How to survive: a loft conversion
Making good use of that extra space in your loft sounds exciting, doesn’t it? But is it worth the hassle? Loft conversions can be one of the most cost effective and rapid ways to add considerable floor space (and value!) to your home. However, starting any major home improvement project might mean opening up your home to chaos and mayhem. We've pulled together a short ‘survival guide’ to navigate your loft project to a dream completion and avoid any nightmares.
One stop shop builders are a life saver
Planning permission can often be the most testing portion of any home improvement. The process only becomes further convoluted with other bits of red tape like Party Wall Awards and Building Regulations to follow. That’s why going to a one stop shop loft converter is such a good idea.
These specialists will take care of all aspects of the conversion, from the plans and paperwork, to the actual building works. It saves you a lot of work in terms of communicating and coordinating all the different moving parts! Meaning that you can basically sit back and relax, knowing you’ve done all you need to do.
Think about timing
Timing is of the essence when it comes to these larger scale home improvements. Check your calendar and see when you can book in such a large project. Try to avoid there being any builders in your home when you’ve got the in-laws staying for a big event such as a milestone birthday. You don’t really want them staying when your roof is off, do you? It might even be worth using it as a reason to schedule in a small break or weekend getaway!
On the smaller scale, it may be worthwhile trying to work out a schedule with your builders, particularly if you work flexible hours. This way you can minimise the amount of time you’re likely to be in the house while noisy work is going on.
While you may just want to ignore the strangers in your home carrying out the improvements for you, keeping an open channel of communication is a good idea. That way you’ll know the ins and outs of everything that’s going on, which is reassuring if you start to panic that things might not be completed in time. If at any stage you have concerns, it is important to flag them early. It is much easier to change things in flight than having to redo something.
Break through day
In many loft conversions tradespeople will barely need to be in your actual home at all. They can gain access to the loft via the scaffolding and work largely unnoticed, save for a bit of noise. The exception to this is the day they break through the ceiling and construct the new staircase that will allow you to access the loft.
This can be a noisy and messy process, but most builders will aim to complete breaking through and forming the staircase in just one day. This should keep the intrusion and disruption to a minimum. Even so, it’s perhaps best to ensure that as many people as possible are out on this day. Think about that little getaway!
One final thing to consider is dust. All good builders aim to be as clean and tidy as possible. However, it’s a simple matter of life that in, say, a Victorian house there will be an accumulation of over 100 years’ worth of dust in the attic. This can start to permeate into the rest of the house as it is disrupted during the conversion process.
Speak to your builders about when and where dust may be likely to start appearing. They will normally use dust sheets to minimise the amount that get spread to the wider house. Probably a good idea to cover your furniture if there is a risk of dust going for a wander.
The sky's the limit
We hope we didn’t scare you off, but instead gave you some practical tips to set up your loft project for success: ensure that you're working with specialists, be mindful of timings, keep communicating, plan to avoid 'break through day' and prepare for dust.
We wish you best of luck with your project. Many of our customers say that their completed loft is one of the most rewarding home improvement projects they have ever done – make sure you enjoy it.