Is an attic conversion a good idea?

Due to the reluctance of many householders in Ireland to become embroiled in the disastrous property market in recent years, the number of attic conversions have literally gone through the roof.

It certainly makes sense since an attic conversion or an extension is the easiest – and least expensive – way of gaining an extra room for your family. But when it comes to attic conversions (also known as loft extensions) what exactly is involved?

Types of loft conversion

There are four recognised types of loft conversion. These are Dormer, Mansard, Hip to Gable and Velux. The Dormer has a flat roof and is the most common, the Mansard is a large extension and tends to go to the rear of the property, the Hip to Gable is for properties with slanted roofs and the Velux could reasonably be described as a ‘window.’

attic bedroom

 State of your existing property

Whether practically you can go ahead with a loft extension depends on the type of property you currently have. For instance, it has to be strong enough to the support work and that means having good load bearing walls or replacement steel beams in the fabric of the building.

Your attic ceiling should also be tall enough to support a typical adult – otherwise you’ll be looking at lowering existing ceilings which can be time-consuming and prove rather expensive. Current planning laws state a distance of around 2.7m from the floor to the roof’s highest point.

 Time and cost

It should take up to two months for a building firm to complete a typical extension. But it’s worth remembering too that certain types of extension – such as the Mansard and Hip to Gable – need planning permission and which in itself can take several months.

Cost-wise it depends on the type of extension you’re looking for and exactly how much you’re willing to fork out in the first place. For instance, expect to pay around €35,000 for a Mansard and up to €20,000 for two Velux windows.

sitting room attic

 Planning the design of your loft extension 

  • It’s a good idea to have bespoke units built as space will already be at a premium.
  • If the extension is for a bedroom then it makes sense to have an en-suite built at the same time.
  • Solar panels work well in a loft extension. Not only will they save on utility costs but they’ll also bring in some much-needed light.
  • Soundproofing is important otherwise the rest of the household will be driven mad by heavy footprints overheads. Mineral wood is good, so too is chipboard with cement embedded in it.
  • Paint the ceiling the same colour as the walls otherwise it may just start to feel a little confined in there.
  • You’ve gone as far as getting a loft extension build so, if there’s a flat roof below, why not go the whole hog and have some decking too?

For more attic conversion ideas, as well as materials, take a look at our site today.