“Moving up or moving out?” is a decision that many homeowners come up against at some point. Whether you are looking to accommodate the needs of a growing family, create additional space for a home office or a guest room for frequent visits from family and friends, converting unused loft space at the top of the house is often the most practical and cost-effective way to go.
In terms of financing, you don’t necessarily have to have money in the bank. Many homeowners apply for a remortgage to carry out home improvements that add value to the property, of which loft conversions are a prime example. It’s a lot less hassle than moving home and working out cheaper too.
What exactly is a Velux loft conversion?
Velux loft conversions are a popular option for homeowners wanting to increase the habitable space in their homes. Named after the leading brand of roof windows, this type of loft conversion is built by installing pitched roof lights on either side of a sloped roof. Here’s a picture gallery straight from the horse’s mouth, showing some truly inspiring examples of what this could be.
If you think your loft space is big enough and there is sufficient head height to allow you to comfortably stand up, a loft conversion expert will carry out a loft survey and provide a quote for the proposed works.
If the head height is a problem, all may not be lost. There are in fact four recognised methods to extend a loft: roof light conversions, dormer conversions, hip-to-gable conversions and mansard conversions, all of which can further increase the amount of space in your attic or loft. Your loft company will recommend the best option for your property.
Do you need planning permission? Spoiler alert: probably not
One of the key advantages of a simple Velux loft conversion is that you probably don’t need planning consent in order to start the build. Unlike dormer, mansard or hip-to-gable loft conversions that require substantial alterations to the roof, rooflight-only conversions don’t change the roofline and usually fall within the scope of your permitted development rights.
That said, if your property is located in a Conservation Area or has been issued with an Article 4 Direction, has designated listed building status, or if you own it on a leasehold rather than a freehold basis, the above does not apply. In these scenarios, you will need to apply for full planning permission from your local planning authority to get the green light. If you’re not sure, check here for general guidelines, then double-check with your local council and ideally obtain written confirmation.
One more thing: If you are converting a loft into a semi-detached or terraced house, you may need a party wall agreement with each of your adjoining neighbours. This is a legal process designed to protect the interests of all building owners affected by the works and provides a framework for conflict resolution where necessary. Your loft company should be able to advise.
What can a Velux loft conversion realistically achieve?
Going up into the loft is an investment decision for your home, so you need to be sure you will get the results you are after. The good news is that rooflight-only conversions are not only simple to construct, but they can also completely change the space in the attic, as can be seen in this inspirational case study of how a Victorian terraced family home was transformed.
When it comes to your home, there’s a myriad of possibilities, including:
- Master bedroom, ideally with ensuite bathroom and dressing area
- Children’s bedroom or teenage study bedroom
- Guest room for family visitors
- Guest room for renting out – Airbnb, lodger, students, au pair, etc
- Permanent home office space for working from home
- Private study area and library
- Homework space for school-age children or students
- Additional chillout space for entertaining
- Quiet lounge for relaxation
- Teenage den
- TV/media room
- Children’s playroom
- Arts & crafts hobby room
- Yoga studio or home gym
- Music studio
How much will a Velux loft conversion cost?
As loft conversion projects go, the Velux option actually requires relatively little construction work, making it a comparatively low-cost build. That said, while rooflight-only loft conversions are the least expensive of all loft conversion options, remember that you are, after all, investing in a property upgrade.
However, the improvements you are making will increase the capital value by more than the cost of the building works. In other words, you should be able to recoup the investment cost when you decide to sell your home in years to come.
The actual cost of the build is determined by a number of factors including the size of your loft space, the number of windows required as well as their size and type of glazing and of course, the flooring. If you have already done some research, you have probably come across a floating floor type, click the link to read more about floating floorboards.
Back to the cost of the build; before you commit to the build, get three competitive quotes from reputable loft companies or building contractors who are experienced in this type of work. Expect to budget in the region of £21,000-£41,000 for a Velux loft conversion.
Recent figures suggest that a loft conversion can add up to 20% to the value of your home. If you are thinking of maximising the space and value of your property asset, and you can manage the costs and temporary inconvenience, there really is no better way.