There are four basic ways in which you can convert your existing loft into a beautiful and useful space. The nature of your loft conversion will depend on factors such as the type and age of your property, the existing roof layout, local authority development plans, as well as your own personal preference. If you are unsure of the type of loft conversion that can be carried out in your home, contact us to arrange a free visit from a member of our design team and they will give you advice based on your borough, your personal requirements, and the type of property.
A dormer is a timber structural extension, often hung in tile or slate, which projects vertically from the plane of a sloping roof. It usually protrudes from the rear roof slope of a house. Dormer loft conversions are a popular option for London homeowners in need of a lot of additional space because they provide a large floor area, and a good head-height is achievable in the majority of the new space.
With dormer loft conversions, most of the construction work is conducted externally using scaffolding at the front and rear of the house, which minimises disruption to the rest of the property. In most cases, homeowners can stay put whilst building work takes place. Generally faster and more economical to build than other types of loft conversions, dormers make an appealing option for homeowners with a tight deadline, such as the arrival of a baby. Provided that you do not have any existing extensions and you meet your borough's criteria, planning permission is generally not required.
A mansard is constructed by raising the party walls (the walls shared with neighbouring properties) on either side of your house, and then creating a timber frame between the two new wall extensions. The rear face of a mansard has a shallow slope backwards, which gives a finished head-height that is slightly less than in an equivalent sized dormer.
Mansard style loft conversions offer many of the same advantages as dormers, although mansard loft conversions are regarded by some as being more aesthetically pleasing, especially on older properties. The existing roof shape and structure of mansard loft conversion properties must be changed, which almost always require planning consent.
A Velux loft conversion takes its name from the well-known brand of roof windows that form an integral part of all modern loft conversions. This style of conversion leaves the existing roof structure largely untouched, but involves the installation of new Velux windows in the roof, alongside the conversion of the loft void into a fully habitable area.
Velux conversions are most suited to properties with existing high head-height and those with restrictions on possible alterations to the rear roof slope, for instance in a conservation area. As there is little or no change to the roof structure, this style of loft conversion (depending in the type of building) generally doesn't require planning permission, unless the property is in a conservation area.
Hip-to-gable loft conversions are suitable for homes that are detached or semi-detached and have existing hip-end roof structures, meaning that the sides of the roof slope inwards towards the top, or ridge of the roof. Hip-to-gable loft conversions, extend on the sloping sides outwards, effectively replacing the sloping roof with a vertical wall (gable) that is the same height as the ridge, filling the space in between. If your home has two sloping sides you can even opt for a double hip-to-gable loft conversion to add even more space.
This style of loft conversion is usually combined with either a dormer, mansard or Velux loft conversion to create a usable additional floor to your home. Hip-to-gable loft conversions are an attractive option for homeowners because they generally fall under permitted development, and don't require planning permission.
Landmark Lofts is part of the Landmark Group - the only group in London specialising in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments to include a Chartered Building Company (CIOB), Chartered Architectural Practice (RIBA) and to be regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Landmark Group specialises in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments.