Different Types of Loft Conversion

Dormer loft conversionLoft conversions are a popular way to add extra room to your home and you may not even need planning permission. If you’ve decided to go this route then there are a few different types of loft conversions to choose from, so here is a quick summary to help you decide which is most suitable for you.

Dormer Loft Conversion

This is the most common type of loft conversion. It involves raising a vertical wall from the bottom of a sloped roof (most often from at the rear of the property) and then extending a flat roof from the top of the existing roof out to meet the wall. Inside the walls are vertical and the ceiling horizontal. Dormer loft extensions are usually of timber construction and hung with slates or tiles.

The main advantages of a dormer loft conversion are that it provides the largest amount of extra space as both the floor and headroom are maximised; they are for the most part more economical and quicker to build than other types; and planning permission is usually not required, as long as you meet the requirements for your area.

It is often also possible to do the majority of the work from the outside using scaffolding and so it can be less disruptive than some other extensions and you should be able to stay in your home while it is being constructed.

Hip to Gable Loft Conversion

This is an option for detached or semi-detached houses that have a ‘hipped’ roof (the sides of the roof slope inwards towards the ridge). The sloping roof is replaced with a vertical wall at the same height as the ridge to create more space. The loft area in these types of homes is generally quite small so this is a good option to maximise the space. If the loft space has a hip-end roof on both sides then you can opt for a double hip to gable conversion which would give even more space.

Hip to gable loft conversions are not suitable for all properties. Firstly there must be a hipped roof area to work with (for example a mid terrace house wouldn’t be able to have this type of conversion as it doesn’t have a hipped end on either side). Some bungalows or chalets may not be able to cope with the additional load, so you will need to seek advice if you’re in a single storey house. And finally, there needs to be enough distance between the ceiling and the roof ridge to create enough headroom.

These types of loft conversion will not usually need planning permission, but as the roof outline will be changed it is worth checking whether or not this is the case for you, particularly if you are in a Conservation Area.

Mansard Loft Conversion

A mansard loft conversion is an option for bigger loft changes and will require structural changes to the property. It’s constructed by raising party walls on each side of the property and then creating a timber frame between these two extensions. It has a flat roof with a shallow slope to the back wall and so the headroom is a bit less than a dormer of the same size. Windows will usually be housed within small dormers.

Because of the structural changes mansard loft conversions will generally take longer and cost more than other types. They will also often require planning permission. The reasons they are still a popular choice is that they are considered to be more pleasing in appearance, particularly when constructed on older properties, and are also suitable for almost any type of property, including terraced houses. They can also generally have whatever finish best suits the type of property, which again adds to the aesthetic.

Hopefully this makes your options for a loft conversion a bit clearer and helps you decide what is most suitable for your property and requirements. Please contact us if you have any further questions about adding a loft to your home.

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