Loft 'development' without conversion

(6 Posts)
FishNeedsBicycle Sat 12-Jan-13 05:55:04

We'd like to be able to make our loft warm and room-like without properly converting it. Full conversion isn't an option as the roof cavity is fairly low in height and there's a great big chimney breast in the middle. Water tanks etc take up almost half the space. Don't have the kind of spare money needed anyway for a proper conversion.

It's already boarded out, has basic lights and was used for storage by previous owners. We'd need to fit a folding loft ladder.

What do you need to do to a loft space like this to make it warm and useable - really just for the DCs to have fun playing or put a model railway display there etc? Would it just need plaster board fixed to the eaves and a bit of filler in any wall cracks to make it feel warmer - and even a small radiator - or what?

Would this also help house insulation in any case?

If we also got a skylight fitted, would that alone mean we need planning permission? The part of the roof where this might be, doesn't back onto any other houses - just agricultural fields.

Any advice much appreciated.

pmgkt Sat 12-Jan-13 06:14:50

If you make it a room for use, ie its not just a loft for storage (windows plasterboard would count) you need building Regs. I know lots of people don't but its to ensure that it is safe for people to use rather than pop up for a few min to put the cases pt Xmas decs away, also you need to ensure you don't block off the ventilation and over board it cos then you could have other problems

Seabright Sat 12-Jan-13 08:03:11

Planning rules have been relaxed recently, you often don't need permission for a skylight now (but check with your local authority).

But, you will need to comply with Building Regulations (again, your LA will help, check their website). Building regs are all about safety, rather than cosmetic appearance, so don't try & avoid them.

FishNeedsBicycle Sat 12-Jan-13 13:59:28

That's very helpful. I didn't realise that there might be safety issues. Has anyone else on here developed - but not fully converted - a loft space and can give me any more advice, please?

I am also now wondering about whether the current hardboards fitted to the eaves on the floor are supposed to take weight of people using the space more regularly - as opposed to occasional use for storgae purposes?

I hadn't thought about ventilation for the loft either, as I'd just assumed that the more insulated it was and the warmer it was, the more the house would benefit generally.

Really interested to hear more from others too, especially those who have made their loft more useable without turning it into a proper room - ie just leaving the space as it is but making a kind of children's 'den' out of it.

bureni Sat 12-Jan-13 14:06:49

Your ceiling beams are unlikely to be suitable for use as a floor and as such you will need to install RSJs to take the weight of another stronger floor, ceiling joists were not designed to walk on or place furniture on as they are generally much lighter material.

bureni Sat 12-Jan-13 14:11:10

Water tanks which can weigh the same as a car are generally supported by an internal wall of some description and cannot just simply be moved to a corner without some form of support from below which should preferably be a solid wall, you need to take that into account before going any further.

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