Undersized living space is a major reason families move out of their first home earlier than they had planned. It may be because of a growing family, new appliances, or simply because the layout plans you had didn’t work out on your last renovation.
Regardless, while extending a loft has its benefits, there are still some factors to consider before pulling the trigger, says Mark Myers, who runs a home extension company Transforming Conservatories. Mark makes it clear; a loft conversion is not for everyone. If your budget is tight, a conservatory maybe a better option to increase your living space.
Here are five critical factors to think about before starting a loft extension.
1) What space will you be giving up?
Loft extensions are be done by internally extending the loft space or by building an external addition to the home to create more loft space. The internal extension is the most common and much more affordable. However, sometimes it is not a possibility.
You must look at the home and figure out what type of layout will work when extending the loft. If a wall is in the way of a more open layout, you may want to tear it down. If it’s a load-bearing wall, you will have to reinforce it. Throwing in beams removes the convenience and freedom of the loft area layout. You must weigh this before you start knocking down walls.
2) Will any rewiring or plumbing changes be necessary?
The great thing about extending your loft is that it allows you to relocate certain appliances, cupboards, fixtures, and other loft accessories and furnishings. This is a good thing to consider when planning your loft upgrade, but it can be costly.
Rewiring in the same room isn’t hard to do. Modifying the plumbing can make for a lot of expense. The cost can become even more extravagant if it’s done in an external addition. If a natural gas line needs to be installed, this will be another hefty expense to weigh out.
3) Will you be changing out the cupboards?
The cupboards that are currently installed may not work once you add some floor space to the loft. You may already be planning to upgrade the cupboards, anyway. The larger amount of space will make it a bit costlier to do, so don’t get in over your head by not pricing the job before you begin.
The cupboards you have may be enough. If so, you could install an island, tall, wardrobe-like cupboards, build a walk-in pantry, and much more. The opportunities are endless, but you must be creative. There are numerous house remodelling forums that feature before/after pics and case studies. These can help you better understand what to expect from your loft extension job. Better yet, it will give you insight on how to best capitalise on smaller amounts of space; you may not actually need to grow out your loft.
4) Will any changes to lighting be necessary?
Whether changes to the lighting in the new loft are necessary will depend on the placement of the current lights and the layout of the planned loft. For example, extending a loft and taking out the dining room space, where a chandelier floats overhead, will leave a poor lighting setup. Since the chandelier was already there, the wiring is in place, and you just must switch the light fixture. Many conversions result in extra light and in these cases, many people install automated window shutters to regulate lighting conditions
5) What effect does this have on resale value?
While you may not plan to move right away, every homeowner should consider the equity value of a loft remodel. While a loft extension can be a minor job, it may also be a part of a more substantial remodel. Estimate the cost of the repairs and double it; that’s what your budget should be. Your goal is to increase the resale value of as close to that expense total as possible. Remember, you get to live in the home with the upgraded loft for a while, so it’s not just the slight price appreciation that makes the renovation worth it.