Planning a loft conversion – lets-do-diy.com
Summary: Advice for creating a loft, discussing how roof designs influence loft conversions, planning the loft conversion and planning for power and heating when converting a loft.
The loft makes up a large proportion of a property’s internal space: space that more often than not is under utilised. This space has enormous potential and with careful planning a loft conversion can greatly enhance the overall living experience, in addition to increasing the property’s value.
It is generally accepted that a loft conversion can increase the habitable floor space of a two-storey property by as much as 30%. And with loft conversions usually being less expensive than building an extension onto the property, it is no surprise that converting the loft has become so popular.
A loft conversion of any kind involves a great deal of work, so detailed planning is essential. Although there is an almost endless variety of loft sizes and shapes, all loft conversions should be approached in a similar way. In this article we intend to look at the points that need to be considered to enable you to realise the full potential of your loft.
How roof designs influence loft conversions
The age of the property can be a significant factor in how suitable the loft is for conversion. Before the 1970’s roof frames were constructed on site using the traditional rafter and purlin method which left a void in the roof space ideal for loft conversions.
More modern houses have roofs with A-frame structures that are manufactured off-site. The rafters in A-frame roof structures are supported by a number of trusses or struts throughout the roof space, causing an obstruction and major obstacle in a planned conversion. This problem is not insurmountable but will involve installing supports for the rafters to replace the obstructing trusses. Cutting and removing trusses can affect the structural stability of the roof and must never be undertaken without professional advice.
The popularity of loft conversions has resulted in some house builders substituting A-frames with attic trusses. Made from larger timber sections, attic trusses are designed to support the roof and floor loads while leaving a clear area in the roof space for any future conversion.
You will also have to decide which of the three types of loft conversion is most suitable for the roof of the property.
Roof light – this is the most popular type of loft conversion and involves installing windows into the roof that run flush with the roof’s pitch or slope.
Dormer – a dormer conversion is recognisable by a structure projecting from the pitch of the roof which accommodates the window. The roof of the structure can be pitched or flat and ties into the existing roof. Constructing a dormer window in an existing roof is highly difficult, requiring professional advice and assistance.
Mansard – the least common, a mansard loft conversion is generally used on properties with roofs that have a very shallow pitch. Properties with a London roof – named after a style of roof commonplace in the capital – a mansard loft conversion is the only option. This is because a London roof will comprise of two planes that rise from a low central gully to higher eaves at their edge.
Planning the conversion
So what type of room can the loft be transformed into? Well practically anything is the easy answer, although some conversions will be more difficult than others.
The most popular conversions are:
- Additional bedroom
- Additional bedroom with en suite bathroom
- Home office or study
- Children’s play room
The first stage of any loft conversion is a close inspection of the loft space to find out its exact dimensions and whether conversion is feasible.
On entering the loft you need to establish there is adequate room under the ridge of the roof. A measurement of 2.3 metres is required to allow enough headroom and there must be at least 2 metres clearance above the position of the access stairs.
The roof should be checked for any signs that rainwater is entering the roof space. The appearance of dark stains on the roof rafters is a strong indication that this problem exists. Repairs to the roof must be carried out before starting on converting the loft.
The roof joists need looking at too, as they may not be strong enough to support a floor. Standard roof joists are made from 100mm x 50mm timber beams and floor joists for a loft conversion should be 150mm x 50mm or even 200mm x 50mm. With all structural matters involved in converting a loft, it is best to consult a structural engineer or surveyor for advice.
Then you must decide on whether the loft is to consist of one open space or whether to divide it with a stud partition to create two rooms. This design feature will undoubtedly be part of the plan where the loft is being converted into a bedroom with en suite bathroom.
On inspecting the loft you may discover that the water tank is in the way. There are two possible solutions to this problem: relocate the water tank above the ceiling of your loft conversion or behind a kneeling wall – the low walls fitted between the rafters and the floor. But in both cases the water tank must be placed on a sturdy base.
Power and heating
With the major structural design work decided upon, it is now time to plan where the power points, light fittings and switches are to go. This will allow you to plan the circuit route. How the loft is to be supplied with power will depend on the age of the existing wiring, but it may be possible to extend an existing circuit. Otherwise a new circuit will have to be installed.
More people are working from home, so transforming the loft into an office is another conversion idea that has grown in popularity. But with so much to think about in relation to the structural work and the installation of electric circuits and heating, the position of junction boxes for telephones and Internet access can be overlooked. So if your loft is to provide you with a place to work, keep this mind
How to heat the loft is another decision that needs to be made. Some loft conversions rely solely on convection, in other words warmth is provided by centrally heated air rising from the rooms below. Extending your central heating system into the loft is another option but this does have disadvantages.
- Radiators can take up valuable loft space.
- The heat is controlled by a thermostat situated some distance away
- The boiler may need upgrading
An alternative to central heating is under floor heating. Laid on top of the floor insulation and beneath the floorboards, the heating cables or mats work differently to conventional heating. A central heating system first warms the air before warming the occupants. Underfloor heating produces a radiant heat made up of heat waves that warm the objects and the occupants in the room before it warms the air. This heating system has several advantages over central heating.
- Heat is only supplied to the loft
- Lower energy costs
- Thermostatic control inside the loft
- Produces a comfortable heat
- Reduces dust circulation
- Reduce condensation
- Totally silent in operation
- Concealed under the floor – no s loft pace is wasted
- Warms up quickly even from cold
- Suitable for most floor coverings
For a loft conversion to be deemed a habitable space, permanent stairs must be installed. Any conversion that can only be accessed by a loft ladder is not deemed a habitable space. To meet Building Regulations the stairs must enter the main stairwell on the second floor and be fitted with a handrail to aid evacuation in the event of a fire.
Loft stairs can be constructed on site or manufactured to your specifications but in both cases accurate measurements are crucial as the stairs usually fit into tight spaces. Furthermore, the pitch of the stairs must not exceed 42°.
Where there is no room to install a proper stairway, most local authority building control officers will consider other types of stirs, but only if the loft conversion creates a single room.
To resolve access problems that a confined space can cause, a space saver staircase could provide the solution. This is a staircase that has alternating treads allowing you to get up a flight of stairs in approximately half the “going” distance – the horizontal distance between the face of the first and last risers – of a normal flight of stairs.
A spiral staircase may seem to be the solution to limited space, but this could result in difficulties when trying to move furniture into the loft, so give the design of the stairs plenty of thought. Stair lighting should also be considered when designing the stairs.
The position of the windows is another major consideration. Not only is it important to have enough windows fitted to ensure adequate daylight, their position and size are critical in providing a means of escape in the event of fire. At least one window should allow access to the roof and have a minimum height and width of 450mm. The window sill must be between 600mm to 1100mm above the loft floor and not more than 1.7 metres above the eaves of the roof. Once again it is a good idea to seek professional help on where to position the loft windows.
Windows also provide ventilation to a loft conversion and whether you have rooflights or dormer windows fitted they should have trickle vents. Not only do trickle vents remove stale and humid air, they prevent the build up of excessive condensation in the roof void above a converted loft, which can cause timber decay.
Insulation and ventilation
Loft insulation is an important aspect of any loft conversion and should be carried out according to Building Regulations. The three important areas are:
- Ceiling and walls
- Party wall
For underfloor insulation mineral wool insulation is a good choice of material. Laid between the floor joists at a depth of 250mm, not only does it provide excellent thermal and acoustic insulation, its flame retardant properties will resist fire for at least 30 minutes. This will be an important factor in complying with the Building Regulations.
To prevent losing heat through the ceiling and walls thermal-check plasterboard can be fixed to the rafters and stud framework of your loft conversion. This type of insulation consists of a sheet of plasterboard with a layer of insulating foam on the back.
Party walls are usually built of brick and need to be insulated to reduce heat loss and improve soundproofing. This is achieved by building a timber stud frame in front of the party wall, leaving a gap of 25mm between the back of the timber frame and the wall. Acoustic-check plasterboard is then cut to size and fitted to the frame. If the roof void behind the party is a cold space, mineral wool insulation should be fitted between the stud uprights before fixing the plasterboard.
Building Regulations in relation to ventilating the converted loft space state that the total open window area should be equivalent to 5% of the total floor area.
Condensation forms when warm air meets cold air. This necessitates adequate ventilation of cold spaces behind all new walls and ceilings forming the loft conversion. In most conversions ventilation at the eaves and the ridge of the roof will be sufficient to prevent condensation and the problems of damp and decay it can cause.
The most stringent part of the Building Regulations relating to loft conversions is fire prevention, particularly for a loft above a second storey. We have seen how using mineral wool for the loft floor insulation can create a flame retardant barrier for at least half an hour, and how the stairs and windows should be positioned to facilitate escape should there be a serious fire.
Additionally, any new doors fitted as part of the conversion should be self-closing fire doors that will prevent fire spreading for at least 30 minutes. And all internal doors leading to the stairwell on the ground and first floors should also be self-closing.
Last but not least, an interlinked system of mains powered, smoke and fire detectors must be fitted on all floors including the loft and on the stairs that lead to it.
A loft conversion is a major undertaking and seeking professional assistance from a structural surveyor and an architect is recommended. Even if you engage a professional builder to carry out a shell conversion – the major structural work – much work will still need to be done, requiring many different DIY skills, before the project is completed.
It must be stated: a loft conversion is not a suitable project for the inexperienced. But for those who believe they have acquired the requisite skills, turning a redundant roof space into a modern and pleasant living or work area will find this project very rewarding.
Loft conversion regulations
The most frequently asked question in relation to loft conversions concerns whether planning permission is needed. In England and Wales planning permission is not required for a loft conversion unless dormer windows are being fitted in a pitched roof facing the road. In Scotland planning permission has to be obtained if the conversion involves installing dormer windows in any part of the roof. Planning permission will definitely be needed if the loft conversion extends above the existing roof line.
If you have already extended your property, even with a conservatory, planning permission may be required if the loft conversion exceeds the volume limits set for your property. Further information about volume limits can be obtained by visiting www.planningportal.gov.uk or by contacting your local authority.
Listed buildings and properties situated in conservation areas will definitely need planning permission regardless of where you live in the UK.
These are general guidelines and you are strongly advised to check with your local authority before commencing work.
Although planning permission may not be needed, all the work carried must meet the Building Regulations. The local authority Building Control Office must be notified of your intention of carrying out a loft conversion. This is to ensure that the work carried out meets the required standard and will involve a building control officer visiting your property to inspect the conversion. Along with the quality of the construction work the inspection will cover:
- Structural stability
- Electrical wiring
- Safe access
- Plumbing and waste disposal (bathrooms)
- An adequate escape route in the event of a fire.
Under the Party Wall Act 1996, if you live in a terraced or semi-detached house you will need to get a party wall agreement from your neighbours. A letter of formal notification detailing the work you intend to carry out, the date when the work is due to commence and how the work will effect them, should be sent to your neighbours at least two months prior to the beginning.
Neighbours must reply in writing stating that they are happy for the work to begin. If consent is not forthcoming, the dispute must be resolved by an “Agreed Surveyor”, and involves engaging the services of a professional surveyor who meets with the approval of both parties. The Agreed Surveyor will set out what work can be carried out, when and how it is to be carried out, and supply a report on the condition of the adjoining property to be used in the event of a later dispute following the completion of the work.
Do not be discouraged by the legal obligations that converting your loft entail, as they have been put in place to protect both your property and peace of mind.
- How to board a loft
- Fitting a loft ladder
- Fitting a loft hatch
- Insulating a loft
- Insulating the rafters
- The party wall etc. act 1996
Related cost guides
- Average cost of a new bathroom
- Average cost of a loft conversion
- Average cost to tile a bathroom
- Average cost of a plumber
- Average cost of an electrician
Converting Your Loft: 13 Things to Consider
Loft conversions have become incredibly popular in the UK as a viable way of creating extra living space without needing to extend and take over the garden. For the most part, lofts are generally dark and damp areas, housing Christmas decorations, old furniture or boxes of possessions. But by converting your loft, you will see how they can be so much more than this.
Before discussing how to convert a loft and move into the territory of planning permissions, it is worth noting that a loft conversion is difficult to complete alone. You will need extensive experience in the building industry and be an excellent DIYer. Not to mention that you will most likely need a qualified electrician for any electrical work and potentially even a plumber.
So why should you be considering a loft conversion anyway? There are some amazing benefits in converting your loft and these include:
- The opportunity for upgrading your home to create more living space.
- Increasing the value of your home by up to 20%.
- Avoiding eating up the garden with an extension.
- Using the extra space for whatever you need, including the popular bedroom ensuite.
Loft conversion planning permissions
With loft conversions, there is the advantage of many not requiring any planning permissions at all. When converting your loft, you would need to consider getting planning permissions if the roof space would be altered. Also, you would need planning permissions if you live in a conservation area.
However, before getting into loft conversion ideas, it is always worth being proactive. Be sure to get in contact with your local council or planning officer to find out if you require planning permissions.
For many fortunate homeowners, a loft conversion falls under permitted development. This is subject but not limited to:
- There is no extension of the roof space.
- There is no extension higher than the top of the roof.
- All materials used should be in keeping with the property’s look.
- There will be no verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
There are further rules and stipulations, so if you are still unsure, it is worth getting on the government’s Planning Portal for free and impartial advice.
Types of loft conversions
There are four main types of loft conversion designs in the UK. The one you choose for your home depends on the shape of your roof, as well as what planning permissions are in place.
Roof light loft conversion
Fortunately, a roof light loft conversion (sometimes known as a VELUX loft conversion) does not involve any alterations to the existing attic space. The process is simply installing VELUX windows on the roofline to create extra living space.
It is more likely to be approved for planning permissions by your local authority. Plus, the price is approximately 25% cheaper than other types of loft conversions.
Mansard loft conversion
By raising the wall shared with your neighbours (known as the ‘party wall’), mansard conversions are usually installed at the rear of a house and have one sloping outer wall. They allow for more headroom and offer plenty of light. But planning permissions are almost always required and can cost anywhere between £45,000 – £70,000. Prices in London and the South East can sometimes be higher.
Dormer loft conversion
Considered the most popular choice of loft solutions, a dormer loft conversion is a box-shaped structure that sits on a pitched roof. Its walls are at a 90-degree angle with the floor, creating more floor and headspace. Most houses in the UK are suited for dormer loft conversions and are generally cheaper compared to other options. A typical dormer costs anywhere between £30,000 – £66,000.
Overall, it is fairly easy to build and there are no major changes. You have plenty of added usable space and there is more choice of conventional windows which allow natural light.
Hip-to-gable loft conversion
More suited to detached and end-of-terrace properties, a hip-to-gable loft conversion is a practical solution for lofts with limited floor space. An inwardly slanted end roof is straightened for a vertical wall to be made.
Although they can be more expensive than dormer loft conversions (the average price is £50,000) a hip-to-gable conversion blends well with the look of a home. This is also one of the best loft conversion choices for chalets and bungalows.
How long does it take to finish converting your loft?
Typically, converting your loft could take anywhere between four to eight weeks from start to finish. However, the exact time it takes for your loft conversion project to be completed depends on which type of loft you decide to go ahead with.
- Roof light loft conversions: Four weeks on average.
- Mansard loft conversions: Seven to eight weeks on average.
- Dormer loft conversions: Five weeks on average.
- Hip to gable loft conversions: Six weeks on average.
Before starting the loft conversion, there are a few things you need to get your head around. Essentially, you need to make a decision on whether a loft conversion is right for your home. The pointers below can help you come to a sound conclusion.
Can the existing structure support a loft conversion?
With a loft conversion, you do not want to be spending over the odds. Work can quickly add up and something you want to ensure is that the existing structure is capable of supporting the added weight. Inspecting the foundations can help you with this.
You need to dig a small hole next to your home whereby the foundations are exposed and a building control officer can then check these. Your home could require underpinning and if this is the case, you can double the budget you need.
It is likely that loft beams also need to be installed to help support the conversion. Whether they are made from steel or timber will depend on the size of your loft. Timber beams are used for smaller conversions, but steel is more commonly used and carries longer durability.
To support the full structure, beams are generally installed on each side of the loft. Features such as bi-fold doors and windows determine how many beams are needed for the project.
Enough headspace before converting your loft?
You would not believe how many homeowners convert their loft, only to discover there is not the right amount of headroom for their needs. This should be double-checked before embarking on your conversion and the designer or architect should be able to tell you straight away.
Building regulations for loft conversions
Building regulations are important factors and you should be aware of all of the rules and stipulations governing a conversion. Hiring a company is the safest option to ensure all bases are covered. But if you want to go alone, just be sure you know exactly what you are doing.
You also need to consider and notify your neighbours, especially if there is a party wall between the two properties. This is all stated in the Party Wall Act 1996.
Building regulations checks are required for any conversion or extension you are considering. Checks typically cover things such as safety, ventilation, fire escape and insulation.
For a loft conversion, building regulations will typically govern:
- The strength of the new flooring.
- The stability of your loft conversion.
- Safe escape in the event of a fire.
- Permanent stairwell connecting your loft to the rest of the property.
- The installation of sound insulation.
For these reasons, it is always best to bring in a team of experts. They know building regulations like the back of their hand and will ensure your conversion does not fall foul of the law.
It is important to be on the safe side. Because any wrongdoing could mean that the local council is within their rights to demand the conversion be returned to its original state, at your expense. If you are unsure of any aspect of building regulations or want some advice on your project, contact your local authority’s building control department.
Bats in the attic or loft
When thinking about building a loft conversion, you have to be particularly cautious of protected species habituating in the space, namely bats in the attic. If there is any evidence of bats using your loft, you need a survey from a professional ecologist. Be aware that your building project will be on hold until the issue is dealt with.
As the population of bats has been dwindling for decades, they have been a protected species since the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. You would be committing a criminal offence by carrying out any of the following:
- Capturing, injuring or killing a bat.
- Disturbing a roost or group of bats, such as using an ultrasonic device to scare them.
- Damaging or destroying a breeding or resting area.
- Obstructing access to a bat roost.
In the UK, it is illegal to remove bats from your home. If you do have a bat or bats in your loft, it is best to reach out to a professional to avoid breaking the law. We recommend you get in touch with the National Bat Helpline for advice, including on what to do once a bat leaves on its own accord. They can also advise on how to prevent more from returning.
Change the existing roof when converting your loft
If your plans include extending or altering the roof in any way, you need planning permission to sign off on the proposed work. You also need to factor in additional expenses, while fitting new ceiling and floor joists.
Designing the loft conversion staircase
When it comes to considering how to build a loft conversion, the stairs are one of the trickiest to factor in. Unfortunately, they take up a great deal of space and are covered by building regulations. In order to keep costs down, it is recommended to invest in a standard stair design, while trying to integrate them with your existing staircase.
If you want to alter the design though, ensure to seek the advice of a building control officer. As part of safety procedures, you may need to add a partition wall. This will ensure an adequate escape route in the event of a fire.
Do you have natural lighting?
Most lofts do not have previously installed windows, so a light source is integral to your plans. There are many options to consider in this regard, such as skylights or even dormer windows. A lot will come down to the design and what is best for your finances.
Skylights are often the preferred option for loft conversions as they can be seamlessly integrated into the existing roofline and in most cases, will not require planning permissions.
Factor fire safety precautions
When considering how to build a loft conversion, fire safety is another important element. First of all, the conversion will need 30 minutes of fire protection. To adhere to these regulations, you could be required to replaster the ceilings below and fit a fire door. There should also be a means to escape, such as through the windows.
Make your loft energy efficient with loft insulation
Heat loss is a major problem in many homes and can result in you spending hundreds of pounds extra on yearly energy bills. Insulating your loft is one of the most important things you can do to make your home more energy efficient, even when unconverted. This is because heat naturally rises and can easily escape your house.
Protect against sound pollution
Sound insulation is often neglected in the design of a loft conversion, but something you should certainly factor into your thinking. Floor space should be sound insulated, preferably with a mineral fibre quilt laid between the joists. The heavier and denser the material, the better. If there are any party walls, consider both sound and thermal insulation here too.
Loft conversion materials and tools for sale
Whether you are thinking about converting your loft or this is part of a bigger construction project you are working on as a builder, Building Materials Nationwide can help. We can assist you with the right tools and materials to get the job done. From timber to Velux windows and from loft insulation to gutters and downpipes, we have a wide range of building materials to choose from.
By signing up for one of our trade accounts online, you can benefit from a dedicated trade account manager who can help you source everything you need for your next building project. Give our friendly team a call to get started.
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How to convert an attic into a living space?
July 02, 2022
Often no one lives in a room under the roof, and it serves as a storage room. During the construction of a house in the attic, only rough work is usually performed. Much of the interior space is wasted.
If you plan correctly, then the attic space can be converted into a beautiful attic, make a cozy room, a comfortable office there. In European countries, such solutions are very popular.
The most difficult thing is to decide to remodel the attic. Where to begin?
First, develop a plan. Think about what room you will equip instead of an attic. Will it be a workshop, an office, a bedroom, a nursery.
If you want to make a bedroom or a children’s room in the attic, then the sloping walls of the roof must be carefully insulated. When arranging a workshop, office, in addition to insulation in sloping walls, additional windows are made.
Alteration of the attic to the attic. Stages of work:
- Interior space planning.
- Insulation of side walls, floors.
- Interior decoration.
Once you have a plan, make a list of what you need to buy for future repairs.
Designers do not recommend making additional partitions in the attic, as they can visually reduce the room.
The room is left free, insulated and finished. To make the room light, install additional windows. Usually they are equipped in the gables of the building, but in some cases, windows are also mounted in sloping walls.
Insulation option is selected depending on the features and condition of the future attic. If at the construction stage the roof was insulated around the entire perimeter, then there will be much less work.
Most of the heat leaves the attic through the roof. This is the most vulnerable wall, since its thickness is the smallest. Therefore, it is especially important to insulate sloping walls. High-quality thermal insulation reduces heating costs.
When choosing a material for thermal insulation of the floor, it is important to consider the following nuances:
- Effective temperature protection
Most often, mineral wool is used to insulate the attic. For rough flooring choose boards, plywood. They have a small thickness and are ideal for low spaces.
Thermal insulation materials are laid directly in the gaps between floors. First, the surface is lined with vapor barrier material. Then put mineral wool. Thermal insulation is mounted in several layers.
If the cross beams look satisfactory, then the boards are laid on them. If the condition of the crossbars is unsatisfactory, a special crate is made. Draft material is laid on the beams or crate – boards, plywood.
Next, finish the floor. Linoleum is laid, laminate, parquet, tiles are laid.
Roof insulation must be taken seriously and thought through carefully. It is important that the roof protects the attic from the penetration of precipitation, does not allow warm air to go outside.
Attic insulation is carried out in stages:
- Laying the waterproofing sheet. The material is fixed to the rafters with planks of wood.
- Installation of mineral wool or other environmentally friendly insulation. Heat-insulating plates are smeared with special glue and pressed to the surface between the rafters. You can also fix the layers of mineral wool with self-tapping screws or nails. The heat insulator is staggered in several layers. This installation method helps to effectively protect the attic from the penetration of cold winds.
- Vapor protection unit . To prevent moisture penetrating from the street from reducing the effectiveness of the thermal insulation material, it is protected with a vapor barrier sheet – a membrane or film.
The material from the rolls is mounted to the rafters using a stapler. Construction adhesive tape is glued to the places of punctures and joints of sheets.
After all work on the insulation of sloping walls is completed, a special crate is made over the rafters. Cross boards are nailed to the beams. Step – 30 cm. Finishing material is mounted on the crate.
Depending on the features of the interior, finishing materials, furniture, and textiles are selected. In the attic it is better to use light, not bulky furniture.
Making a full-fledged living space out of the attic is not as difficult as it might seem. Having spent a little time and showing imagination, you will get a cozy, functional space in which it will be pleasant to work and relax.
We will listen to your wishes and think over the design of the house, taking into account what you want to see in your attic – a closet or a cozy living room.
Room in the attic: how to make it yourself
Read in this publication:
Is it possible to make a room in the attic with your own hands
What you will have to face in the process of rebuilding the attic into a room very varied. Well, you can lie on the grass for a day and eat meat from a fire, well, two – in the end, both you and your friends will get bored with such a pastime. You want something more active, and what can be more active than summer cottage construction – moderate, unhurried? It will be interesting to work in pleasure even to your friends. But this is not the point – the point is that, slowly and slowly, they are able to help you equip a guest room in the attic and provide yourself with outdoor recreation in comfortable conditions. I think they will appreciate this idea and will not refuse to help you – especially since they obviously will not have to kill themselves with physical work. Just a light workout. We will also help you from our side – we will provide you with technical support. Together with the site moyadacha.org we will tell you how to properly equip the attic and make a living room under the roof.
Living room in the attic photo
Is it possible to make a room in the attic with your own hands? This means that, first of all, you need to soberly assess your strengths both financially and technically – in the sense, to understand how difficult this work is and how ready you are for it.
In simple terms, you should estimate the amount of work. And it, by and large, is not small, even if we present it in the form of main stages.
- Roof. Here the situation can be twofold, and it all depends on how much space is under it. You need to go up to the attic and make sure that you can move freely on it without bending over. If its height allows, then you are lucky – no global alterations are needed. If everything is bad, then you may be put off by the fact that the roof will have to be demolished and redone, taking into account the necessary living space under it.
Attic under the room photo
- In any case, whether the roof is demolished or not, it will not work to convert the attic into a room without insulating the space under the roof – without thermal insulation in the summer there will be a greenhouse under the roof, and in the winter a glacier.
- Communications – at least electrical outlets and lighting will need to be done.
- Floors – walking on the beams and breaking your legs (especially after an evening libation) is not only unpleasant, but simply dangerous.
- Finishing – at least standard clapboard lining.
What else you will have to face in the process of converting the attic into a living room, you can also see in this video.
If the dacha will be intensively used for recreation in winter, then you should also take care of heating. In addition, one should not forget about the entrance to the room, which, as a rule, is carried out through the stairs, and this is another rather big stage of work associated with the creation of a living room in the attic of your country house.
What you will have to face in the process of rebuilding the attic into a room
Even if you do not get into the details, subtleties and nuances of the work associated with the implementation of each individual stage of work, you can already conclude that you will have to work hard. It is almost impossible to do all this in one summer season. Although who knows and with what enthusiasm to approach the matter – of course, an important component in all this is the availability of the necessary funds. Although no – all the same, in order to re-equip the attic on your own during the season, you will have to work tirelessly almost every day, and you won’t be able to just move away from constant work. In general, all stages will have to be divided into several seasons, especially since each of them can be called a very laborious process. Judge for yourself what you have to face.
- Alterations. This stage can be global, even if you do not have to deal with a complete alteration of the roof in view of the low height under the ceiling. The fact is that if the attic was not planned, then the location of the beams may turn out to be completely inappropriate. You may have to rearrange some of the rafter supports to make the room bright, cut in a few windows. There may be plenty of such “little things” – it is quite possible to spend a whole season on them.
- Roof insulation. It is also a very laborious process. In a good way, you need to remove the roof and lay a waterproofing film under it. Someone may say that it can also be installed from the inside, but it should be understood that in this case the roof rafters will remain unprotected from atmospheric moisture, which will lead to their rapid destruction. Only after the installation of reliable waterproofing will it be possible to move under the roof and lay insulation between the rafters, which, in turn, is closed from the inside with a vapor barrier film. Both films play an important role in insulation – they do not allow mineral wool to get wet and thereby lose its thermal insulation characteristics. As for polystyrene, I want to say right away that it creates a greenhouse effect – moisture will accumulate under the roof, as a result of which a fungus will appear, and all wooden roof structures will rot at an accelerated pace.
How to make a living room out of an attic photo
- Laying communications. This is an easy stage of work – a warm-up that can be done before the next stage or after the previous one. Its implementation will require a maximum of a couple of days off – one week you can lay electrical cables, and another week pipes, if there is a need for them, which is very debatable.
Attic room photo
- Staircase is no less time-consuming stage than alteration or insulation of the roof of a country house. To begin with, you need to cut an opening in the ceiling – a very dangerous thing that can lead to the collapse of the ceiling in the house. You don’t need to be scared – just the location of the opening needs to be carefully thought out. The most important thing is not to cut out the supporting beams, and everything will be fine with the ceiling. If everything is completely bad and for some reason it is impossible to make an entrance to the second floor, then the lift can be done from the street, which, of course, is not very convenient in terms of moving from floor to floor. In addition, the manufacture of the staircase itself also looks like a difficult process – although if you look at it, there is nothing complicated here. In the end, not everything is done with your own hands – you can buy a ladder. For example, purchase a modular design that will be cheaper than all other options for similar products.
DIY attic room photo
- Floors. After all that has been done, the process of creating a floor in a room in the attic with your own hands will seem like an easy workout to you and it won’t take much time. Everything is quite simple here, and a plywood or USB joist floor would be the best option. You can read about how to make such a floor in another article on our site.
- Finishing. Creating beauty in the house, even in the attic, is always a pleasure. There are a lot of options for interior decoration, and all of them are not so complicated. The easiest way is to use panels – they have many advantages, but the most important among them are simple (relatively simple) installation and no need for subsequent decoration. To put it simply: put it on – and you’re done. The most common material of this type is wooden lining, the decor of which comes down to varnishing it. This is with regard to wall decoration – the situation with the floor is almost the same, only materials of a different type are used for it. The same laminate or linoleum, laying it with your own hands will not be much work.
How to make a room in the attic at home with your own hands photo
Naturally, approaching each of the stages of solving the question of how to make a living room out of an attic, first of all, it is necessary to sensibly assess your strengths – among the complete list of works there may be those that for some reason will be beyond your power. It is better to delegate such work to specialists. In general, you need to take only the work that you are completely sure of doing with your own hands.
In conclusion of the topic of how to make a room in the attic, it remains to say only one thing – this is not the best option for guests.