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Loft conversions - I have questions!

33 replies

Chirpygirl · 19/08/2007 11:32

We are going to be (hopefully) in a position to move within the next year and are thinking of converting the loft before we do.
Well, DH is thinking of it, he reckons it will add more to the house as we can put an ensuite master bedroom in the loft and the house is arranged in such a way it will have proper stairs up to it as well.
I am worried as I will have a 2 year old and a relative newborn in the house when he is talkijng about doing this!

So, questions - Will it be a nightmare for us to live here while it is being done?
Can it be done in the winter as we want to move before next summer if possible?
Is it going to be worth it with the hassle/cost etc or should I just forget about it!

OP posts:

aloha · 19/08/2007 11:51

It will almost certainly add value over the cost of doing it if it turns a two bed house into a three bed or three bed into four bed. But it does depend on how much ground floor space you have and how much your house is worth. I had it done over a year ago, when ds was four and dd was one and it really isn't a lot of hassle. YOu can certainly live in the house. It only takes 5-6 weeks and the only messy bit is when they break through to put in the stairs. I reckon you need to give the hallway a lick of paint afterwards and get the carpets cleaned.


Chirpygirl · 19/08/2007 12:19

Thanks for that, it will change a 3 bed into a 4 bed which round here would make a difference as they are all 3 beds AFAIK.
The other reason DH thinks it would be a good idea is that the downstairs is mostly open plan so it is an extra space for people (ie parents!) to escape to without kids around.

OP posts:

aloha · 19/08/2007 12:22

How much is your house worth atm?
A one room loft conversion costs around £20K - £30K but you must usually add the costs of tiling, decorating, flooring, loos/showers etc to that.
I got our bath and sink from Ebay/salvage, dh put down the wooden floor in the bathroom and we have no tiling, which saved money. The carpet in the bedroom was surprisingly expensive.


Chirpygirl · 19/08/2007 12:34

TBH I don't really want to say how much the house is worth, apart from the fact that I'm not really sure.....
That's a hell of a lot more than I was thinking, I know a friend on the other side of town had a gorgeous one done for half that though it didn't have a bathroom so I think I need a chat with local builder type guys and estate agents to see what they think...

OP posts:

Chirpygirl · 19/08/2007 12:35

thanks for advice re mess though, that was really my main worry with the 2 kids in the house and it all being open plan it could be a nightmare!

OP posts:

mahonia7 · 19/08/2007 12:56

Hi chirpygirl

We are looking into this at the moment. We've had a structural engineer around. However, you do need to check about loft conversions and an open plan downstairs. The structural engineer said the council would not allow a loft conversion with an open plan downstairs. I have also seen mention of it somewhere on the web.



morningpaper · 19/08/2007 12:59

Looked into this last year - costs between 20-40K

I think that you need to plan for it to take quite a long time though - personally I would never want to live through that sort of buildign work if I could avoid it - can be soooo stressful


aloha · 19/08/2007 13:45

It's about five weeks Morningpaper. And it is accessed from outside your house, so aside from a bit of noise between 9-5 it makes no impact on your life.
And yes, you have to isolate your staircase to pass buildings regs with a loft conversion. Any reputable company will explain all that.


DANCESwithDumbledore · 19/08/2007 13:57

£20-£40K I think ours cost about £18K with carpets and decorating on top of that! It's not very disruptive to everyday life until they knock through but they will have taken off the roof and built the dorma or whatever before they do that. We had a couple of scary nights with gales blowing through and banging the plastic sheeting around but other than that it wasn't too will need to have hall carpets cleaned though. My advice would be to have as many velux put in as poss. I really wish we'd had one put in our ensuite


scienceteacher · 19/08/2007 14:35

We had our loft converted a few years ago - five kids, youngest just coming up to two.

For the loft itself, it shouldn't be too disruptive. They put a scaffold up around the house, and immediately break into the roof (where the fire escape window will be). They then do all the work through that hole, and technically don't have to come into the house until they put in the stairs (pretty much the last thing), and connect up plumbing and electrics.

However, you do have to make about 18 cups of tea every two hours. Also, they can cause a bit of disruption on your street with all their vans, plus regular deliveries. The worst is when they put the steels in (RSJ supports). You just have to let them manage the job and not get involved.

Our job was a bit more complicated in that we had them remove the chimney from both the loft and the first floor, and also install an ensuite bathroom in our bedroom, and a high-pressure water system. All but one of our rooms was affected, and the one that wasn't was 6ft x 8ft, with DDs' beds stacked on top of one another and them sleeping top to toe.


scienceteacher · 19/08/2007 14:37

We had ours done in winter, btw. They started Jan 6th, IIRC, and the first day of an open roof, we had gale force winds! It was very noisy, but water-tight. They leave it with many layers of tarpaulins, well-secured.

When they were doing plumbing work, we had to have the heating off, so I bought a couple of electric heaters so that we could have one or two warm rooms.


Chirpygirl · 19/08/2007 16:05

All good to know thanks,
Thanks for thinking of it but the open plan thing isn't an issue, when I say mostly open plan it is 2 rooms rather than 3 and a hallway, and our stairs were turned backwards and enclosed years ago when the house was the local shop and upstairs was a flat!

Danceswithdumbledore, that's more like what we were thinking! I purposely didn't ask about costs as MNetters live in such different areas it is bound to make a difference!
Good to know they can do it in winter as well....

OP posts:

hippipotami · 20/08/2007 08:15

We had ours done when ds was nearly 4 and dd was 6 months. Ours was done by 1 builder on his lonely ownsome. He erected scaffolding and made a hatch into the roof so he could access the loft without us being home and without him going through the house.

The only nightmare bit was when he broke though the landing ceiling to put the stairs in.

Are you sure about the open plan bit? We were told that was a definate nono (we were hoping to knock two rooms into one downstairs, so we would have one big room, a sep hall and a sep kitchen downstairs. We also had to have springs on all our doors except kitchen and bathrooms, to ensure the doors close constantly. And the door to the loft had to be a heavy firedoor.

It will definately add value!


hippipotami · 20/08/2007 08:20

Dances - you can have a velux fitted as an afterthought. We had our loft done 4 years ago. The stairs up to the loft had no natural light coming to them so it was a bit dingy. So last year we had a builder install a small velux directly above those stairs. It only cost £100 (we only wanted a tiny velux) or so iirc and was done within a day!


thehairybabysmum · 20/08/2007 08:47

Our loft con was finished 2 weeks ago and is fab...we are v. chuffed with it. Cost 20k all in incl. ensuite and tiling etc. We have paid about another grand to have decorating done and carpet. Ours has a dormer window on the back so the room has good head height compared to if we just had velux windows...obviously this made it more expensive.

Since April this year you have to have proper fire doors on every door that opens onto the exit path from the loft to the way out..this would add a bit to the cost too as we only had to have a fire door on the actual loft room and self closers on the rest of the internal doors.

The mess wasnt too bad though...a bit dusty but i managed fine with a toddler although we did know we were having new carpet afterwards so wernt fussed really.

Defo worth having it done though i reckon.


pooka · 20/08/2007 08:54

OUrs cost loads. But since the roof needed re-slating anyway, we kind of saw it as the price less the cost to re-slate. Used real slates too, and timber sashes in the rear dormer. And conservation veluxes.
Also, we were creating the stairs from the original tiny bathroom, and converting one of the bedrooms into a larger bathroom.
So all in was prob in the region of £50000. But worth it for the space we now have in the family bathroom and the larger upstairs hall we created. Have no intention of moving for some time, so factored in the enjoyment we'd get from an improved layout.
Took forever though, and was very disruptive, because were bathroom less (because of the loss of the original bathroom) for a couple of weeks. Fortunately had downstairs loo.


pooka · 20/08/2007 08:56

Should add that the slates alone cost about £10000, and we'd have needed more if we were just doing a straight re-slating of the original house. Also, had 2 ground floor roofs re-slated at the same time, and the chimneys had to be built up higher to clear the gable end.
trying to justify the expense ]
worth every penny though.


pooka · 20/08/2007 08:57

And had the whole house painted and the new bathroom on first and second floors kitted out.


tracyk · 20/08/2007 10:44

We had a whole load of work done including a loft conversion. That part - only took a day to get watertight. There was 3 of them and they started at 6.30am one sunny morning and was watertight by 7pm that night.
Not messy - but yes - tea, coffe, biscuits EVERY half hour. We spent just as much on biccies, sugar and stuff as on the building work!
Don't tile the ensuite if you want to keep costs down. We tiled the whole room and it cost at least £1000. Adhesive and grout costs a bloody fortune - at least a couple of hundred quid!


aloha · 20/08/2007 12:32

My builders brought their own kettle and made their own tea. A1 Lofts.


Blu · 20/08/2007 12:44

Consult an Estate Agent in your area, and also a couple of reputable Loft Conversion cos.

Our house has a loft conversion, but property was seling v fast and competitively when we bought our house and the same house next door but one sold the week after ours for only just slightly less money despite ours having a big bedroom and shower / wc in the loft. I suspect that it depends on prices, supply and demand in your area.

Also check with a Loft co - if you already have a downstairs extension you may have used your 'permitted development' capacity and need planning permission.

Not trying to put you off, not at all - our loft conversion is wonderful - just suggesting all the things to get covered before you do it!


ntsmum · 20/08/2007 12:58

You may have to build a lobby on the ground floor to comply with the building regs. You have to have a protected escape route to the outside. Also the regs have changed regarding door closers, you don't have to have them anymore but you do have to fit fire resistant doors internally.


VoluptuaGoodshag · 20/08/2007 13:07

We had ours done last year and I had an 18 month old and a 2.5 year old. It was absolutely fine. Yes I was glad when it was over but it was nothing compared to getting the kitchen done.

My builders had their own key and really all the work was upstairs out of our face so not really that disruptive. The odd day when it was getting messy, like when the stair went it and when they knocked out the plaster in the ceiling we stayed out all day. They also brought their own kettle and made their own tea etc.

Cost depends on where you live. Estimates in our area ranged from £12k up to £35k depending on the builder. All in it was about £20k inc tiles, white fittings, decorating and carpets. I'd guess my neighbour spent around £10k more and though her finish is better, once painted and decorated it makes no difference to the selling cost. It's definitely worth it IMO. We would probably get around £400k for this house now compared to about £350k without it.


xoxo · 20/08/2007 15:58

Get an estate agent to advise on price with, and without teh extra room.

If worth it, go for it.

We had our loft converted when I was almost 9 months pregnant. They do most of the work outside the house (accessing eth loft via external scaffold), only breaking into teh interior for teh final 2-3 weeks. So, easy to have aroudn with kids. Just noise to be concerned about. Go to a friends house.


xoxo · 20/08/2007 15:58

we also had A1 lofts: absolutely brill!

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