A loft or attic conversion is one of the most economical ways of increasing space. It can offer nearly as much space as a full Melbourne home extension at a much lower cost and with less work needed overall. There are however, several important rules that you need to know to convert your attic successfully. Check out our guide to get ready for a makeover
1. Attic Conversion Costs
Preparing your wallet for a big home improvement is always the first step. With an attic conversion, the greatest variation comes from the intended purpose of your space. If you only need to organise your attic for storage, you can expect a price well below $20,000 – and that’s if you go all out and add stairs, dust-proof and so on. Depending on how many changes you actually need to make to your structure, a storage attic can even come up to less than 10,000.
Organising a liveable space is, of course, much more complex and expensive. There are plenty of caveats that can affect the price, although it is still much more affordable than moving or even extending. The general price ballpark for attic living space is between $60,000 to $150,000.
2. Living Space
To choose the right plan for your new attic conversion and to figure out all the necessary expenses you need to determine how exactly you’re planning to use your new space. Aside from storage attic conversions that we’ve already mentioned, the most popular choices for attic conversions are bedrooms, master suites and home offices. While you can technically convert your attic to any room you want, there are other considerations like accessibility and noise reduction that usually limit your options. For example, setting up a living room upstairs would likely leave it underused, while placing kids’ playroom or a home gym in the attic would require additional sound proofing to avoid hearing footfalls in your ceilings.
Any living space right under the roof would need to have great insulation and climate control, as well as new windows or rooflights to let in some daylight. Building a bathroom adds even more complications as now you need to worry about plumbing and water resistance. On the other hand, having a bathroom with a separate entrance upstairs can be a fantastic investment for a big household or a multigenerational family. If you have enough space to add a small kitchenette, you can get a self-sustained flat – perfect for your grown up children or to rent out during the summer.
3. Types of Attic Conversions
Depending on how ambitious you get with your attic conversion, you may want to completely revamp your roof for extra space or better lighting. Here are the most common types of attic conversions for your home.
Rooflight or Velux conversions are the easiest ones to create as they don’t require changing the roof’s structure. As the name suggests, you add rooflights or Velux windows into the roof to let in more natural light and supporting walls to reinforce the structure. This is the quickest and most cost-effective conversion method, though its main disadvantage is that it leaves a lot of the potential space unused making your attic a lot smaller than it could be.
Dormers are box-like constructions installed by opening the roof on one side. They add a lot more space and maximise ceiling height by cutting through the roof slope. They are, however, a lot more expensive and time-consuming as well as they require re-working the roof and adjusting the structure.
Mansard roof adds even more space to your attic, lifting the ceiling to practically the same height as the floor below and dramatically reducing the roof slope for almost vertical walls inside. While replacing your roof with a higher mansard structure can be quite complex and require a lot of resources, this type of conversion can add as much space to your home as a full second storey extension.
4. Attic Conversion Design
However many hours you put into planning and structural reinforcement, design can still make or break your attic conversion. Good attic design makes the most use of the awkward spaces where the ceiling is very low or the walls are tilted. Consider ordering custom furniture to fit into strange corners of your attic.
Since most attic conversions are pretty small and can feel cramped, your design would need to emphasise uninterrupted nightlines and make your room appear bigger. Check out our tips for adding space for more!