Safety Regulations and may need to fit special doors and windows. It is possible to do parts of the work yourself, but getting your hands on the right materials and equipment, as well as completing the work safely and on time, can be a challenge for lots of people!
There is also much technique and knowledge required to complete a loft conversion, that takes years of training and experience to acquire. Plastering, laying floorboards, inserting dormer windows, laying insulation, putting up walls and doors, plumbing, wiring in electricity (and being insured for all that work!) takes time and expertise.
We recommend hiring an experienced team of builders who can complete work to an FMB standard and will see the project through from start to finish, on time and on budget.
Whilst loft conversions are often less disruptive than other kinds of extensions, it is important to note that conversions can take time. We recommend blocking out four to eight weeks in your diary for the work to be completed (depending on the size and complexity of your construction project). Consider this when thinking about any events (birthdays, holidays, visitors, interviews etc) that you might have coming up.
Finally, the one you’ve all been waiting for… cost!
A loft conversion with a Velux window will cost approximately £17,000, whilst a dormer window conversion could be between £30,000 to £60,000. More expensive conversions will change the shape of the roof, and so could cost up to £70,000. The shape, size and whether your house is terraced, attached or detached will affect the cost of the conversion. Get in contact for a quote, and shop around for trustworthy, reliable builders to get an idea of a fair price for your build.
Helpfully though, there are many grants that homeowners can apply for to ensure that your loft conversion is ecologically friendly and well-insulated. So make sure you find out what grants are available to you as you budget for your loft conversion. You can find out more about the government’s Green Homes Grant here.
To sum up…
As with any building work, there is much to consider, as these projects take time, money and research. Hiring the right contractors is crucial to ensuring that your loft conversion is safe, well-designed, and ultimately adds value to your home and to your life. Budgeting, scheduling and preparing for the build will also make the whole process easier and less costly. Once the work is done, you will soon start to feel the benefits of your new space!