28 February 2022

Is a loft conversion worth it?

By Renovation Plan

These days, space is at a premium – especially after countless months spent working from home. Many homeowners are looking to expand their properties, and making use of the attic is an obvious option. But what are the benefits of a loft conversion, and is it worth the effort?

Add space, add value

The big advantage of converting the attic instead of opting for an extension is that you’re making use of space that’s already there, without having to encroach into the garden. This means you keep your maximum outside space, while adding valuable extra room within the house itself. After all, most houses have an attic but many don’t have large gardens.

In fact, a loft conversion is actually one of the top ten ways to improve the value of your property[1] – increasing its value by up to 20%[2]. Plus, it’s among the most cost-effective ways to add extra space to your home – commonly costing less per square metre than an extension due to the fact the overall structure is already in place.

Then there’s the fact the extra insulation can help bring down your bills by making your house more energy efficient. So, combine all these benefits with the fact you get significantly more room – whether for that bedroom, office or general living space – and a loft conversion can be well worth it.

So what do you need to consider?
Is your house suitable?

Before you go too much further, it’s a good idea to get a home survey to make sure a loft conversion is actually suitable for your type of attic. As a rule, 9 out of 10 lofts can be converted in some way, with a firm refusal occurring only when the space is too small. But even in those cases, there’s usually a solution to improve the storage space up there so it’s not just wasted space.

A surveyor will also be able to offer advice on making the best use of the space, such as the shape of the room and how to access it safely. For example, can you build stairs or will you need to use a ladder to reach your new room?

Do you need planning permission?

Luckily, most loft conversions don’t need planning permission. This is because they have minimal impact on the exterior of your house and even if you have to build up your home’s side wall to the height of the existing ridge level, you still won’t need planning permission as this type of work falls under Permitted Development Rights.

In fact, planning permission is only really needed when your changes will make a significant impact to the outside of your property, such as raising the roof height or adding a dormer window that’s higher than the highest point of your existing roof. However, you will need to make sure your conversion is compliant with building regulations. 

Where will you store everything?

An important thing to bear in mind if you currently use your loft space for storage is where you will put everything once the attic has been turned into a room. It’s always handy to have a clear out before any building work begins and it’s also worth considering building in some storage space, such as a cupboard, as part of the conversion itself if you think you will struggle to store belongings elsewhere.

Get prepared

Once you’ve decided a loft conversion is the way to go, then always make sure you do your research and find a contractor you can trust. Look for good reviews and recommendations. Choosing the right builder can save you many a headache, from insulation going wrong to poor quality materials.

However, even with the best team working on your house, you’ll still need loft conversion insurance. This will protect you and your property from the costs of anything going wrong during the work, as your normal home insurance is unlikely to cover this.

Lastly, be prepared for a few weeks of disruption. Many attic conversions take between 6-8 weeks, but this can shift depending on anything from bad weather to supply chain delays. However, in the end, you’ll have added both an extra room and significant value to your home – so the weeks of building works will all be worth it.


[1] https://www.propertypriceadvice.co.uk/home-improvements/ten-of-the-best-ways-to-add-value-to-your-home

[2] https://www.michael-hardy.co.uk/blog/is-a-loft-conversion-worth-it-what-you-need-to-consider-august-2019.html

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