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Loft Conversion - What's possible? 

If your loft falls into the 'land that time forgot' category, then it may be hard to imagine what a transformation could look like.
 
Loft conversion - the possibilities

But with the right planning and design - and a little investment - even the smallest attic area can be turned into a room that will not only be very useful, but may well increase the value of your home quite considerably.

In this section, we will be describing what's possible if a professional loft conversion is being attempted (i.e.) converting to a room with a roof window, proper electrics and possibly plumbing, plus a stairway entry.

Laying a few boards over the joists so that you can walk about in the roof is not a loft conversion, as practical as that may be.
 

So, the first question:

How much height have you got to play with?

Quite obviously, this is the crucial first step in deciding whether the whole project is a possibility.

And, in short, it's 7ft 8" or approx' 2.3m.

Loft conversion - how much room

If you haven't got that much room from the bottom joists to the top of the roof, any sort of room just won't be practical - or safe, unless you decide to extend up and out of the roof.
 

The reason?

Proper loft conversions require a new floor to be built. The existing ceiling joists are not designed to take the weight of furniture etc. or people moving around at regular intervals.

There are also building regulations that put a minimum height to the distance above a stairway and, although a distance of 1.8m is allowable, remember that this is AFTER the new floor has been built.
 

Don't have the headroom?

Then all is not lost, but you will have to consider what is called a DORMIR conversion, where space is extended beyond the roof line.

Loft conversion - standard

Dormir extensions are much bigger projects than normal conversions as they require the removal of key support joists.

Loft conversion - dormir

They can also require a much broader roof frame, and the existing roof reinforced with RSJs (Reinforced Steel Joists) to support the ceiling and vertical walls.
 
As with all major home improvement, though, SwindonWeb recommends that professional advice is always taken before work commences. For loft conversions this is a MUST.
 

Lofty ideas

Assuming your loft has satisfied the minimum height requirement, what could you turn yours into to?

1. Office space

With the rise in the number of people working from home, this is always a popular choice.
 
Loft conversion - office
 
Ideal for getting away from potential noise and disruption downstairs, a nicely converted space can be the perfect place for a desk, computer and filing space.

Key considerations: proper access, lighting, ventilation and power.

2. Bedroom

With homes in Swindon costing nearly 100K a bedroom in certain areas, it's no wonder that the idea of adding an extra one for considerably less than that is an appealing one.
 
Loft conversion - bedroom

It's also the ideal solution for growing families and for those who would like to offer guests more than just the sofa bed in the lounge.
 
If the space can accommodate it, it may be possible to add an en-suite bathroom option or power shower, although this will add to the expense.

Key considerations: bed positioning and access, sound insulation, plumbing, ventilation and power.

3. Playroom

A special place for the little ones to occupy themselves sounds like bliss for many parents.

And for grown ups to it may also be ideal for getting away from the partner, and enjoying an adult pasttime.
Loft conversion - playroom

Needless to say, if it's the playroom option, then safety is paramount. Will the stairway be too steep? And will there be too many sharp corners for banging heads?

If you can solve these issues, then a bright, airy room that is easy to clean will be perfect.

Key considerations: stairway access, space, light and temperature control.

4. Storage space

Not quite as sexy an idea as the ones above, but still a major consideration considering how many belongings we all struggle to find a place for.

You've also only got to look at the number of storage specialists that have opened in Swindon in recent years to see how lacking proper storage space is.

And let's face it, the idea of climbing a ladder and entering a dimly lit loft to retrieve your dusty holiday suitcase is an experience we all want to get away from!
 
Key considerations: weight considerations, maximising space, access.

The next step?

If you've been inspired so far (and who wouldn't be!), the first stage is to actually get up into the loft and gauge what can be achieved.
 
Take a tape measure with you and note down the rough dimensions.

Professional advice is crucial here and nearly all loft conversion businesses will provide free, no obligation quotes on whether a project can be attempted or not. Specialists in Swindon can be contacted via the links page on the right.

MORE IN THIS SECTION
Loft Conversion - Rules and regulations
Loft Conversion - Who to speak to
Loft Conversion - Insulation
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