If you’re pushed for space, or if your family is starting to outgrow your home, you may want to consider a loft conversion.
For properties with largely unused loft space available, conversions can provide that extra bit of breathing space you may be needing.
More UK residents than ever are converting their lofts into spare bedrooms, children’s playrooms, and even bathrooms. Because they are legally required to include skylights or windows, they can be transformed from dirty storage attics to attractive, open plan rooms full of natural light.
Loft conversions can be completed by a single specialist company or by several individual contractors, meaning the cost will vary. The price will also change depending on the type of conversion you’re looking at as well as the extent of the project – are you looking for a fully plumbed, wired and decorated living space with ensuite facilities, or a simple plastered and painted workroom?
You can use the Tradesmen Prices form just below to get 3-4 loft conversion cost quotes from local companies and tradesmen. They’re credibility checked and vetted for you, so you don’t need to worry about ‘cowboy’ builders operating unlicensed on your property.
There are several options for converting your loft, and because conversions are now legally required to include windows, the design choices centre around which style of window you want installed. The different types range broadly in price, so it’s important to consider your maximum budget when considering which type you’ll be going for.
This is the cheapest option. Up to two windows are installed in the roof of your home to introduce natural light.
This is the most popular style of loft conversion in Britain. It is a smaller extension with a flat roof and window, commonly installed in pairs to preserve symmetry of the house.
- Side/L-shaped Dormer
These are Dormers with an extension added either to the back or side. They can result in a huge increase in floorspace.
- Hip to Gable
Used when either one or both ends of a roof are sloping. A gable wall is fitted as a replacement.
This is the most expensive loft conversion option and involves extending one side of your roof. This creates a new wall which is straight plus a new flat roof, which can sometimes be applied to both sides to create a new storey. This type of extension requires planning permission.
Loft conversion costs depend mainly on two factors:
- The size of the project, and,
- Where you live.
Though loft conversions generally increase the value of a property, how much any potential increase could be is governed by where you are in the country. Space is hugely expensive in the South so a loft conversion there would add more value to a property than it would in the North.
Loft conversions can cost between £20,000 at the bottom end and £40,000+ at the top end. A conversion in a small house in rural England may cost £16,000, while the same job would cost a London resident upwards of £30,000.
You’ll often find that when quoted for a loft conversion, surfaces and fittings aren’t included. That’s because the bulk of work being completed is on the floor, windows, and roof.
Before considering a loft conversion, make sure your home will meet current eligibility criteria, so you don’t find yourself building illegally. As long as your loft has a height of 2.4m+ (approx. 8ft), it’s eligible for conversion.
What are the main benefits of a loft conversion?
The main benefits of a loft conversion are as follows:
- They won’t always require planning permission – compare this to an extension, which will always require planning permission before it is built.
- The project can often be turned around in 6-8 weeks, making them a speedy development perfect for if you can’t sustain the upheaval an extension build would cause over a few months.
- Moving and upgrading can often cost up to £100,000, nearly three times the cost of a basic loft conversion which would give you the extra living space you need.
- It could cost you £27,000 but add an eventual £60,000 value when you put the house on the market.
What are the disadvantages of a loft conversion?
Though loft conversions are generally investments that make a return for homeowners when they come to sell their properties, they do have their drawbacks.
A single storey extension is less complicated, and typically priced at only around £10,000 more than a loft conversion. If you have the budget for one, a single storey extension will add far more value to any property than a loft conversion would.
Another issue that a loft conversion could introduce is the loss of storage space, surprisingly! If you currently use your loft as a place for storing everything you can’t find a place for in the house elsewhere, you may find that conversion into a living space means your garage or shed will now be cluttered with the old things you’d been hoarding in the attic.
Are there alternatives to a loft conversion?
If you can afford it, you may wish to have a single storey extension built instead of a loft conversion.
This is especially worthwhile if you don’t need an extra bedroom or bathroom, but would rather benefit from increased kitchen or living area space.
Similarly, if you have a garage that you rarely use, you may want to consider converting it into another room on the ground floor. This will be significantly less expensive than building a new extension or converting your loft, especially if your garage goes largely unused and has a solid, insulated structure.
Will I need planning permission for a loft conversion?
Typically, a standard Velux or double Dormer loft conversion on a normal home will not require planning permission.
However, a Mansard will always require planning permission as they change the look of the property and can sometimes impede the view from other houses in the surrounding area. The rules state that planning permission is necessary if the conversion:
- Is to a higher level than the roof of the property, and/or, will block the view of your neighbours.
- If either of these points are highlighted as an issue, local planner officials from the council will share this with your neighbours, and they’ll have 21 days to submit an objection.
- Similarly, if your house has listed status, you’ll be unlikely to be permitted development rights, though it’s always best to check with the local planning department.
Who can I buy a loft conversion from?
There are hundreds of companies across the UK who will be able to convert your loft, but it can be confusing trying to find the best quality of work for the lowest price available.
Bigger companies are subject to expensive overheads and higher running costs that smaller companies or individual contractors don’t have to pay for. That’s why it can be beneficial to access quotes from local tradespeople though Tradesmen Prices. Fill in the form at the top of this page to receive 3-4 loft conversion estimates from trusted and reliable contractors.
Should the people who convert my loft be a member of anything (trade body, government registration scheme, etc?)
Converting a loft is not a job for just one companies – it’s lots of trusted tradesmen working together. You’ll need to hire several different types of worker to ensure your loft conversion is completed to the highest standard possible.
They’ll cover building the walls and checking soundness of the structure. Builders are responsible for insulating your loft and effective sound proofing. They should have some sort of insurance coverage.
A glazier will determine the type of windows you’ll need and install them. They should be a member of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF).
They will make sure your new loft conversion has lighting, sockets, and safe wiring installed. If they’re not on the Registered Competent Person Scheme, don’t use them. NICEIC accreditation is always good. Ask for BS7671 test certificate on completion – this keeps the people in Building Regulations happy.
- Heating Engineer
No loft conversion in the UK is complete without heating! A heating engineer will be able to help you decide where to place a heater or radiator and will advise you to install solar panels, depending on your budget and the size of your extension. They should be APHC accredited or similar.
- Plumbing specialist
If you’re looking to add an ensuite into your loft conversion, you’ll need a CIPHE accredited (or similar) plumber to do the job for you.
Increased traffic may warrant stronger ceiling joists. Additionally, storage in your loft conversion could pose a few problems due to the sloped walls. A joiner will be able to help find a solution to these problems. They could be BWF accredited, or similar.
Will smooth out new walls. Plasterers may be British Gypsum accredited, or simply have a good reputation.
You’ll need scaffolding if you choose larger extensions like a Mansard or a Hip to Gable. This is because the roof will require temporary support. Your scaffolding company may be NASC accredited or similar.
How long does it take to convert a loft?
Depending on the extent of the work taking place, converting a loft can take between two weeks and two months.
The Mansard will take the longest time as it requires the most work. Dormers tend to take around 5 weeks and a double Velux ought to be completed in about a month.
The time taken on the project will also depend on who is building it. If you’re using a specialist company, they’ll be able to bring in their different workers in line with their own schedule. Using a variety of individual contractors could leave gaps between stages of work.
Before I get a loft conversion, what should I ask a potential contractor?
If you’re trusting the construction of your loft conversion wholly to a local builder or company, they should be more than able to manage and oversee the entire project.
There are, of course, matters of individual responsibility that need addressing before work begins. You may wish to ask your contractor:
- Who will organise a skip for waste disposal?
- Who will submit paperwork to the Local Council?
- Who will be organising subcontracted workers such as plumbers and electricians?
- How long will the work take to complete?
- Can I see proof of your accreditation and relevant qualifications?
If you choose to hire a specialist firm to do the job instead, they’ll be able to complete the job in-house though you may find there’s an increase on the overall price tag. This is because, as an established larger business, their tradesmen will be full-time employees paid regardless of whether there is any work for them. Smaller companies tend to use trusted tradesmen on loft conversions and they only need to pay them for the hours worked.
However, they should still be able to provide you with answers to any queries you may have.
By choosing to get loft conversion quotes through Tradesmen Prices, you can experience peace of mind that the people who convert your loft are trusted and honest contractors.
They’ll quote you competitive rates and may offer advice on how you can get the most out of your conversion project.
Fill in the form below to receive 3-4 loft conversion cost quotes from local tradespeople, which you can use to compare against others you may already have. This will give you a greater chance of securing a lower overall price, as with more than one company or tradesperson vying for your custom, they may be more inclined to lower your quote as an incentive.