How to add a loft conversion to a period property

How to convert a loft in a period property

If you need more space in your home and don’t want to move, having a loft conversion is a popular option. But if your happen to live in a period property, is the process as straightforward as it is for modern homes? We take a look at what you need to know to add a loft conversion to your period home.

Do you have a suitable space to convert?

One of the benefits of owning a period home is that you may be more likely to have a suitable attic space that can be developed. Compared to some modern homes that are built with small or low lofts, properties such as those in Edwardian or Victorian style, tend to have roomy attics with good roof pitch, making them ripe for conversion.

Do you need planning permission?

Mansard loft conversion from Abbey Lofts

In most cases, planning permission isn’t needed for a loft conversion, as it comes under permitted development. For permitted development, your conversion will have to meet certain requirements, such as not exceeding 40 cubic metres for terraced homes or 50 cubic metres for semi-detached or detached homes, not extending higher than the current highest point of the house and using materials that are similar in appearance to the existing property.

The best way to find out for sure if you can go ahead with converting your loft without planning permission is to seek the advice of a builder or architect.

Aside from planning permission, all loft conversions do require Building Regulations Approval to ensure the structure and design are fully compliant and safe.

What types of loft conversion are possible for period homes?

Front slope loft conversion in a period property

There are various different types of ways a loft can be converted and it depends in part on the size and shape of loft you have, and the construction of your roof. Some of the types of conversions suitable for period homes include hip to gable loft conversions, dormer conversions and L-shaped loft conversions.

Hip to gable loft conversion

A hip to gable conversion is suitable if you have a regular, hipped roof with a sloping side. The conversion extends the roof on the slopping side, putting in a vertical wall that forms the gable. This type of loft conversion is suitable for detached and semi-detached properties as well as end-terrace homes. It’s not, however, possible to do if you live in a mid-terrace property.

Dormer loft conversions

If your attic space isn’t naturally roomy, then a dormer loft conversion could be an option. The most simple type of dormer conversion is a flat roof dormer, which will add a decent amount of internal space whilst still being budget friendly. This style of conversion is suitable for most styles of properties

L-shaped loft conversions

An L-shaped loft conversion has the potential to create the biggest amount of additional space in your home, but it’s only possible on certain properties. It’s ideal for Victorian and Edwardian terraced and end of terrace homes that already have a rear extension on the back of the property.

Other issues to consider when having a loft converted

If you're thinking of having a loft conversion, will there be space for an en suite bathroom too?

If you want to add an en-suite bathroom or shower room in your loft conversion, it’s much easier to achieve if you can site it above an existing bathroom in your home, as all the pipework will already be in place.

If you don’t already have a staircase up to your loft, you’ll need to have one built in. This could have an impact on the existing layout of the floor below your loft, so you may have to lose some space in an existing room or on the landing below. It can sound confusing trying to re-imagine the space, but a company such as Abbey Lofts can guide and advise you on the best approach for your home.

To meet building regulations, you’ll either have to have fire safety doors fitted or install mains operated smoke alarms in all rooms.

Having any building work undertaken in your home can be a disruptive experience, but if you’re in need of extra space and want to continue living in a much-loved period property, making the investment in a new loft conversion can be very much worth it.

Image credits: Shutterstock and Abbey Lofts

(Collaborative post)

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