Loft and attic conversions have become popular ways to add extra space to a home. This solution usually works out as cheaper than actually adding an entire new extension to a building. Even though converting a mostly unused attic into living space may be a sensible idea, there are some common pitfalls that can usually be avoided by planning the project well. If they can’t be avoided, it’s better to plan for them in advance.
Heating and Cooling
Insulation in an attic that isn’t used may be different than insulation for an attic that gets used as living space. Attics that are only used as storage may only have floor insulation, but roofs need to get insulated for attics that get used as living space. In fact, many people have completed a lovely project only to find that the extra living space is barely livable because it gets too warm in the summer or too cool in the winter. Energy efficiency should be a planning consideration right from the beginning.
If the new living space would also include a new bathroom or even a sink, it’s a good idea to have the home’s plumbing checked out in advance. In some homes, it isn’t easy to extend the plumbing upwards, and this should be another consideration from the very early stages of the project.
The Value of the Extra Space
Attic conversions tend to pay for themselves in extra space and a greater home market value. However there are some pitfalls to consider with this too. For example, a home that turns from a two-story house into a three-story house might not be as desirable to prospective buyers as one with a similar amount of space on only one or two stories. In other words, the market value of the house may not increase as much as homeowners would expect if they just consider average market values of houses with the same living area.
The conversion usually has to include some way to access this new attic space that is better than the typical drop-down ladder that the original attic might have. Staircases have to fit somewhere, and they could reduce the living space on the floor below that attic. A good designer or architect may have solutions to this problem, but they are likely to add some additional costs to the project.
The Home’s Style and Appearance
Good designers and builders will consider the external appearance of any home that they plan to modify. Adding an attic doesn’t mean that the design of the home will automatically become worse, but it may be different. Of course, a poor design could have a negative effect on the building’s external appearance, but this isn’t usually the the case. The biggest issue is that the change may actually create a different kind of house that might not be suitable for a neighborhood.
For example, a bungalow is usually considered a one-story house. If the house suddenly has two stories, some prospective buyers might not consider it a bungalow any longer. This is mostly subjective, but it might matter in some areas where buyers are picky about the kind of home they want.
Why Consider Attic Conversions?
Again, many homeowners find that an attic conversion is the easiest and cheapest way to add an extra bedroom or game room to their house. In some cases, it won’t impact the external appearance of the house at all. If it does, the changes won’t be negative. However, energy efficiency, plumbing, stairways, and the way the extra space will get utilized are all major considerations that need to be planned for from the beginning.