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As we all know, property prices in the city are high and space is at a premium. If you want to have another child, but need more room, the costs of moving to a bigger house may seem prohibitive. However converting your loft can add up to 20% more space to your property, giving your family somewhere to grow into, whilst providing a massive boost to the value of your home! Click here to find out more about why adding a loft conversion to your home is a great alternative to moving.
Many houses in the capital are suitable for a loft conversion, and there are four basic approaches. The right one for your home will depend on a number of factors, including the type and age of your property, the existing roof structure, and local authority development plans, and, of course, your personal preference.
A Velux loft conversion takes its name from the well-known brand of roof windows which can be found in almost all modern loft conversions. This is the most basic form of conversion, which leaves the existing structure largely untouched, but involves the installation of new Velux windows in the roof alongside interior work to make the loft into a liveable space.
Velux conversions are most suited to attics with plenty of pre-existing head-height and those which, because they are in a conservation area, have restrictions on significant visible alterations to the roof structure. There are many conservation areas across South West London, including Wimbledon Hill Road, Bathgate Road and Twickenham Riverside, to name just a few. While homeowners in one of these areas will still need planning permission to carry out a Velux loft conversion, it’s usually not needed in other parts of the city. Check your local authority website to find out which areas are designated as conservation areas. For example, Richmond residents can find a map of the conservation areas here.
Dormer conversions are a very common kind of loft conversion, and are perfect for terraced houses. A dormer is a timber structural extension, often hung in tile or slate, which projects horizontally from the plane of a sloping roof, usually at the rear of the property. These conversions are a popular option for homeowners in need of plenty of extra space, because they provide a large floor area, and a good head-height is achievable in the majority of the loft.
With dormer loft conversions, most of the construction work is conducted externally using scaffolding at the front and rear of the house, which keeps disruption to the occupants to a minimum. In most cases, homeowners can stay put whilst building work takes place. It’s also a good choice if you’re expecting a baby. Dormer conversions are usually faster and more economical to build than other types of loft conversions, making it a great choice for those who are pressed for time. Planning permission is usually not needed, provided that you do not have any existing extensions and you meet your borough’s criteria.
A mansard is constructed by raising the party walls (the walls shared with neighbouring properties) on either side of your house, and then creating a timber frame between the two new wall extensions. The rear face of a mansard has a shallow slope backwards, resulting in a final head-height which is slightly less than in an equivalent sized dormer.
Mansard style loft conversions offer many of the same advantages as dormers, although some people regard mansard loft conversions to be more aesthetically pleasing, especially on older properties. Because a mansard conversion entails significantly altering the existing roof structure, planning permission is almost always a requirement.
Hip-to-gable loft conversions are suitable for homes that are detached or semi-detached and have existing hip-end roof structures, meaning that the sides of the roof slope inwards towards the top, or ridge of the roof. Hip-to-gable loft conversions replace the sloping roof with a vertical wall (gable) that is the same height as the ridge, filling in the area which was previously external to the property. If your home is a detached property with a sloping roof on either side, you can even opt for a double hip-to-gable loft conversion to add even more space.
As the act of converting a hipped roof to a gable doesn’t add a vast amount of room, it is usually combined with a dormer or mansard style conversion, though it can make a simple Velux loft conversion more spacious. Hip-to-gable loft conversions are an attractive option for homeowners because they generally fall under permitted development, and don’t require planning permission.
Landmark Lofts have been converting lofts throughout South West London for over 8 years, and are the only company in London specialising in loft conversions to be regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). If you would like to see what kind of results our clients have achieved by choosing Landmark Lofts, visit our projects page, and find out how we could transform your house by contacting us for a consultation.
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