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Thread: Using Loft Space

  1. #1
    Master senwar's Avatar
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    Using Loft Space

    I've got a relatively large sized loft that I had partially boarded out when moving in 4yrs ago. I'm wanting to do something with the space to make it more 'room' type but without having it fully converted. Just thinking of having it plaster boarded and the rest of the flooring done. I'd love a full conversion but to be honest, I think it would be overkill (house is already too big for just me and the mrs)

    Has anyone had their loft space 'converted' in this manner? I'd still really only use for storage primarily but also wondered what other usage could be had from it without it being classed as a conversion? I understand I'd need a structural engineer to look at it anyway but any other tips/ideas?

  2. #2
    Journeyman
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    Poker/Cigar lounge.

  3. #3
    Master
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    Its not a forum Im on , but my wife frequents Pintrest. If you go on as a guest and type in loft conversion ideas, you will have hours of viewing. Key point from a building control point of view is make sure you have the required height over a certain portion of the loft. From your opening comment sounds like yours is a good size to start.

  4. #4
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by senwar View Post
    I've got a relatively large sized loft that I had partially boarded out when moving in 4yrs ago. I'm wanting to do something with the space to make it more 'room' type but without having it fully converted. Just thinking of having it plaster boarded and the rest of the flooring done. I'd love a full conversion but to be honest, I think it would be overkill (house is already too big for just me and the mrs)

    Has anyone had their loft space 'converted' in this manner? I'd still really only use for storage primarily but also wondered what other usage could be had from it without it being classed as a conversion? I understand I'd need a structural engineer to look at it anyway but any other tips/ideas?
    I am in the same position as you. My house is 55ft long and 22 ft wide and the entire loft was boarded out. I bought the house in 1982 when loft insulation was usually 1" thick. and was all under the boards.

    Over the years we chucked every spare thing that we had up into the loft until it was filled up to the gunnels.

    One day we had an offer to re insulate the loft but it was conditional that we remove all the contents and also the boards before work commenced.

    To cut a long story short, it took us 3 weeks and 3 skips to empty the loft and we just dumped 90% of what was up there.

    The loft got reinsulated and it is now only part boarded and we are now really fussy what goes up there.

    A fully boarded loft soon becomes a convenient dumping ground and one day it has to be emptied and it will have to be done one day whether you like it or not.

    Proceed with caution.

  5. #5
    Master Maysie's Avatar
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    Either do it properly, with planning/Building Regs approval etc, or don't do it at all.

    There is a lot going on in terms of converting a loft properly; increased loadings/insulation requirements/ventilation/interstitial condensation/access/fire escape etc, to mention just a few.

    If you don't convert with full regs, you will very likely devalue your home if you ever sell it, as a decent surveyor/structural engineer will spot a poorly converted loft a mile away and raise a number of warning flags which will potentially put off buyers.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maysie View Post
    If you don't convert with full regs, you will very likely devalue your home if you ever sell it, as a decent surveyor/structural engineer will spot a poorly converted loft a mile away and raise a number of warning flags which will potentially put off buyers.
    That's not correct. You won't devalue a house by doing a half conversion on a loft as long as you don't claim it's more than it is. Where problems arise is when conversions are not BC compliant but the seller claims it's a bedroom & tries to charge 4 bed price for a 3 bed house. If it's described as storage space buyers will see it as a useful addition & maybe value it as being worth a few thousand.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Maysie View Post
    Either do it properly, with planning/Building Regs approval etc, or don't do it at all.

    There is a lot going on in terms of converting a loft properly; increased loadings/insulation requirements/ventilation/interstitial condensation/access/fire escape etc, to mention just a few.

    If you don't convert with full regs, you will very likely devalue your home if you ever sell it, as a decent surveyor/structural engineer will spot a poorly converted loft a mile away and raise a number of warning flags which will potentially put off buyers.
    I hope you dont go around giving people advise like this, i sold my house earlier this year because the loft was partially boarded out due to the extra space

  8. #8
    I do a fair few of these,if your going to get a structural engineer and start paying for party wall agreements you may as well go for full planning,the house may be big enough for you but if you sell it someone will want the extra space and youíll put money on the value.
    If you donít do it properly the money spent is gone as you canít sell the house stating the loft is done ,you may spend 20k to just have a store room ,you may as well spend double and put the price on the house .
    If your in London Iíd happily call over and give you some pointers.


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  9. #9
    Master Maysie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pointy View Post
    That's not correct. You won't devalue a house by doing a half conversion on a loft as long as you don't claim it's more than it is.
    Yes it is correct and I have seen it numerous times.

    A home owner/potential buyer may agree with your point of view, but a knowledgeable surveyor is very unlikely to see it the same way when they encounter a fully boarded, plaster-boarded loft space with no regs approval.

    A partially (poorly) converted loft dripping/streaming with condensation due to the home owner not realising that a loft space needs to be ventilated, so has put plasterboard up everywhere, insulated in the wrong places and has not installed appropriate vapour control layers has essentially created a building defect and effectively devalued the property.

  10. #10
    Master Maysie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hooshabak View Post
    I hope you dont go around giving people advise like this, i sold my house earlier this year because the loft was partially boarded out due to the extra space
    You have added a few boards in your loft and sold your house, it sounds you are now an expert in loft conversions then....

    Was it plasterboarded or did you add a few floor boards to simplify storage?
    If it was fully platerboarded, did the buyer appoint a decent surveyor?

    OP, ignore my advice if you like, but it is not wrong.
    Last edited by Maysie; 10th December 2019 at 12:32.

  11. #11
    Master
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    I'm just ding a house up ive just bought- have a sizeable loft- which is partially boarded- thinking I may put my PJ up there and watch some movies

  12. #12
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maysie View Post
    Yes it is correct and I have seen it numerous times.

    A home owner/potential buyer may agree with your point of view, but a knowledgeable surveyor is very unlikely to see it the same way when they encounter a fully boarded, plaster-boarded loft space with no regs approval.

    A partially (poorly) converted loft dripping/streaming with condensation due to the home owner not realising that a loft space needs to be ventilated, so has put plasterboard up everywhere, insulated in the wrong places and has not installed appropriate vapour control layers has essentially created a building defect and effectively devalued the property.
    You're conflating doing a poor conversion with doing one that's not to BR. You can do a partial conversion properly but it still might not meet BR. Obviously a badly done conversion which cause issues is problematic but that's not what is being debated.

  13. #13
    Master Maysie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pointy View Post
    You're conflating doing a poor conversion with doing one that's not to BR.
    I am not conflating anything, but I think you are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pointy View Post
    You can do a partial conversion properly but it still might not meet BR.
    What a load of nonsense. If you carry out works to your property (such as a full or partial loft conversion), then it should be done to a minimum standard - which is what the Building Regs define and what they are there for. To carry out works which do NOT meet the required minimum standard is in breach of the regs and could potentially cause more problems with the property, invalidate your insurances etc etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pointy View Post
    Obviously a badly done conversion which cause issues is problematic but that's not what is being debated.
    That is exactly what is being debated.

  14. #14
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    I am in the same position as you. My house is 55ft long and 22 ft wide and the entire loft was boarded out. I bought the house in 1982 when loft insulation was usually 1" thick. and was all under the boards.

    Over the years we chucked every spare thing that we had up into the loft until it was filled up to the gunnels.

    One day we had an offer to re insulate the loft but it was conditional that we remove all the contents and also the boards before work commenced.

    To cut a long story short, it took us 3 weeks and 3 skips to empty the loft and we just dumped 90% of what was up there.

    The loft got reinsulated and it is now only part boarded and we are now really fussy what goes up there.

    A fully boarded loft soon becomes a convenient dumping ground and one day it has to be emptied and it will have to be done one day whether you like it or not.

    Proceed with caution.
    This resonates.

    My house has three lofts, and apart from a few suitcases there is nothing in any of them (to be fair, two of them are not easy access, but could be used if I really wanted). We do have other storage in outhouses though.

    I am in no way a minimalist, and have tons of stuff I've collected over the years, but have always tried not to pile stuff into lofts after I had to clear the loft in my parents house years ago. It was rammed, and took days, and was basically almost entirely pointless junk.

    I also think it is a major fire hazard - my dear mother had stored every single christmas and birthday card received by the family over decades along with newspapers and other old documents. A single spark or a lightning strike would have probably lit up something visible from space...
    So clever my foot fell off.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Maysie View Post
    I am not conflating anything, but I think you are.


    What a load of nonsense. If you carry out works to your property (such as a full or partial loft conversion), then it should be done to a minimum standard - which is what the Building Regs define and what they are there for. To carry out works which do NOT meet the required minimum standard is in breach of the regs and could potentially cause more problems with the property, invalidate your insurances etc etc.


    That is exactly what is being debated.
    I'm siding with the voice of caution provided by Maysie, having visited a number of loft 'conversions' that are being sold as 'storage only' but which have shown signs of damp issues caused by the occupant merrily boarding over the ceiling joists and roof rafters, concealing the insulation and providing the perfect area to store moisture and cause problems down the line. Do it right or don't do it at all is a good message.

  16. #16
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmarchitect View Post
    I'm siding with the voice of caution provided by Maysie, having visited a number of loft 'conversions' that are being sold as 'storage only' but which have shown signs of damp issues caused by the occupant merrily boarding over the ceiling joists and roof rafters, concealing the insulation and providing the perfect area to store moisture and cause problems down the line. Do it right or don't do it at all is a good message.
    Again that's not down to doing a simple conversion - it's about doing it correctly. You can cause horrendous condensation problems in an otherwise unused loft just by laying down another 200mm of insulation which is something that is actually encouraged.

    To say you need to go the whole BR route with uprated joists, staircase headroom clearances, fire doors & escape routes just for a useable storage area is nonsense. Just don't try & sell it as a bedroom.

  17. #17
    Master Maysie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pointy View Post
    Again that's not down to doing a simple conversion - it's about doing it correctly. You can cause horrendous condensation problems in an otherwise unused loft just by laying down another 200mm of insulation which is something that is actually encouraged.

    To say you need to go the whole BR route with uprated joists, staircase headroom clearances, fire doors & escape routes just for a useable storage area is nonsense. Just don't try & sell it as a bedroom.
    The OP mentions boarding out the loft and adding plasterboard etc. Nobody (except you) is saying that the OP must go the whole hog and create the required escape routes, add staircases etc, as that would only be required to create habitable space.

    You seem to be missing the point that Building Regs approval is required to make a material change to the fabric of your building, not just if you do the full 'bells and whistles' habitable conversion. If the alterations carried out actually meet the regs, why would you NOT want to get approval for them? What you are saying is just nonsensical.

    Whatever the OP does, it should meet the building regs and have approval, otherwise it is likely to come back and bite him.

  18. #18
    Master senwar's Avatar
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    Well this seems to have gone a way I wasn't expecting.

    For clarity - I WILL be asking for whatever permissions are necessary as mentioned in my OP when mentioning a structural engineer. Was just after ideas. Since having an issue with a conservatory we had built under permitted development many years ago (all was fine, but our buyers solicitor really tried it on) we are doing everything by the book and triple checking things

    In an ideal world I'd love a full conversion but feel the cost, whilst it would increase the value, is too much to fork out for something that isn't fully needed. Additionally, I live behind a farm that has sold some land and we don't know what will come of it yet - so would want to know that before converting to say a master bedroom. There is scope to create office space up there though and have that done properly too - have even thought of splitting into two rooms, office and storage, but again just after ideas. Thanks re: the pinterest pointer. And thanks mk but I live in Sheffield so out of the way.

    All points noted however.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by senwar View Post
    Well this seems to have gone a way I wasn't expecting.

    For clarity - I WILL be asking for whatever permissions are necessary as mentioned in my OP when mentioning a structural engineer. Was just after ideas. Since having an issue with a conservatory we had built under permitted development many years ago (all was fine, but our buyers solicitor really tried it on) we are doing everything by the book and triple checking things

    In an ideal world I'd love a full conversion but feel the cost, whilst it would increase the value, is too much to fork out for something that isn't fully needed. Additionally, I live behind a farm that has sold some land and we don't know what will come of it yet - so would want to know that before converting to say a master bedroom. There is scope to create office space up there though and have that done properly too - have even thought of splitting into two rooms, office and storage, but again just after ideas. Thanks re: the pinterest pointer. And thanks mk but I live in Sheffield so out of the way.

    All points noted however.
    I live in Doncaster but work in London,I thought you were in London has everyone down there wants a loft doing


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  20. #20
    Craftsman
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    I had my loft converted a few years ago. I did it by the book with BW, structural engineer, certificate of completion etc. So whilst I know you are not looking to do that, perhaps listing the things I did have to go through and issues I came across will give you an idea of what you DONíT need to do..

    - access. You need to give up quite a bit of space for a set of stairs. Also I found out there is a max incline you are allowed - canít remember but something like 42 degs - and I am sure mine are something like 40 degs. If using a loft ladder, thatís fine.

    - natural light. There is a ratio of window size to floor size. It meant putting in more velux windows than we expected. Also, if you put in a velux wider than the joists (600mm usually) then you will be cutting that beam which means you have to double up on the joists and beams on either sides of the velux.

    Escape - you must have a means of escape. Some of our velux windows had to be fire escape versions

    Then the killer stuff where it affected other areas of the house that I wasnít prepared for. We had to convert every single door internally off both downstairs and upstairs hall to fire doors. Thicker, solid, fire resistant, auto closing and fire strip seal. Not just the cost but as thicker every set of door stops had to be removed and taken back 10mm and refitted as well as the heavier hinges. We had 17 doors affected and added £4K to our costs.

    For some reason it triggered the need for us to install a main smoke and heat alarm in our main drawing room when we never had one before.

    Remember and tell your insurance you now have 3 floors rather than two.

    One thing to consider if doing it Ďproperlyí or not is the transporting of materials. Your stair carpet and upper hall get trashed with all the traffic and materials going up and down. Donít do it in winter as your door is open all day from builders constantly going up and down and in and out!

    Iíll post some pics next time I am on the PC of the before and after as worth it in the end.

  21. #21
    Craftsman
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    Good advice there, i'm almost at the end of this, have just ripped out the first floor ceilings, steel RSJs in and two rooms above, has taken me 3 months to do (though i am slow) be nice to the building inspector and his advice helps. All in all only cost circa 13k, but you could easily triple that if getting people in
    Last edited by KNog; 11th December 2019 at 04:16.

  22. #22
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Speak to these people https://www.loftplan.co.uk/

    they did ours - money well spent and about 40% cheaper than the next quote we got.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
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