Converting the Loft

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Why convert?

Why not? When was the last time you really used the loft?We all love the idea of the loft. You only have to mention the word, and everyone has the same image – dusty toys, old books and cobwebs. Not to mention that ancient yellow insulation! It is a great place for the kids to play, and the perfect location to hide the old junk.But let us be realistic. Once the children grow up, what is the point in having an loft? Do you really want to store all those things up there? We all love a bit of extra space, and a loft conversion is the perfect answer.Turning the loft into an office, a spare room or a guest bedroom is much cheaper than building an extension. It makes full use of wasted space, and it enhances the value of your property.A loft conversion is a very economic decision. According to mortgage lender Abbey, at least 50% of homeowners find the cost of moving beyond them and decide to stay put. Converting existing space offers an affordable way to gain that extra space.What are you waiting for? Follow our handy hints below and get cracking on that loft!

What can the extra room be used for?

Unless you live in a mansion, the loft is always going to be a bit limited in size, but do not be put off. With a little imagination and some creative design work, the loft can be turned into something of which you can be proud.Here are a few examples:TV Room: This is ideal for households with teenage children. A separate room, set aside for entertainment is a great way to avoid all those rows over who watches what!Any electrician worth their salt will be able to install a TV point, so getting the power supply sorted is no problem. Most lofts have no windows, but these are legally required for a conversion, so don’t write off the idea because you think there won’t be enough light!Children’s Playroom: For most toddlers, the living room floor is a sufficient play area. Once children reach the age of 6-11 years, however, they will certainly need a bigger place to let off steam.The loft can be the ideal place. It is well away from the main living area, and as space is the important the play area will only need a basic conversion, i.e. no fitted furniture.Children can run about freely, but you will have to conform to insulation requirements.
Guest Bedroom: The average, middle-income family home does not have a guest bedroom, so it’s not surprising that this is fast becoming the most popular choices for loft conversions.A loft bedroom is ideal – it will absorb some of the heat loss from rooms lower down in the house. The size of most lofts is also in keeping with a basic guest room, and most houses will have enough space to include a small basin.With comparatively little extra cost, a walk-in shower is an ideal accompaniment to the guest bedroom.Do not forget the wardrobe! Loft roofs slope, so make sure you include space for clothes storage in the plans before you go ahead with the conversion.Shower/Bathroom: A surprising number of lofts are being turned into extra bathrooms. These can be a godsend, especially where teenagers and guests are concerned.Lofts are easily plumbed into the main system, and most lofts will have enough space for both a bath and shower. You will need to ensure that there is sufficient water pressure for the bath/shower to operate effectively. Make sure you leave enough headroom in the shower!One note of caution though – in many houses the water tank is located in the loft, and this may need moving altogether. While this will present no problem to a qualified plumber, you will want to think about this before designing the room.If you decide to go with a bathroom, the plumbing is not complex and will simply depend on the labour charges. A plumber in London will cost more than one in Cambridgeshire. This obviously affects the cost of the job. A three-piece bathroom suite will cost anything from £500 to £3,000 more than any other habitable loft conversion.Office: Hundreds of entrepreneurs have started a firm from an office in the loft, and thanks to the Internet increasing numbers of employees are opting to work from home part-time. Whether you are setting up your own business or just want a quiet area to work, the loft can be the ideal office.As most home offices are only laid out with one user in mind, this can be a very cost effective option. You will not need the whole space, so go for a part-conversion here. This saves money, and only utilises the room that you really need.Getting a phone extension to the top of the house is easily managed, and broadband and computer installation should not present a problem.