Loft conversions in London – FAQs

House renovations in London are very popular. You would be surprised what you can achieve with just a little bit of work. If you are looking for a bigger project, such as a home extension, then your options become even greater. Loft conversions are a fantastic option for a home extension. A loft conversion involves modifying an area that already exists, to make it a liveable. In many cases this involves adding a staircase to merge it with the existing property and adding a dormer to increase the head height and give the room some habitable shape. 

What do we mean by habitable shape? 

Well if you think of a typical loft, it has a pitch either side of the roof, making it kind of like a tepee. This is awkward to use, particularly if you don’t have a huge ridge height. In London, a typical ridge height is around 2.2m. 

What is a ridge height? 

Good question – the ridge height is the height point of your property. It’s the top line you can see if you take a stand back and look at your property from a distance – like this: 

What is a dormer? 

A dormer is the most common form of loft extension we do here at Home Tales. Most local councils don’t appreciate modifications to the front of the property, so as a result, we make modifications to the rear. The front pitch is generally left untouched, with the exception of a couple of Velux windows which can be added. The dormer removes the slanted roof to the rear of the property and adds a flat roof from the ridgeline, toward the garden. This gives the room that square shape. Here is a diagram from the side: 

Can I definetly convert my loft? 

Most likely, yes, but there are some exceptions to the rule. We need to check your existing property to know for sure. It depends on what you have as a loft already, and also your existing property layout. The staircase leading up to the loft needs to be worked into your first-floor layout. In a typical Victorian terrace, there is generally a place to do this which is laps over the staircase between the ground floor and first floor. In some cases, this area is too small and then we need to look at modifying the first-floor layout. Another reason you might not be able to carry out a loft conversion is due to planning permission. If you have a listed building you could be restricted in what you are able to do. 

What if my ridge height is too low? 

Most properties have a ridge height of around 2m to 2.4m. You need around 2.1m at minimum to have a comfortable head height in your converted loft. If we need to increase your head height, we can apply for permission to increase the ridge height. We recently applied for permission to increase the ridge height for a project in Hammersmith and Fulham. Both neighbouring properties had already increased their ridge height by 200mm, so we were simply proposing to increase it to align with the adjoining owners. In this case the council will look upon the proposal favourably as you are asking for permission to keep the ridge height consistent along the row of houses. Another option is to drop the floor levels of your loft, which is essentially the ceiling of your first-floor rooms. Victorian terraces generally allowed for generous ceiling heights, so it doesn’t take away much from an aesthetic perspective. It is a fairly big job from a build perspective, so the preferred method is generally to increase the ridge height if allowed by your local council. 

How much does a loft conversion cost? 

You can expect a loft conversion to cost around £25k to £60k in London. The main influence on cost will be based on three main factors. The first is the size of the extension you are wanting to carry out. The second is the glass within that extension. What kind of windows, rooflights and doors do you want? The last factor is the host properties existing structure and layout. For example, if the ridge height of the property is low, you might need to drop the first-floor ceiling to gain an acceptable head height in the loft. Read more about loft conversions and their associated costs here.

How long will it take to complete? 

The design phase takes around 3 to 4 months at minimum. You require designs, planning permission and structural calculations. The build will take around 12 to 16 weeks for a typical loft conversion. If you go for bespoke options such as made to measure glazing, it might take longer as you can only order the glass once the shell is built. 

How do I get started?

Contact our team and we will get you booked in for a site visit. This enables us to learn more about your project and ideas. We will take a look around your property and take some details. Following this visit, we will issue you with a quote for the works. You can then decide if you want to proceed from there. Call us on 0207 043 2378 or email us at hello@hometales.co.uk. You can also book a visit directly via our online portal here.  


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