As your family grows, you need more space to give everyone their privacy and allow you all to have fun together in your home.
Currently, in the UK, thousands of children are sharing bedrooms due to overcrowding, and this could affect their sibling relationships and future prospects.
Still, for many homeowners, moving to a new home can be tough. Volatile house prices and rising mortgage rates mean it’s difficult to sell your property in today’s market, and even if you find your next dream home, you might struggle to afford it or find a mortgage that fits your budget.
One cost-effective approach is to convert your attic from a storage space into a usable spare room. You can then use it as a communal area or make it another bedroom for your growing family.
Whatever you want to do with it, converting your attic can be a practical and affordable alternative to relocating for many families. Most properties have a loft, so if yours does and you’re eager to make the most of it, then here are some simple tips to help you get started on your conversion project.
Figure Out What You Want To Do With Your Space
The first step is to decide what purpose your attic space will serve when you convert it. Consider the needs of your family and how you can best make the most of your attic. Think about what you want to do with it and whether you want to replace an existing room in your home or make a new room, such as another bedroom. The type of use you want to put your space to will affect the project, so this should be the first decision you make.
Inspect Your Attic
Once you know what kind of attic conversion you want, you can start the process by having a professional inspect your attic’s structural integrity and make sure it’s suitable for conversion. Ensure there’s enough headroom and space to accommodate your desired use, and that the attic space is fit for your planned use. If you’re unsure about what to look out for, then speak to a professional builder who can advise you on whether the space is fit for conversion and what adjustments will need to be made.
Think About Electrical Fixtures
Every room in your home that’s being inhabited in any way by people requires electricity. This includes not only plug sockets, but also lighting fixtures. Most lofts are used for storage, so they’re not always connected to electricity, and if they are, then the wiring might be old and outdated. Get a qualified electrician to assess the situation and help you to get your attic hooked up with all the electrical connections you need. Once this has been done, make sure you get a domestic EICR to ensure that the loft conversion is safe and ready for use.
Add Heating Solutions Too
As well as electricity, your new loft space will need connecting to your general household heating system. Proper heating ensures that the space is comfortable and usable year-round, especially during cold winter months. While heat does rise, you still to make sure that there is some form of heating in the room, such as a radiator. If you don’t want to add a radiator, then you might want to consider a small electric heater. Underfloor heating, which involves installing heating elements beneath the floor’s surface, could also be an option as it provides even, efficient heating and is ideal for rooms with hard flooring surfaces like tile or hardwood. However, this solution is expensive and might require more work than other heating options, so you need to consider whether you’re committed to underfloor heating or not.
Check If You Need Planning Permission
If you’re just converting your attic and adding electricity or running water, then this shouldn’t need planning permission, and would be classed as a permitted development to your home. However, if you’re making substantial structural changes to your home in order to make your attic usable, then you might need to consult your local authority to make sure that you definitely don’t need planning permission. It’s better to find out that you don’t need it than it is not to check, and then be left with a hefty bill and the prospect of taking down your renovations later.
Ensure The Attic Is Easily Accessible And Safe To Walk On
When used for storage, lofts are usually only visited occasionally, so they might not be easy to reach. As such, you need to check that there is a safe and convenient way to access when it comes to converting your attic. Most homeowners add stairs instead of the traditional loft ladder if they’re using the space as a room rather than for storage. If you’re adding stairs, or already have them, you need to make sure that thy are are easy to climb and that everyone can use them, including your kids, pets and any elderly relatives who might want to go into the newly-refurbished attic space. Also, most attics have thinner floors at first, as they are often unboarded if used purely for storage. Choose appropriate flooring materials that suit the function of the space and will make the floor safe and comfortable to walk on. Carpet, hardwood, or laminate flooring are popular choices, especially as you need to consider insulation if the loft is above another room and will be used a lot.
Install Proper Insulation And Ventilation
Proper insulation and ventilation are crucial to make your attic space comfortable and energy-efficient. Adequate insulation will help regulate temperature, while proper ventilation will prevent moisture buildup. Together, both these elements help regulate temperature, maintain indoor air quality, and prevent moisture-related issues like mould and damp. Attics aren’t often fully insulated or properly ventilated when they’re used purely for storage, so you might have to review the current state of your attic. Once you know what insulation and ventilation you have, you can explore how you might need to upgrade it for general use. When it comes to insulation, there are various types of materials to choose from, including fiberglass, cellulose, foam board, and spray foam. Your choice will depend on factors like your budget and the room’s specific needs. Ventilation is also key, and proper attic ventilation involves both intake and exhaust vents. Common options include soffit vents, ridge vents, gable vents, and attic fans. The right combination depends on your attic’s design, size and layout.
Take Relevant Safety Precautions
Any room in your property that’s being used regularly will need proper safety equipment. As such, when it comes to converting your attic, you’ll need to install smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers for safety. If the attic is a bedroom, you may also need to consider ease of exit in case of a fire or another emergency. Understanding the fire safety rules regarding a loft conversion will allow you to make sure that your space is safe in case anything goes wrong. As well as fire safety, you should also make sure that you avoid any trip hazards, like loose wires lying around, to avoid any incidents that could injure a member of your beloved family.
Converting your attic into a functional space can be a rewarding project that adds value to your home and meets your family’s needs. Remember that proper planning is essential for a successful attic conversion, so use these tips to find innovative ways to expand your home and make the most of your attic space.
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