Velux are the leading manufacturer of roof windows and with over 60 years experience producing windows the name Velux has become synonymous with this type of conversion. This type of conversion is generally very cost effective and does not normally need planning permission.
Velux windows are installed to fit flush with the line of the roof and leave the existing roof structure untouched. As they do not require extensive alterations to the roof this option helps keep the cost of the conversion down. As the loft is not extended beyond the original roof line, planning permission is not normally required (you should still check with your local planning department before proceeding with any works)
A Velux type loft conversion works very well for lofts where there is a good amount of headroom or if there are constraints on planning, for example if you live in a conservation area. If headroom is going to be limited then either a dormer or mansard conversion may be a better option. Velux roof-lights can be fitted quickly and easily meaning there is minimal disruption or delays due to bad weather.
As Velux windows are installed at the angle of the roof rather than vertically like a normal window they can let in a surprising amount of light. While this is great during the day and will give you a light and airy room it can become a problem at night or in the summer. Window blinds are available from various sources tailor made for Velux windows that perfectly fit into the window frame. You can even get blinds that have a thermal silver backing, great for retaining heat in the winter and keeping it out in the summer.
A dormer is an extension to the existing roof, allowing for additional floor space and headroom within the loft conversion. Dormers protrude from the roof slope, normally at the rear of the property and can be built in a variety of styles. Internally, a dormer will have a horizontal ceiling and vertical walls compared to the normal diagonal sides of a conversion. In lofts that have limited space or headroom a dormer will provide additional space that can make a conversion feasible.
Flat roof dorners tend to give the maximum amount of additional internal space although they do not look as attractive from outside the property. Gable fronted and hipped roof dormers look much more atractive but they often do not give as much internal space and will cost more to build due the extra complexity.
There are different types of dormer:
- Gable fronted dormer – image!!
- Hipped roof dormer – image!
- Flat roof dormer – image!
Hip to Gable Conversion:
A hip to gable conversion involves making fairly major changes to the roof. The gable wall is built up to the ridge line and a new section of roof is built to fill in the gap. As a general rule, houses with hip roofs tend to not have enough internal volume for a conversion to be practical so a hip to gable conversion is the best solution.
A new gable wall will be built either in masonary or studwork. There are several options for the finishing of the masonary gable wall, which include brickwork, blockwork with render or tiled. If the gable wall is built from studwork they are normally finished in render or tiled. In most cases under permitted development allowance, the finish of the new gable wall will match the exisiting walls as close as possible. As a hip to gable conversion changes the outline of the roof planning permission may be required. You will need to determine if the conversion falls within your permitted development allowence. Once the roof has been extended the conversion is normally completed with either velux rooflights or a dormer.
A mansard roof has two slopes, the lower slope is close to vertical at 72 degrees and the top section of the roof is almost horizontal. This style of roof is named after a 17th-century French architect Francois Mansart (1598-1666) who used this design of roof on many of his buildings. A mansard roof has the advantage of maximising the available space within your loft.
Mansards are commonly built by raising the party/gable walls either side of your house to make the profile for the mansard and then creating the timber frame. Although common on older properties in large cities, Mansards are not often seen in the suburbs. Flat roof dormer conversions tend to be a more popular choice for the ‘average’ 3 bed semi or terrace house due to the reduced cost and simpler construction. A mansard loft conversion will almost certainly require planning permission.
If you would like more information on any of the above conversions, please contact JMA Lofts Ltd.