Not sure what kind of loft conversion to go for? Here’s what you need to know..
These are the most common type of loft conversion you’ll see in the UK. This is because they are suitable for most loft types – no matter if it’s a London townhouse, or a post-war suburban semi. The telltale sign of a dormer conversion from the outside is a vertical wall extending from the bottom of the vertical roof, which is then either housed by a flat or gable roof of its own. This design allows maximum headroom in the loft, so is often the most appropriate type of conversion for attics with low ceilings.
This type of conversion commonly falls under the remit of permitted development, meaning it does not require planning permission. However there are exceptions to this: for example, if the property is listed or if it’s within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or conservation area.
Gable-end conversions are more intensive construction wise, but they are becoming an increasingly popular choice of conversion, particularly in cities and on semi-detached properties. Rather than the extension being built along the length of the roof, construction is instead focused on the ends (gables) of the property.
Where roofs on buildings usually slope inward towards the centre of the roof at the gables, this type of conversion replaces that slope with a vertical wall. This allows you to convert the roof into either one massive space or several rooms. One of the great advantages of this conversion is you can fit massive feature windows or Juliet balconies at each gable to flood the property with light, which can then be complemented by a series of skylights.
Usually this type of conversion will leave you with a vaulted ceiling, so is often more popular in buildings with lofts that already have an abundance of headroom and don’t need the ceiling raised.
Mansard conversions, named after a 17th-century French architect, are relatively uncommon in the UK as they tend to be the most intensive type of conversion, requiring fairly significant changes to the shape of the roof.
It works by altering one of the sloping sides of a property’s roof to a much steeper slope of around 72°. This is done by raising the gable walls at either end of the property, and creating a new timber frame in the roof, with a series of small dormers providing windows. Unless the property was built in a mansard style, this typically involves replacing the entire roof.
As this involves making fairly major changes to the profile of the roof, this type of conversion usually requires planning permission. Because of this, mansard conversions usually face the rear garden. Although front facing or even ‘double mansard’ conversions are hypothetically possible, getting planning approval for this can be problematic.
This type of conversion allows for really significant amounts of space to be added to the home, and can be done in a style that fits with the property’s existing features. However the amount of work involved is considerably more than other types of loft conversion.
Deciding what’s right for you
These are the three most popular types of loft conversion, and while all are viable options to add living space in a property, not all conversions are suitable for all building types. For example, a gable-end conversion won’t be feasible in a middle terraced house, of course, as it won’t have any gables to convert!
If you’re unsure about what the best option for your home would be, make an enquiry for a free consultation with Opun. One of our loft conversion Trade Partners will be able to visit your home and assess what could be the right choice for you – with no obligation to purchase.