What is a roof lift loft conversion and how much does it cost?
A roof lift loft conversion is the simple answer to those who want to convert their roof space into accommodation but don’t currently have the headroom. The roof on the property is removed and replaced with a taller one to increase the head height in the roof void thereby allowing the loft space to be converted into usable accommodation.
It is hard to generalise on cost as so much depends on the size of the house and therefore the roof and also, what plans there are for the interior of the roof space once the new roof is in place. Change your original plan for a bedroom to a large kitchen or en-suite and you can easily add between £10,000 and £20,000 to your final bill.
The best way to figure out the cost is to look at the pricing for a whole new roof including trusses, probably somewhere between £10,000 and £20,000, the final figure dependent on your choice of roof materials and size of the house. Add to this the average cost of a loft conversion which is between £10,000 and £40,000 again depending on the interior fittings and the type of loft conversion you have, for instance, including dormer windows will increase the cost as will a mansard loft conversion. This should give you a working average for how much a roof lift loft conversion will cost. However, a new taller roof with an interior converted to accommodation will hugely increase the value of your property.
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How does a roof lift work?
A roof lift raises the ridgeline of the existing roof by constructing a whole new roof thereby providing the correct height and pitch to allow the interior roof void to be converted into accommodation. The gables of the property will also need to be increased in height and these are either built in brick to match the rest of the building or can be constructed from stud work and then tile or slate-hung to match the roof. Here is the order that a roof lift loft conversion project will follow:-
- Scaffolding is erected and the old roof stripped of its roofing materials back to the main structure so tiles/slates, roofing felt, guttering, soffits and fascias. The roof then receives a temporary cover to protect it
- Plumbing and any electrics within the current space are re-routed or modified
- The old roof is then removed and the new roof either put into place by a crane as one complete unit or manually installed so one roof truss at a time
- The roof is then slatted and felted and prepared for its roofing material so tiles or slates
- Any dormer windows or Velux windows are installed before the roof is re-tiled or slated
- There will be finishing work to do to the exterior such as fitting or re-fitting rainwater goods and adding lead flashings to chimney stacks and any roof lights or Velux windows
- Usually, at the same time as the exterior work, other people will be working on the interior of the loft space. It’s usually plumbing and electrics first followed by plasteringThe staircase is fitted to gain access to the loft from the top storey of the house
- The loft is fitted out according to the house owner’s preference
- Decoration and interior styling is the last job
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do roof lifts only work for certain types of property?
A roof lift can theoretically be used on any type of property but the most common houses are bungalows (read more about bungalow loft conversion prices here) which have a lot of roof space but generally lack standing room and detached houses. If you have a house in a terraced row then it is unlikely you will be granted planning permission to take your roof to a height above those properties which your house adjoins.
Do you need planning permission for a roof lift loft conversion?
Yes, you will need planning permission. Changing the height and pitch of the roof does not fall within permitted development rights and will require planning permission. However, most straightforward loft conversions which do not give rise to structural changes can be completed without the need to apply for planning permission.
Are there any structural concerns to a roof lift loft conversion?
The original foundations of the building must be able to support the weight of the new roof and the rooms it accommodates. This could impact on your choice of roofing materials and how you fit out your new loft conversion. It is possible to improve the support of the foundations particularly with older properties but this additional work will significantly increase the final bill.
Will a roof lift loft conversion add value to the property?
It certainly will add value, up to 25% so it could represent a good return on your investment.
How long does it take to complete a roof lift loft conversion?
A workable period would be between one and three months depending on the size of the house and the final choice of fittings for the interior of the new loft.
Do I have to use the existing roofing material on my new roof or can I opt for a new look?
Theoretically, you can re-roof the house in any material you like but you will have to abide by the terms of the planning consent; your planning application and drawings will have specified a roofing material and you will not be able to change it without varying the planning permission. If your house is listed or within a conservation area then you will probably have to reinstate the roof covering that was there before.
Are there any other options instead of a roof lift loft conversion for a house with low roof space?
You could consider a dormer loft conversion or a mansard loft conversion which can get around the problem of low head height in the roof space. A survey from an architect or specialist company will be able to advise you on the best choices for your house and what is structurally possible in terms of construction, design and also planning consent.
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