Home Improvement

What Type of Loft Conversion to Choose

Whether you want to add value to your home, expand your living space by building upwards, save your outside green space, or battle the shortfall in UK homes, a loft conversion can be a very smart idea.

The process doesn’t need to be complicated. But you will need to work out whether your roof space is suitable and which of the most popular loft conversion types will be best for you.

Explore the best ways to get started with your attic conversion here. This post is for you, if:

  • You want to know more about the different types of loft conversion
  • You want to build a loft conversion
  • You want to add extra value to your property

Why build a loft conversion?

People add loft conversions to their properties for all kinds of reasons. Many people simply want the extra space. Who doesn’t dream of having their own perfect home office or gym? Or of another bedroom for when the family grows or to host more guests?

Perhaps the most popular reason to convert your attic though is the value it adds to your home. But how much value does a loft conversion add?

1) The most cost-effective way to add value to your home

As a general rule, a high-quality loft conversion can add anything from 10-20% onto the vale of your home. In parts of the country where space is limited and properties are in even higher demand – think London or other properties in city centres – this can be even higher.

This is largely driven by the fact that other ways of increasing the size of your property are much more costly. Here, we’re thinking about things like house extensions, which are also likely to need planning permission where a loft conversion may not.

All in all, the average cost of a loft conversion is around £21 000 to £44 000. A good conversion will then add £50 000 to £60 000 to the cost of your home. That’s a pretty hefty profit.

2) Size and purpose determine the added value

The scale of your loft conversion and the purpose you put it to will govern how much value it adds to your property.

Different rooms, like that dream home office or an extra bedroom, have different market values. It’s worth investigating these before you choose what you’re going to do with all that extra space.

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3) Go green to go big (on added value)

Another major factor that can see your loft conversion add much more value to your home than you might expect is its green credentials.

By adding sustainable elements like natural insulation and roof windows designed to be eco-friendly, you improve the property’s energy efficiency. The large numbers of people on the lookout for lower EPC ratings when buying a home will ensure the value of your property increases too.

Choosing between types of loft conversion

Deciding to convert your attic is one thing. Selecting between different types of loft conversion is quite another. What makes one particular type of conversion the best for you may depend on a wide range of factors.

Chief among these are likely to be the style of property you have and your existing roof structure. But you’ll also want to consider whether you may have planning restrictions and what your budget is going to be.

Working with a professional company is always the best way to proceed. They’ll be in a position to advise you on which of the different types of loft conversion is most suitable for your space. This might be:

1) Dormer loft conversion

A dormer loft conversion is probably the most common type you will find in UK homes. You’ll almost certainly have seen them on numerous properties even in your nearby local area, possibly without realising.

They’re the ones that look like an extra room has been added extending vertically from the slope of the roof. But while dormer loft conversions can look outwardly similar, there are several different types you might want to consider.

For example, a single dormer adds new head height to a roof space and will probably feature skylights. A double dormer will often have flat roofs and reach across the whole width of the building. For terraced homes that don’t have a lot of space, a flat-roofed former can add a lot of extra internal room.

Dormer loft conversion pros

  • Suitable for most UK homes and usually falls under permitted development rights
  • Often the most cost-effective choice
  • If your attic is cramped, it can add more headroom
  • Offers good ventilation and light
  • Finished walls and ceilings are straight and flat

Dormer loft conversion cons

  • Depending on the design, can be less visually attractive than other options

2) L-shaped loft conversion

People wondering what a dormer loft conversion is can be forgiven for confusion when it comes to L-shaped loft conversions. Technically a type of dormer, they’re actually different enough to warrant consideration on their own.

Sometimes referred to as an “L-shaped dormer” or a “dog-leg dormer”, this type of conversion is essentially two dormer conversions at right angles to each other.

For certain types of properties you will find in the UK, an L-shaped conversion is a great choice. Particularly Victorian terraced or semi-detached and period properties and other homes where an extension on the ground floor – for an extra kitchen or ground-floor bathroom – has made more roof space available.

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L-shaped loft conversion pros

  • Creates a lot of extra space, maximising head room
  • Great for lots of different UK properties
  • Often falls within permitted development rights
  • Shares many other benefits with a dormer conversion

L-shaped loft conversion cons

  • Very few! May be visually less appealing depending on design, but in some cases can actually aesthetically “balance out” a property depending on the original shape

3) Hip to gable loft conversion

A hip to gable loft conversion involves converting the sloping side of the property’s roof (the “hip”) into a vertical (“gable”) wall. It is sometimes combined with other loft conversion types to maximise the space that’s added.

If your property has a hipped or sloping roof, this can be a great choice. Particularly if you have a detached or semi-detached property. A hip to gable conversion adds a lot of headspace or another room to increase the amount of living space you have available.

Hip to gable loft conversion pros

  • Excellent choice for increasing living area in certain types of home
  • Can add a large amount of value to a property
  • Gives you many options for uses to put your new space to

Hip to gable loft conversion cons

  • May require planning permission
  • This is one of those loft conversion ideas that may not be suitable for all house types – it’s not possible for a terraced house, for instance
  • Might not add as much space as a dormer loft conversion

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4) Mansard loft conversion

Flexible and stylish, a Mansard loft conversion is sometimes known as a “French roof”. That’s because their designer, Francois Mansart, was French – they are also a feature of the famous Louvre in Paris.

A Mansard conversion involves altering the roof so that the sloping parts are effectively almost flattened up towards the horizontal. This flattened roof then becomes a steep pitch almost at the vertical, with new windows often housed in small dormers.

A more standard loft conversion might create extra room. A Mansard usually creates an extra storey. You’ll find lots of them in London, where they create the classic “traditional London roof” found on many terraced houses.

Mansard loft conversion pros

  • Creates a very large amount of extra space
  • Classic styling can improve the appearance of many properties
  • Suitable for a wide array of house types, from detached, semi-detached, and terraced houses to bungalows

Mansard loft conversion cons

  • Will usually call for planning permission
  • The sheer amount of extra space a Mansard conversion adds will require more work and can often cost more than other loft conversion types

5) Velux loft conversion

Velux windows are sometimes called roof windows or skylights. As you might imagine then, a Velux loft conversion relies mainly on skylights to turn attic space into new living space.

The windows are fitted between roof rafters and the conversion will not involve changing the roof structure. In turn, this means you won’t need planning permission. It also makes this type of loft conversion very much on the cheaper end of the scale. But it does also mean you won’t be creating that much additional space.

Velux loft conversion pros

  • Very cost-effective way of converting your loft space
  • Will rarely require planning permission
  • Very fast to install
  • Doesn’t much alter the outside appearance of a property

Velux loft conversion cons

  • Doesn’t add much more usable space
  • Staircase may take up more living space

Is planning permission required for a loft conversion?

There are certain criteria that govern whether planning permission is required for a loft conversion. In general, the simpler the conversion you’re planning – a Velux conversion, for example – the less likely you are to significantly alter the building and the less likely you are to need planning permission.

It’s always a good idea to use professionals to check this sort of thing for you though. They should take care of preparing all of the necessary documents and generally answer any “is planning permission required for a loft conversion” related questions you have.

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Find out just how stress-free and easy it can be to add more living space and value to your property.

You can transform your home and make your dreams come true with our interior design service or renovate your kitchen using a professional kitchen design service. Discuss your plans with a loft conversion expert, talk about your home extension or outbuilding projects. Get all the information you need about how the experts will take care of everything for you from the organisation phase to the completely finished project.


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Image Source: Shutterstock / Klaus Wagenhaeuser

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