Loft Conversions

Can I convert my loft?

We have carried out loft conversions in and around Sheffield for many years. This quick guide should help you decide if a loft conversion is possible for your property. If you are still unsure after reading this page please contact us and we will be happy to call around and offer free advise.

When looking into converting your loft space there are several key factors to consider:-

  • Is there adequate head room.
  • How much ‘full height’ floor area will there be.
  • How will we access the new loft space.
  • Will there be enough light.

If the distance from the existing floor to the roof apex is 2.1m or more then it is more than likely that a loft conversion will be possible.  The next thing  to identify is if your roof is a ‘traditional roof’ or a ‘trussed roof’. A traditional roof is made up of timber rafters usually 4” x 2” timbers with one or more timber purlins at the mid span to support the roof. A trussed roof is made up of smaller section timbers formed in a frame with additional supporting struts usually in a w section. A loft conversion with this type of roof construction is still possible, although there is usually a lot more structural work needed to support the roof once these struts are removed.  There are still different types of roof within both types of structure, there are gabled roofs. This is where both side of the roof run to an apex or there are hipped roofs where one or both sides of the roof slope back into the main roof.

A Hipped Roof Loft Conversion

Gabled roofs usually offer the largest full height floor space and therefore are usually the best value for money loft conversions as there is no alteration to the actual roof line. If you have a hipped roof then a ‘hip to gable’ loft conversion is possible.  This is where the existing roof covering and the hip rafters are removed and then masonry is built on top of the existing walls to create a new gable end. Then new rafters are added in order to follow the existing roof pitch. This is a very popular type of conversion as it provides increased head height / usable floor area and also helps with the position of the stair case into the converted loft space.

Constructing a Dormer Window

Another way to increase full height usable floor area and increase natural light is to form a dormer roof window. This is a structure that protrudes through the main roof plane. Over the years there are many bad, usually flat roof dormers which are built in an un sympathetic way. As a whole this is now a thing of the past.  Where possible a pitched roof should be used as even with modern flat roofing technology they cannot compete with traditional pitched roofs for longevity. Although a pitched roof is not always possible due to the fact that the wider the dormer window, the shallower the pitch must be in order not to be higher than the existing ridge and this is when there is no other option but to use a flat roof.

Velux Windows Being Fitted to a Sheffield Loft Conversion

Once you have gone through the checklist and found a loft conversion is possible you may need to apply for Sheffield planning permission. This is only needed when altering the roof line ie for introducing dormer windows mainly on the front elevation, or changing from a hipped roof to a gabled roof.  In some cases no permission is needed for dormer windows on the rear elevation but its best to check with your local planning department. All loft conversions are subject to building regulations. In simple terms planning permission relates to ‘what the proposed work will look like’ and building regulations is to do with how it will be built.  ie is the correct size steel work being used or is the insulation up to current standards etc.