A loft conversion can be a bewildering business. Adding an entire new floor to your home means you need to think about decor, fixtures and fittings for an entirely new space. But before even that you need to decide exactly what kind of loft conversion is right for you.
If “go big or go home” is your mantra, and you believe that you should only do anything whole-heartedly, then it might be that the mansard loft conversion is the right option for you.
What exactly is a mansard loft conversion?
Mansard conversions are one of the largest and grandest types of loft conversion homeowners typically go through. They are usually carried out when a full-width dormer conversion would not leave enough headroom to get Building Regulations sign-off.
Unlike a full-width dormer, which looks like a large box protruding from your roof. A Mansard conversion involves the removal of one pitched side of your roof (normally the rear-facing side) so that a vertical wall can be built up, this wall is then given its own roof that extends back towards the apex of the remaining sloped roof. This means that while the front of your home looks like it has a regular sloped roof, from your back garden you will clearly see an additional floor with a tell-tale vertical profile.
You can also carry out a ‘double’ mansard conversion which involves carrying out this process on both sides, of your home, creating an enormous amount of new space.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of conversion?
The biggest selling point of the mansard conversion is the sheer amount of space they can add to the home, as they essentially allow you add an entire storey, rather than just a room.
The general consensus is also that mansard conversions are more attractive from the outside than any kind of dormer conversion. Mansard conversions result in an aesthetically pleasing roof that is reminiscent of Parisian architecture — which is no surprise considering that is was the acclaimed French architect François Mansart who initially conceived this kind of roof.
Another bonus of this type of conversion is they can add sizeable amounts to your property’s market value.
Of course, no type of loft conversion is without its drawbacks when compared to other options. Unlike many other kinds of conversion, it is most likely that you will need to secure Planning Permission in order to carry out a mansard conversion. They are also more costly than other options and the take longer to be constructed.
The construction process
In order to carry out a mansard conversion on your home, you will first need to have a qualified surveyor or loft conversion expert visit your home. They will take measurements to confirm if your home is suitable for this kind of conversion and will then be able to go off and draw up the plans. After this, you will then need to secure planning permission for the build.
Assuming all of this goes swimmingly, your builders will start construction by first erecting scaffolding around your home. This provides them with a safe platform to work from and also has the benefit of meaning they can access your loft from the outside of your home, so you don’t need to worry about teams of builders coming in and out of your house all the time!
The process then involves the removal of one pitched side (or both sides in a double mansard) of the roof, so that the vertical wall and new roof can be constructed. Builders will also strengthen the floor to support the new weight, and fit a temporary roof to protect the rest of your home from the elements during this period of the construction.
Once the vertical wall and a new roof have been fitted, the builders will add windows, stud walls, insulation, electrics and plumbing to the space. Finally, the project will be finished by the decoration of your loft conversion, and the installation of a new staircase so that you can access it from your landing.
Loft conversions are mostly unobtrusive and non-disruptive home improvements. However, ‘breakthrough day’ which is when the builders cut through your existing ceiling to fit the new staircase can be particularly noisy and messy.
Also keep in mind there is rigorous health and safety legislation in place around loft conversions which means that fire doors and fire alarms may need to be installed in other parts of your home, in order to provide a safe escape route. Rewiring might also need to be carried out elsewhere cope with the increased electrical demands of this new portion of your home.
Is a mansard conversion right for me?
What’s right for you will ultimately be decided by your personal circumstances. If you live in a terraced, or semi-detached property with a pitched roof and you want to add a large amount of space to your home it could be the perfect choice for you, if you can swallow the larger construction costs and project time. On the other hand, if you’re looking to add just one bedroom to your home as quickly and as cheaply as possible a different kind of loft conversion will most likely be a better choice.
Thinking of converting your loft?
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