The Low-Down on Dormer Loft Conversions

A typical dormer loft conversion at the front of the house.

Imagine you wake up in the morning, natural light cascading through your floor to ceiling windows. You swing your legs out of bed and feel the plush, warm carpet beneath your feet. Beyond the glass, the day is easing into life as you watch from your position on top of the World – or rather, from your brand new dormer loft conversion.

 

It’s easy to succumb to flights of fantasy when you’ve added such a beautiful new space to your home…

 

Many homeowners are now choosing to extend their properties upwards instead of outwards, to make maximum use of the space already available to them and as a cost effective alternative to traditional house extensions.

 

Your attic could be an untapped source of usable space, providing a peaceful additional room for you to escape to.  If you’re considering a loft conversion, a dormer might be the answer you’re looking for.

 

Dormer Loft Conversions Explained

 

You’ve likely seen dormer loft conversions protruding from houses somewhere near you. If you’ve not been inside, however, you could be forgiven for underestimating how much of a difference they can make. Light, spacious and airy, the results can be dramatic.

 

Unlike a simple Velux loft conversion, by extending vertically from your existing roof, dormers add usable floor space, ample head room and vertical walls to your once cramped attic.  As such, they are an ideal option for anyone looking to maximise the value and square footage of their home.

 

What would you do with all that extra space? The addition of vertical walls means that much of the awkwardness typically associated with loft conversions is alleviated, opening up the possibilities. Whilst the most obvious use for a dormer is as an extra bedroom, the elevated position can make them an attractive option for a second sitting room or study.

 

Are Dormer Loft Conversions Expensive?

 

Dormer loft conversions come in all shapes and sizes. Similar to a Velux loft conversion, the example here depicts a roof with a set of dormer windows

 

You may be thinking that achieving such dramatic results comes with a hefty price tag. It’s true that making structural alterations to your home is never cheap, but extending in this way usually works out cheaper per square meter than a traditional house extension.  Also, as much of the work is contained within the loft area, the disruption is also minimised in comparison.

 

There’s more.  Not only is it potentially cheaper and less disruptive, but whereas traditional house extensions can place an extra load on your boiler, often necessitating an upgrade, converting your loft can improve the energy efficiency of your home by adding extra insulation.

 

If you add in the panoramic views and the fact that you don’t have to encroach into your garden or driveway to increase your living space, you can start to understand why dormer conversions are so popular.

 

Lots of Positives.  Any Downsides?

 

There are those who criticise dormer loft conversions, believing them to ruin the aesthetic of a house.  Although, most homeowners choose to build their dormers into the rear of their properties.

 

For those instances where it’s preferable to build at the front, there are many options that can help maintain curb appeal.  For example, for those sensitive to the aesthetic value of their property, instead of the default flat roofs, which adorn most dormers, it’s possible to install a traditional hipped roof.

 

If you’re interested in adding a penthouse to your pad, the first step is to check with your local authority to see if you’ll need planning permission. Then, you’ll need an architect to design your dormer and a structural engineer to assess the feasibility and particulars of the build.

 

Fortunately, at HLN Engineering Ltd, we’re both under one roof. With over fifty years of experience, our team of award wining architects and chartered structural engineers are on hand to advise you through every stage of the process. Feel free to give us a call to discuss your needs.

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