Attic conversions: step-by-step guide

Find out how to get started on your Attic conversion by consulting our experts on determining whether your Attic is suitable, selecting the style of conversion, and locating a builder or architect.

Knowing where to begin might be difficult because there are so many seemingly complicated processes to getting your Attic converted. But have no fear: Which? is here to make the process feel more manageable.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps of a Attic conversion and what you should think about at each point.

Is it possible to convert my Attic?

You must first determine whether your Attic space is suitable for conversion before proceeding.

Most houses come with a permitted development allowance, which means you can proceed with your conversion without needing to seek planning approval. It may be more difficult if you reside in a conservation area or if, for example, your roof space isn’t tall enough.

You can hire a builder, architect, or surveyor to come to your home and inspect it for you, but there are a few things you can do yourself first.

Look around your neighborhood for such conversions. A simple approach to get a sense of

The best way to tell if your Attic can be converted is to look at other houses on your street that have had Attic conversions. It’s more likely to be a possibility if you see examples. If you have the opportunity, go a step further and inquire about anyone on your street who has had their Attic renovated.

Measure the height of your head

A Attic conversion requires a minimum height of 2.2m, which you may easily measure yourself. Take a tape measure and measure from the floor to the highest point in the room. Your Attic should be tall enough to convert if it is 2.2m or more. Victorian houses are often lower than those built after 1930, and hence may lack proper head height.

Make sure you know what kind of roof you have

Your house will feature roof trusses or rafters, depending on when it was built. You should be able to tell what type of roof you have by peeking through your Attic hatch.

Rafters run along the roof’s edge, leaving the majority of the triangular space below hollow. Trusses are cross-sectional supports that run the length of the Attic. It is possible to convert a Atticwith trusses, but additional structural support is required to replace the trusses, and the project is likely to be more expensive. By scrolling to the last two photographs in the gallery below, you may see instances of these.

Consider the ground level

When planning a Attic conversion, many individuals overlook the adjustments to the level below the Attic. It’s a good idea to consider where the staircase will go and how much space it will take up. Even a well-designed space-saving staircase can take up a significant amount of space, so make sure you have enough room to spare.

Once you’ve determined whether you can afford a Attic conversion, check out our article on Attic conversion costs, which includes average pricing and cost-cutting advice from professionals and people who have had Attic conversions.

What kind of Attic conversion should I choose?

Roof light, dormer, hip-to-gable, and mansard are the four primary forms of Attic conversions. A variety of criteria, including the type and age of the house you reside in, as well as your budget, will certainly influence your decision.

View samples of each type in the picture below, then read on for more information on how they function, which types of homes they might fit, and how much they cost.

Different forms of Attic conversion :

Conversions of roof lights

Roof light conversions are by far the most cost-effective and least disruptive alternative, as they do not require any alterations to the roof’s shape or pitch. To make the room usable, all that is required is the installation of skylight windows, the installation of a decent floor, and the addition of a stairway. This form of conversion, however, requires sufficient roof space without the need for an expansion.

Dormer conversions

A dormer Attic conversion is an addition to a home that protrudes from the roof’s slope. Dormers are the most common style of conversion, particularly flat-roof dormers. They can be used on almost any house with a slanting roof.

Dormer conversions are less expensive than mansard or hip-to-gable conversions, but they nevertheless provide a significant amount of additional headroom and floor space.

Conversions from hip to gable

Hip-to-gable conversions operate by extending the slanted ‘hip’ roof on the side of your house outwards to create a vertical ‘gable’ wall, allowing you to expand your internal Attic space. Because it requires a free sloping side roof, this style of conversion will only work on detached or semi-detached buildings.

You can construct on both sides of a detached house with sloping roofs to create a double hip-to-gable expansion that is even more roomy.

Conversions of mansard roofs

Mansard extensions extend the length of your roof, changing the angle of the roof slope to practically vertical. These are the most expensive conversions, but they provide a large amount of additional space.

Most property types, including terraced, semi-detached, and detached houses, are appropriate for mansard conversions.

Most property types, including terraced, semi-detached, and detached houses, are appropriate for mansard conversions.

What should I look for in a builder or architect?

Urban Build in dublin has renovated Victorian and Georgian homes , giving them a fresh new look and transforming them into modern and contemporary living spaces.

It’s wise to start with a referral when hiring any tradesman. Consult your friends and relatives, and go online to see if there are any local forums where you can get recommendations.

Ask your neighbors who they used and how they found them if you’ve noticed any Attic conversions along your street and feel safe knocking on some doors.

You may also visit Which? Trusted Traders to identify local traders who have earned our seal of approval. You can also look for a trader using our Trusted Traders search tool below.

Inquire about previous work samples while chatting with a builder or architect. Most reputable businesses would gladly provide you with photos, and some may even be able to arrange visits so you can chat with clients about their experiences and observe conversions up close.

Get at least three quotations for the job you’re planning, but don’t forget to consider recommendations and your gut feeling about the person or company, in addition to price.

Will I need to apply for planning permission?

Permitted development rights apply to many Attic conversions, therefore they won’t require planning permission.

Permitted development may not apply to you if you reside on designated territory or have a specific type of property that is difficult to convert.

Visit our guide to building regulations and planning permission to learn more about if you’ll need planning permission and any other permissions you might require.

Should I notify my homeowner’s insurance company that I’ve completed a Attic conversion?

Yes, any changes to your home’s structure, habitability, security, or worth should be reported to your insurer. A Attic conversion, for example, may boost the property’s value. Your premiums for buildings and contents insurance may most likely be affected as a result of this.

You should also inform your insurance if you are staying somewhere else while your Attic conversion is being done. Give at least a few weeks’ notice.

Consider expert renovations insurance if you’re having major construction work done. This protects you in the event that something goes wrong with the construction, materials, or the property owner’s liabilities.