4 Things You Need to Know About Converting a Loft in an Old House

June 20, 2015 10:30 am

old house with loft conversion

Converting the loft in an old building comes with its own set of complications and potential issues. Old buildings need more investigation and often more repair to ensure that the fabric of the building is able to take on the additional weight and changes that come with a loft conversion.

Building Materials Wear Out

Like anything else, the brick, wood, and mortar holding your house together get worn out. Sometimes, during initial investigations we uncover rotted means, worn out pointing, or roof tiles that are in need of repair. This often adds to the cost of the loft conversion, but these repairs would need to be made anyway to keep your house in a good state of repair and avoid problems like damp and leaking roofs.

Or Rot Completely

Another concern is rot, which is far more common in older houses. In some instances, joists can be repaired rather than replacing them completely but this still comes at an additional cost.

Straight Lines are Hard to Find

This is no surprise for anybody who’s tried to fit long shelves or make major updates to an old house. The severity depends on how old the house is, but if you live in a beautiful Jacobean home, for example, or even something more recent it can mean that your internal walls are quite irregular.

This means a few things; we may need to install more joists and timber to ensure that your home can handle the structural changes. It may mean that we recommend using reclaimed windows and tiles when dealing with external changes so that the crisp, straight modern lines don’t look strange compared to the rest of your home. However, it often also means that the loft conversion room feels a little different to the rest of the house. There are plenty of ways to make the loft conversion blend in with the rest of the house, such as different plastering or using more reclaimed items to add character to the rooms.

It May Be Harder to Get Permission

If you have a listed building or you live in a conservation area, it can mean that you need to put more work into getting planning permission or need to make more concessions when building your loft conversion. You may also be restricted to certain loft conversion types and materials to ensure that the look is still in keeping with the rest of the house and area in general.


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