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What are the steps when converting a loft?

When you’re committed to converting your loft, it’s a good idea to start thinking about a timeline for the major building works. To help, we’ve put together this point-by-point guide to the steps taken the transform a disused loft space into a functional room, complete with ensuite bathroom.

  • Inspection for Suitability

The roof needs to be high enough to stand up comfortably (no less than 2.2 metres), and requires a steep enough pitch to achieve this. Access must be considered as well as any other obstacles to overcome. Water tanks, purlins and chimneys are common problems, and a thorough inspection will confirm the loft’s suitability in this regard.

  • Suitability Confirmation and Planning

A reputable architect or surveyor can confirm the loft’s suitability. Their planning will also take into account the building’s ability to withstand the additional load, and will provide a basic cost analysis, including pointers on potential DIY tasks.

  • Clearing and Prepping

Once you have building control approval, the loft can be cleared of any obstacles noted in point 1.

  • Assessment of Rewiring

The electricals and other services that are supported by joists must be rerouted. This is a good time to replace old wiring and pipework that may be old or damaged.>

  • Fitting Floor Joists

New floor joists are fitted and their dimensions depend on the spans. Where there are dormers, windows or a door on the floor below, the timber is doubled up to strengthen these areas. New wiring and pipework can be fitted along with the joists.

  • Insulating the Floors

Spaces between the joists are filled with insulation to comply with building regulations and must be subjected to a building control inspection.

  • Laying Floorboards

Following the building control inspection, floorboards can be laid and secured across the joists. Water-resistant boards are used in bathrooms.

  • Reinforcing Rafters

The necessary reinforcement to rafters can be applied so that struts and purlins are safe to be removed. This will make the loft more spacious.

  • Installing Dormers (dormer conversions)

Dry weather is essential for opening up the roof to install the dormers. A building control inspector will ensure that reinforcements surrounding the dormer are adequate and meet regulations.

  • Installing Rooflights (rooflight conversion)

Surrounding timbers must be reinforced to install rooflights but they are much easier and less time-consuming than dormers.

  • Fitting a Staircase

The best time to fit the staircase varies from build to build. Usually, it is fitted at the earliest possible time to improve access to the loft and therefore speed up the conversion.

  • Tiling Dormers and Fitting Vents

The dormers need to be weatherproofed. Tile cladding on the dormer sides is typical with either a tiled or felted roof. Ridge and soffit vents are also fitted at this stage.

  • Fitting Dormer Windows

Now that the apertures can be accurately measured, the windows can be fitted in the dormers. The type of window depends on the style of your property. But a window that opens wide enough to be an effective emergency fire escape must be fitted in at least one aperture.

  • Insulating the Roof

The gaps between rafters must be insulated to comply with building regulations and this work is again inspected before the rafter can be covered with plasterboard.

  • Erecting Partition Walls

Partition walls are erected with timber studs, further insulation and any necessary wiring and other services are fitted.

  • First Fix and Wall Plates Fitted

First fix electrics and plumbing can be installed alongside wall plates that are fitted to so that essentials such as radiators are securely fixed to the walls.

  • Upgrading Electrics

If the existing unit does not allow for extra capacity, a new consumer unit needs to be installed to conform to Part ‘P’ of the building regulations and 17th edition of the electrical regulations (the edition amended in 2015 is the latest edition).

  • Fitting Access Panels

Access panels are useful for getting to water and electrics services, and also for creating eaves storage.

  • Plasterboarding

Plasterboard is screwed into the rafters and studs to provide a surface for the decorative plaster skim. The walls can then be painted and skirting and door architraves fitted.

  • Cladding Bathrooms and Extraction Fans

A water-resistant board is used to clad any shower rooms that are part of the conversion. An extractor fan is also fitted to improve moisture management.

  • Heating, Finishes and Second Fix

Carpets, bathroom fittings, and radiators are fitted in place and are connected to the central heating. Second fix electrics can also be carried out at a logical time.  Next comes the final and most exciting step.

  • Decorating

The last step is to furnish the loft to your taste and enjoy your brand new living space!

NK Lofts are proud to provide the best loft, garage and dormer conversion services in Coventry, Northampton and Peterborough. We take every step to ensure your bespoke loft room is tailored to your needs and meets building regulations, so you can enjoy a safe, warm and energy efficient loft environment. Our experienced team are ready to answer any questions you may have about conversions and even offer free surveys and quotes. Add value to your home today by calling the friendly team at NK Lofts.

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