Loft conversion: please tell me your dos and don'ts

(22 Posts)
LeninGrad Wed 31-Mar-10 16:40:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaggieW Wed 31-Mar-10 18:51:07

Just off the top of my head...

Do double check the drawings and measurements, esp for the bathroom, if you're having one. Our "technician" drew the bathroom plan with a shower, bath, loo and basin in it. I couldn't see how they would fit them in, raised this but was given the brush off. As it turned out they couldn't even get the corner shower that we wanted in properly, let alone a bath as well. They tried to persuade us to have the door opening into the bedroom, rather than the bathroom, to make things fit, but we held firm and they had to redo the partition wall.

Also, do look carefully at which windows you're having on the dormer end, if you're having a dormer end. Again, these were decided without us being involved and they're too high off the floor, so you can't see outside unless you're quite close to them, and also when they open they only open about 5cm, which is a bit of a waste of time.

Do get a portaloo so you don't have the builders in your house more than you need to.

Do Discuss how and when payments are due to be made. We were on stage payments ie stairs installed, plastering done, second fix etc, and that really helped to get things done the way they should have been ie we witheld the payment on a couple of occasions until the jobs were completed to our satisfaction.

Do get a week by week work plan ie when they'll break through, plaster etc, and find out when the builders/electricians etc will need any fittings which you are buying to avoid any delays.

Don't worry, as I'm sure it will all be fine and it is definitely worth it for the extra space.

meatntattypie Wed 31-Mar-10 18:57:13

Stage payment as above.

Make sure they consider party wall....shouldnt affect ajoining walls at all, however my builder forced a large peice of wood through the wall crumbling plaster from next doors loft conversion wall all over her floor.
Needed replastering, paint matching and repairing ON TOP of doing my work...meant delays.(not cost though)

Make sure you walk on the flooring one night when builders have gone and floor is down, get some one to sit in room below, my loft conversion creaks like mad under foot, very loud and very annoying. Only found this out after carpet was put down so cant be put right now till carpet comes up for replacing.

When they take the roof off for your dormer to be put on, make sure they try to put a decent plastic covering on, it pissed it down and leaked all over my landing, water pouring down the walls all night!

LeninGrad Wed 31-Mar-10 19:07:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

blackmilkofdaybreak Wed 31-Mar-10 19:10:14

Make sure you get good quality blinds for your windows, they can help with insulation as well as light.

I wouldn't have a dormer unless you really need one, (i.e. can't stand up) as they ruin the 'line' of the room and house from outside and actually feeling like you are in a loft tucked away from the world is quite nice. Invest in great quality windows whatever you do as they will be the feature of the room. Ditto light fittings. Get windows you can clean from inside.

The bathroom in ours is a bit small and I'm not fantastically in love with it. Consider a wet room if you can afford it.

LeninGrad Wed 31-Mar-10 19:13:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cece Wed 31-Mar-10 19:22:38

Don't forget to factor in redecorating and carpeting all the current stairs, landings and hallway...

jalopy Wed 31-Mar-10 21:48:31

Make sure your radiators are the right size for the room and provide an adequate amount of heat.

If you get a dormer and have a nice view, consider french doors and juliet balcony, rather than window.

Be careful about security. Make sure the builders remove the ladder to the scaffolding when they finish work each day. Ours was left in situ and a substantial rolls of lead were stolen from the roof platform.

skinsl Thu 01-Apr-10 13:12:46

DONT

skinsl Thu 01-Apr-10 13:36:22

just kidding
we had a nightmare with ours, so I could tell you all the pitfalls!!
Definitely make sure you understand the plans exactly. We trusted our architect with this and it soon became clear that he hadn't understood what we meant.
Ask questions if you don't understand.
Stage payments definitely.
Proper waterproofing, we had major leak too.
we were told they break through towards the end, they came through the first week.So yes to the plan for when things are due to happen
Ask them about the buildings inspections. Probably different for every council, but ours didnt wait at any stage for building inspector and they put a great big beam in the wrong place which was already plastered over and had cupboards built around it.
if they go anywhere near the chimney breast, make sure they cover up the fireplaces, sounds reasonable, haha, ours forgot, and ruined carpets, and bedlinen and most of my husbands clothes.
Don't just let them get on with it. We couldn't get up there for the first week, and when we did, they hadn't knocked down the chimney breast, it wasn't high enough and walls were in the wrong place. keep checking what they are doing, and if it doesn't look right ask them before it is too late.
if they subcontract, make sure the builders know exactly what you want.
Ours didnt communicate this properly to the builders

velux windows are for the slopey bit, the dormer is the extension.
We had a mansard which is brick and slightly angled, more expensive and you have to get planning permission, not just approval.
make sure you have enough money to get it finished... cos we dont!!!

LadyBlaBlah Thu 01-Apr-10 13:40:11

We did the 'don't get a dormer cos it's cheaper route'. Really regret it and will at some point when I can face it have one put in.

If there is anyway you can afford it. Have the dormer. Makes it so much bigger and usable.

The only other thing is to prepare for the filth on the day they cut through the ceiling. I know ours was particularly bad because the house is very old, but black soot engulfed our hallway and got tramped all over the house. Was horrid.

LeninGrad Thu 01-Apr-10 14:14:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

twolittledarlings Thu 01-Apr-10 22:23:55

When we had our loft done, I got up and laid my dust sheets from the front door to the loft stairs. That way, I made sure everything was covered up properly, left to them, they can be lazy and sloppy.

Also, I told my builders when they break through the ceiling, to vacuum all the dust first from above. Our house is a victorian house and the stuffing in between the loft floor and the 1st floor ceiling aas lave and plaster and extremely messy. Therefore, when they broke through to the 1st floor, no dust fell down as most was vacuumed up already.

I made sure that every evening before they left, they took down the ladder and padlocked it vertically to the ground as I was worried about burglary.

Definately stage payments and always ask lots of question. That way, you know exactly what is happening. I always check on their work once they have gone so if there is anything I didn't like, I would tell them to change it the next day.

We have got a dormer at the back which provide us with loads of light and 2 velux in the front. We have 6 spotlights put in but only on the flat ceiling but if we had known in advance, I would have asked for apots to be put in into the sloping side also as that side is quite dark.

Our builders were really careful about keeping everything clean as I had a 2 year old running around and also I was 7 months pregnant. After everything was done, the carpets were in great condition and all we had to do was really just paint the hall walls again.

Hope this helps.

chipmonkey Fri 02-Apr-10 00:02:26

Good quality floorboards, varnished look fab.
The best insulation, even if it's pricey because otherwise it can be freezing up there!

blinkinblimey Thu 08-Apr-10 22:48:27

1 - Find out when they want to plumb the bathroom in at the EARLIEST.. that way you won't have an irate plumber and no loo to fit .. ahem..

2 - Order your black out blinds soon as poss cause its cold in winter/roasting in summer & you'll want to be in asap because it will be your favorite room in the house!

3 - get party wall stuff done early because it took a few months for us... and was frankly a big fat headache

4 - make sure that your loo isn't too far under the dormer for a man to stand up and pee... ! good job DH checked this b/c the builders didn't (!)

5 - Limit the number of downlighters you use b/c they're very hot, sometimes overly bright as they sit low on the ceiling - not to mention pricey

6 - Make bathroom window less deep than other veluxes b/c you don't want to see your neighbours getting in and out of the shower and vice versa...

good luck!

TheEndlessArete Tue 30-Aug-11 19:28:20

ooooh, fascinating thread...just about to embark on one ourselves...anybody got anything to add ?!

narmada Wed 31-Aug-11 14:20:28

Make sure that they take account of the space that'll be taken up by the insulation when calculating how much head hight you'll be getting. My parents were very surprised just how much room the reuqired insulation took up and it took away from the available head hight. Also, there must be more expensive but thinner insulation available - ask your builders/ architect what materials they had in mind and google it to check it's acceptable to you.

SybilBeddows Wed 31-Aug-11 18:32:36

use a building firm that specialises in loft conversions rather than a general one that has only done a few

get blinds with shiny reflective surfaces on the outside to reflect the heat; loft conversions can get very hot. For the same reason, if you can have windows on both sides so you can get a breeze through, it's good.

expect the rest of the house to get very dirty for no apparent reason

good luck! We were very glad we had ours done.

naturalbaby Wed 31-Aug-11 19:23:07

We did a lot of 'don't's on this list and were v.lucky!
our only issues were with head room (i'm v.tall) and the steel they put in meant we had problems fitting plumbing across the floor so the floor had to be raised a bit.
the plumbing is a bit slow to drain up there, dh put in a saniflow in the end to help get things moving!

catwomanga Tue 05-Aug-14 12:13:34

Please help. Halfway through our loft conversion with a very reputable company that just sent an email saying they're going into liquidation. Called their insurer and they said they can't do anything until it's official. Anyone else been in this situation?

jl503 Tue 11-Nov-14 10:52:43

don't use plusroomsplus. gareth lloyd is very charming to start off with, but becomes aggressive and is only interested in taking your money. He left me with no roof since week 2 and rammed my house with rubbish as he was too tight to hire a skip. 40k and 11 weeks into a 6 week build he wanted more money and left without windows or a roof. i had water leaking through 3 floors, damage to my furniture and to the flat below, and when I contacted him about this he told me that my neighbours shouldd 'grow up' as their flat was a s..thole anyway.

his guys are great lads when they're allowed to turn up but he is an unscrupulous 'businessman' who does not give a damn about your home

Groves01293 Thu 09-Jun-16 10:44:59

If you are looking for a trustworthy company to build you a loft conversion or extension I heard these guys are pretty good www.wedothat.net My friend recently used them and we are in the process of getting a quote for our kitchen extension X

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