Types of loft conversion

Home renovations in London come in all shapes and sizes. The options that are available to you will depend on multiple factors, including your budget, existing property layout and local council restrictions. Loft conversions are a great way to tap into unused space and add usable bedrooms or living space to your property. Lofts were originally built to offer additional storage to homeowners. Prior to being converted, in most period properties in London, lofts will be accessed via a hatch on the first-floor ceiling. This can then be reached via a ladder. There are lots of different types of loft conversion you can undertake on a period property. We thought we would talk you through some of the most common options. 

Dormer extension 

This is the most common type of loft conversion we undertake here at Home Tales. This involves removing the rear pitch of the roof of the property (generally the one overlooking the garden). A flat roof is then built at a 90-degree angle to the floor of the loft, to open up the room and give it a normal ceiling level. If the head height at the ridgeline is too low, it can be increased by 100-400mm, subject to local council approval. If local council restrictions mean you cannot increase the ridge line, another option is to lower the ceiling on the first floor, thus increasing the head height in the loft. Generally, ceiling height in the ground floor and first floor of Victorian and Edwardian properties is very generous, so it won’t be too noticeable to pinch some height from the first floor. In most cases, we apply for planning consent to add some Velux windows in the front roof pitch in addition to the rear dormer. This enables light to penetrate from both angles. In the dormer extension, you can incorporate a Juliet balcony or some simple windows to overlook your garden. 

L-shaped dormer extension 

If your property has an existing two-storey outrigger, you can consider a l-shape dormer extension. This includes the dormer extension described above, which sits over the main portion of the house. A second dormer is then erected over the outrigger. Generally, an outrigger will be thinner than the main portion of the property, so this dormer extension is also typically smaller than the main outrigger as a result. Lots of our clients either use this as a second bedroom, a study, or in some cases a spacious bathroom to a master suite. 

Eaves storage 

Eaves storage is generally used in the front pitch of the property, where the head height becomes so low it’s not usable as room area. A wall is built to separate this area from the main room, and a door is installed to enable access. If you are opting for a l-shape dormer extension, you might even be able to utilise the space behind the rear dormer extension too. 

Mansard dormer extension 

A mansard dormer is similar to a dormer extension, and it can also be utilised as a single dormer or an l-shape dormer. The walls of the new extension are sloped at a 70-degree pitch. Local councils find this to be more sympathetic from a planning perspective. If you are in a conservation area or within a site of special architectural heritage, you might be required to use this type of loft conversion design. 

Dormer window extensions 

These are miniature versions of the dormer extension, and protrude from the pitched roof, usually with a sash window or architectural rooflight within them. Again, these might be the only option available to you if your council are concerned about maintaining architectural heritage. We recently obtained permission for two dormer window extensions in our project in Westminster.  

Hip to gable extensions

If you are a detached, semi-detached or an end of terrace property, you might want to consider a hip-to-gable roof extension. This can only be achieved if you have a pitched roof on two angles of your roof line. A full hip to gable extension is a fairly substantial project, as you are pulling the roof up in two places, to create an entire new floor of your property. Local councils in London generally don’t like modifications to the front elevation of the property, so for this reason, you might want to consider dormer extensions as an alternative. We recently obtained planning consent for two dormer extensions in our Wandsworth project. The council felt a full hip-to-gable was too large and we obtained consent for this double dormer extension instead. The side dormer allowed space for the new internal staircase, which will enable access to the loft conversion. The rear dormer has enabled the creation of two bedrooms and a bathroom. We recently wrote a blog article on planning permission for loft conversions which might be interest. 

As you can see, there are lots of options available to you when it comes to extending into your loft. If you aren’t sure what design is best for you, or to simply better understand your options, give us a call on 0207 043 2378 or email us at hello@hometales.co.uk. You can also book a telephone consultation directly via our live bookings page. We would be delighted to talk through the details of your project and offer some further advice. We will also take the opportunity to explain more about how we work, and also the process in general. Following the consultation, we can issue you with a no obligation quote for the works. 

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