Questions and Answers

Dormer & Velux Loft Conversions
        Dormer & Velux® Loft Conversions

You will find some questions and answers regarding loft conversions, if you like to ask any questions regarding a loft conversion please fill in the contact form below, and we will aim to respond to your question within a couple of days, or alternatively you can give us a call on: 0800 161 3815. Rafter Loft Conversions offers a free convenient no-obligation loft conversion appraisal, at this time we will take dimensions of your home and include a scaled loft conversion plan drawing so you will know exactly on what you can achieve from your attic/loft area, the price quoted is a fixed price so you have not got to worry about any unexpected expense. (Click pics to enlarge) 

Landkey Close, Manchester, M23 0FW. Are Mansard Loft Conversions Popular in Manchester?

No, absolutely NOT, Mansard loft conversions are not popular in Manchester and never have been, whilst some loft companys in Manchester state “Mansard conversions throughout Manchester,  and you have probably seen many Mansard loft conversions and not realized what they are” We haven’t and are still looking? If you are considering a Mansard! we would advise you to ask to view one. With being involved in loft conversions in Manchester and throughout the North West for over two decades we have never been asked to build a Mansard loft conversion, or have seen one come to think of it.

Mansard conversions were popular in London in the early 90’s,  however, in recent years’ planners in London haveMansard dormer on a front elevation in Manchester refused permission for front Mansards, this is to avoid the gap-toothed terrace roof lines. Now, space-starved residents in London are coming together to seek joint planning permission so they do not look out of character (as below) Mansard dormers were/are set back and the face of a Mansard dormer was built on an angle of 72° rather than a standard dormer conversion built at 90° the reason why Mansards were or are built being sloped is that there visually softer and not as intrusive on the street scene than the standard square dormer.


After the great fire of London in 1666 all house had to be built in brick or stone and no wooden eves were allowed, roofs were pushed back behind brick parapets, party (dividing) walls had to be built and thick enough to withstand a minimum fire resistance of two hours, with having two hours of resistance to fire this would give adjoining neighbours the chance to escape and for the authority’sBlock of houses with converted Mansard dormers time to extinguish a fire before it could spread, from this time no properties were allowed a Thatched roof, roofs were to be only made from tile or brick (fire resistant)

As you can see from the pic, terraced house parapet walls in London, if not already, have to be built up either side to divide the Mansard conversion from fire spreading to the adjoining property.

Naseby Road, Reddish, SK5 6EH. Can I put a bath in my loft conversion?

Sure, the fitting a bath or a shower in your loft conversion will make a more practical and will add more value to your home, you have to take into account the finished headroom of the loft conversion mainly for the shower screen (rear dormer popular for this reason) introducing a bath with mixer taps is a great asset.

St Helens Road, Bolton, BL5 1AA. The last previous owners put a floor in the loft, will it be OK for the loft conversion without taking it out?Bathroom installed in a loft conversion Salford, Manchester

The presence of existing flooring does not ensure that you have a joist system that is substantial enough to support a floor and to have passed with building control, you would have to expose the floor joists, take the dimensions of the beams and the span there are spanning, send dimensions to a structural engineer to calculate the integrity of the joists.

Norris Road, Sale, Manchester, M33 2RF. How much weight can I put in my attic?

The joists/chords are what support the weight, an uninhabitable attic will not have been designed for heavy storage, for storage only it should be able to handle around 10 pounds per square foot live load.

Fielders Close, Wigan, Greater Manchester WN3 5AX. Can I convert my loft without building regulations?Rear Dormer with a Bank of three Velux roof windows in this Hip to Gable loft conversion

You can, but what is the point, if you are going to the trouble to convert the attic area, the most important issue is it structurally integrity and safety, if it does not have a building regulations completion certificate, selling your home with an unauthorised loft conversion will prove a serious issue for someone buying your home at a later date, you even may be required have to put it back to the original state prior to creating a room, so for the difference to do it right the first time, out ways trying to do it cheaply.

Emery Avenue, Manchester, M21 7LF. Can I build a dormer myself?

You can, as long as it is built according to building regulations, the bad news is, it’s defiantly not a DIYer job when Rafter Loft Conversions are contracted to build a dormer (rear, hip to gable or a wrap-around) we guarantee that it is not only built in one day but also watertight if it is considerably a large dormer a couple of teams would be allocated to have the structure built and sealed in a day.

Alban St, Salford, Manchester, M7 1NQ. How much weight can you hang from a roof truss?Velux Loft Conversion with Velux roof windows, giving ample naturl light into the new master bedroom.

The bottom chord dead load of a truss varies with the weight of materials attached such as plasterboard on the ceiling, a typical load is 5 to 10 pounds per square foot.

Truss rafters are designed to carry two types of loads which are live loads and dead loads, a live load is a temporary load that creates stress throughout the structure, whilst the dead load is the wind, etc, a dead load is carried constantly by the truss and includes the weight of the structure, i.e. roofing materials, interior materials such as drywall and insulation.

Grange Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 9WX. Where are Velux windows made?

Velux head office in the UK was incorporated in 1954 and is based in Glenrothes, Scotland, the company originated in Denmark on the 1st of April 1941 and employ over 10,000 employees worldwide in over 35 countries. The slogan for Velux windows is “BRINGING LIGHT TO LIFE”

Newstead Terrace, Timperley, Altrincham, WA15 6JS. What roof cover do you use on a flat roof?Oak flooring throughout this loft conversion in Chorlton, Manchester

For some years now we have used Firestone RubberCover™ (EPDM) Ethylene Polypropylene Diene Monomer as it is one of the most versatile roofing options on the market and considered to be one of the best materials for flat roofs, even though it is only 1.14mm in thickness it consists of two layers of rubber compressed together at heat to give an ultimate watertight blanket. Since the production, RubberCover™ Firestone has produced and installed over 1,000,000,00 m(Billion) around the world and has been installed from freezing temperatures in Alaska to the desert sun in the Arabian Gulf, and it also has a life expectancy of over 50 years. Rafter Loft Conversions are approved contractors for the installation of Firestone RubberCover™

Marquess Way, Middleton, Manchester, M24 4JR. How do macerators work and which are best?

A macerator has a rotating blade that shreds and grinds solids, i.e. human waste and toilet paper, when mixed with flushing water, the solids changes to a fine slurry which moves easily through a narrow pipe which can travel vertical and horizontal to dispose of the waste, Rafter Loft Conversions will only use macerators as the last resort if unable to connect waste the conventional way. The most popular macerator on the market is Saniflow.

South Royd Street, Tottington, Bury, BL8 3LZ.  Do Velux windows need planning permission?In this Dormer loft conversion in Stockport the client also created a private bathroom

When it comes to inserting roof lights or skylights into your home, be it Velux, Keylite or Fakro generally there is not a requirement to apply for planning permission, this is as long as any windows installed must not protrude any more than 150mm above the existing roof plane. (slope)

Knutsford Road, Latchford, Warrington, WA4 1DU. Can the existing attic joists support the floor for a loft conversion?

It’s certainty unlikely that the existing ceiling joists will be adequate to support a floor for a loft conversion.

Parkway, Stockport, SK3 0PX. Does a dormer add value?Velux loft conversion with gable end windows

When it comes to adding value to your property, a loft conversion is often the best way to add value to your home, research carried out by Nationwide carried out a survey regarding loft conversions and by adding a bedroom with a loft conversion can add over 20% to a property’s value, investing in a dormer loft conversions you are increasing the actual living space of your home by around a quarter, sometimes more, with having this extra space it makes your property far more appealing to future potential homebuyers.

Beech Road, Chorlton, M21 8BX. What size floor joists do I need for a loft conversion?

A good rule of thumb for a floor is half the span, i.e. 2.4m coverts to 8 foot, half of 8 is four + 1 are likely what you require. You must get a structural engineer report to calculate all beams.

Crawford Ave, Worsley, M28 2RE. What height do you need for a loft conversion?

Please see the diagram for the height requirement in a traditional loft and a truss rafter loft.Height requirements for a loft conversions in Manchester

Bridgewater Whalf, Droylsden, M43 7ZA.  How much does a loft conversion cost in 2020?Finished and painted staircase in Stretford, Manchester

Converting your loft into a habitable room is the cheapest way to boost the square footage of your home. The main two loft conversions Velux & rear dormer can vary considerably, Velux loft conversions start at £18,000 and rear dormer conversions start at £27,000, this question is like asking how long is a piece of string as so many factors need to be taken into consideration, i.e. if you would like an additional bathroom.

Denonshire Road, Eccles, M30 0WX. Which are the best skylights for a loft conversion?

Although there are several brands on the market to choose, Velux® remains our favorite and is no doubt the world’s leading manufacturer of roof windows. Velux offers many sizes in roof windows from 470mm x 980mm to a 3 in 1 window 1837mm x 1178mm.

Manchester Road, Walkden, M28 3NS. Can I build a dormer without planning permission?

If you live in a terraced house your loft conversion must be less than 40 cubic metres, for semi-detached or detached properties no more than 50 cubic metres. Your loft conversion cannot be higher than the highest part of the existing roof profile. The vertical face of the dormer must be at least 20cm from the eaves of the existing roof (internal wall plate) The materials used in your roof extension should match, as much as possible. UPVC will not be acceptable, other than possibly for windows. Loft conversions should beDormer loft conversion creating a new master bedroom with stunning bathroom. finished in hanging tiles, render or brickwork to match your house and not UPVC, other than windows. If a window is going to be in the check of the dormer, windows within 10.5m of a boundary to the side elevation of a roof slope will need to be obscure-glazed to protect the privacy of your neighbours. A Juliet balcony can be installed but with no platform, any other form of a balcony, roof terrace or veranda requires planning permission. Roof extensions are not permitted in conservation areas, national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty or a World Heritage Sites, therefore planning permission must be applied for. If your home is a listed building you should consult with your local planning authority to apply for approval.

Ramsey Street, Manchester, M40 5HW. Can we have any references before we commit to having a loft conversion?

Yes, gladly, we have a dormer loft conversion booked in to start in Mid Sept/20 a few doors away from you, I’m sure you will be able to have a look at the time at the work and to have a reference from one of your neighbours.

Hardcastle Road, Stockport, SK3 9DB. Can we have input on the design and layout of our loft conversion?Loft Conversion Plans Manchester

Yes, absolutely, Rafter Loft Conversions will listen to your specific requirements and work with you to gain the best possible design of your loft conversion, when we make an appointment we will take dimensions of your home and listen to your requirements, we will enclose a scaled bespoke loft conversion drawing in your quote if there is anything you would like to amend (takes a couple of mins) we will resend it over for you to agree on the design before a deposit is required.

Bishop Road, Salford, M6 8PX. Do I need an emergency exit roof window for fire regulations?

Fire escape windows from the loft room are no longer a requirement for loft conversions when two storey properties are transformed into a three storey, provisions for a fire escape are required throughout the full extent of the escape route, including interlinked mains powered with battery back-up smoke alarms in all habitable rooms and each landing, alternatively, a sprinkler system may be introduced, however, a sprinkler system can be quite costly. Different regulations apply to bungalows, bungalows can have a fire escape window and will still conform to Building Regulations.

Avondale Road, Whitefield, Manchester, M45 7JR. We have been told that we will have to apply for planning permission to have a dormer window at the front of our house, but not if it is built at the back of the house, is this correct?

Yes, the rear dormer would be built under your permitted development rights (limits apply) as a new regulation came into force on 30th September 2013 which work can be undertaken without having to apply for planning permission, therefore the statement is correct if your property is facing a highway (public right of way, road or public footpath) you would be required to apply to the local planning authority (this may be refused if no other property in the vicinity has similar) yet, under permitted development rights a mistake in the drafting of the legislation was made and specifies limits for side and rear extensions, the intention was to rule out front extensions altogether, however, the wording in the legislation rules out front extensions where the front elevation fronts a public highway, the government did not take into account the scenario when the front of a property does not front a highway, as in the diagram.Permitted development in Manchester

Beech Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 9FD. What is the difference between a party wall and a boundary wall?

A party wall is a wall that stands dividing the boundary of land belonging to two or more different owners, if you are an owner of a terraced or semi-detached house contemplating a loft conversion which involves work to the party wall you have certain responsibilities, i.e. notify the neighbour on your intentions, this can be a simple letter sent or handed to the adjoining neighbours, it should state, the date the notice is served, the date work will commence, all parties names and address and a description of works. A boundary wall is a wall constructed on land generally, the wall to separate two parcels of land, a boundary wall will normally run through the centre line of the said wall.

Fairhope Ave, Salford, M6 8AD. Can we decide on the size of the windows?Rear dormer loft conversion in Manchester

Yes, although It is recommended to have a minimum glazed area equivalent to 20% of the floor area, the formula: floor space ÷ 5 = glazing area required.

Kingsway, Bredbury, SK6 2NS.  Can you sleep in a loft room?

You can sleep in a loft room once it has been passed by building control, a converted attic space can not be called a bedroom merely because it offers enough space to fit a bed, a loft conversion requires to be designed and built in accordance with current building regulations in order to be classed as a habitable room.

Condor Grove, Blackpool, FY1 5QY.  Do I need planning permission for Velux windows?Huge dormer loft conversion with Velux windows

Rooflight windows do not require planning permission, unless in certain circumstances, for example: Conservation Area – Area of outstanding beauty – An area specified by the state for the purpose of enhancement, National Park – A World heritage site.

Thirlmere Drive, Morecambe, LA4 4NP.  Do you do finance for a loft conversion?

Rafter Loft Conversions do not offer any finance packages or give financial advice, however, If there are no issues with your financial status, building societies and banks acknowledge a loft conversion as an excellent investment, we would be surprised if you had any problems.

Laburnham Ave, Tottington, BL8 3NQ.  Rafter Loft Conversions built a loft conversion near where we live a couple of years ago, have the prices gone up much since?Dormer loft conversion Manchester with private bathroom

Prices will have gone up from a few years ago, but not dramatically, prices will have risen with the rate of inflation. Each loft conversion is priced on numerous factors and depending on the size and scale. If you would like to call 0800 161 3815 we can discuss numerous options.

Halstead Street, Bolton, BL2 1AH.  Once we get a quote is there anything we need to budget for?

Rafter Loft Conversions offer a fixed price promise, you will NOT have any unexpected charges. What is not included in our quotes are: The Building Inspectors Fee £600,00. If planning permission is required, the planning fee £206,00, or an additional £103,00. if you would like to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness. A Certificate of Lawfulness for a loft conversion is issued by your local planning authority, in short, it confirms that the existing development and proposed development is lawful for planning purposes.

Malvern Ave, Atherton, M46 9LP.  We do not get on with our neighbours, can they stop us from getting a loft conversion?Steel for loft conversion floor

Neighbours cannot stop you from having a loft conversion, but they are certainly in their rights to instruct & appoint a Party Wall Surveyor to look after their interests if they do choose this route YOU will be liable for their chosen Surveyor, and YOU will have to appoint a Surveyor to have reports on your side of the Party wall. (Rafter Loft Conversions have carried out hundreds of loft conversions throughout the North West and only once a client had to deal with a Surveyor, it is only required if your neighbours are hostile)

Main Road, Galgate, LA2 0LA.  Can a wooden floor be fitted in a loft conversion or will it be too noisy?

If you are meaning a laminated or solid oak flooring, of course, there is not only thermal insulation but also acoustic insulation in between your new loft conversion floor and first-floor ceiling, therefore it should not be any noisier than carpet.

Lower Broughton Road, Salford, Manchester, M7 2HY.  How much should a loft conversion cost?Stunning Velux loft conversion in Manchester

The two most popular loft conversions are Velux loft conversions which start at £18,000, and the rear dormer conversion start at £27,000, this all depends on the size and the complexity of the build, if you would like to have a chat regarding any type of loft conversion give our office a call on 0800 161 3815 and we will be able to advise you on the best option to suit you and your home.

Leedale Street, Manchester, M12 5SH.  Where can you put stairs in a loft conversion?

We cannot say until we have undertaken a viewing on your property, they are many numerous factors to take into account with a new staircase. Building Regulations stipulate minimum headroom not only on the new staircase but also if they are going to be positioned above your existing staircase we need to make sure we have 2m headroom clearance walking down the existing stairs. A good explanation of staircases can be found HERE.

Parrs Wood Ave, Manchester, M20 5NB.  We still have a water tank in the attic, would it be a problem?Impresive Dormer Loft Conversions creating a master bedroom

Rafter Loft Conversion can easily reposition any plumbing pipes or tanks to maximise usable space in the loft. We would suggest rather than spend a few hundred pounds to have a water tank moved, nowadays its worth considering a combi boiler which are now really efficient, and depending on how lower the tanks may have to be moved you may also lose pressure due to it being gravity fed.

Range Street, Openshaw, M11 2JF.  If we have a loft conversion, do I need to arrange Building Regulations Approval?

No, Rafter Loft Conversions offer an all in one package, plans through to completion, we deal with all the relevant bodies until you receive your completion certificate.

Manor Crescent, Knutsford, WA16 8DL.  You recently have done a loft conversion on our neighbours but will we need planning permission if we want a dormer loft conversion?Velux windows in a loft conversion in Knutsford

The majority of dormer loft conversions, do not require planning permission nearly every home has what is called “Permitted Development Rights” generally loft conversions come under your building rights, although every loft conversion with no exceptions must go through Building Control. HERE are some loopholes regarding permitted development. If you would like to give us a ring, we can explain your Permitted Development Rights in more detail. 0800 161 3815.

Victoria Street, Denton, Manchester, M34 2AA.  Can I do some of the work myself to reduce the cost of the loft conversion?

Of course, we can provide you with a structure only service, plan submission, floor, upgrade of the roof, windows and staircase, which would leave you electrics, plumbing, partitions, plaster boarding, and plastering, we have only recently done two-part builds, in Tyldesley and Rochdale.

Huxley Ave, Cheetham Hill, M8 0SB.  If we choose to proceed, should we inform the neighbours about the work?This Dormer loft conversion created a stunning master bedroom and incorperating a sunken bath in the private bathroom with a walk in wardrobe

As you are in a terraced house it is good manners to keep both your immediate neighbours informed of your intentions or if they choose they can stop the build by insisting on a Party Wall Agreement which would delay your conversion for around six weeks.

Grosvenor Street, Stretford, M32 8BR.  We are considering a dormer conversion on our terraced house, how long would it take?

Generally, a dormer conversion is usually around four weeks from start to finish, we have recently undertook an L-shaped dormer a couple of roads away, Moreton Ave and a Wrap-Around dormer conversion in Poplar Road, Stretford.

Camp Street, Salford, M7 1LG.  Can you do loft conversions in the new modern roof?Velux Loft Conversion, turned into a play room

Yes, we undertake loft conversion in both Traditional and Trussed roofs, Truss loft conversions are slightly more demanding but no problem whatsoever, if you would like to call we can discuss which option you would prefer and give you a guide price.

Bramley Ave, Fleetwood, FY7 7LH.  I have only around 6 foot headroom in the attic, what is the minimum headroom I need?

For a Velux loft conversion, the minimum headroom required is 2.2m if you require a dormer conversion a minimum of 2.4m is required, your only alternative is to lower the ceilings on the first floor or take your roof off completely and put a steeper pitched roof on your home, the roof lift can only be achieved on a detached house and in certain circumstances in a semi-detached if the neighbouring property is stepped down from your home, as planning permission and the consideration of aesthetics will be applied.

Sandown Road, Hazel Grove, SK7 4RS.  Would we need to instruct an architect to draw the loft conversion plans?Velux Loft Conversions in tiles or slate

Rafter Loft Conversions will design your loft conversion and enclose it on your loft conversion quote for your approval, if you are happy to proceed with your proposal we take care of the plans if you would like a PLAN service only for you to acquire some quotes our charges are as follows:

Velux/Rooflight prices only £895.00 Incl. including calculations.

Dormer loft conversion plans £995.00 Incl. including calculations.

Elevation drawings (Planning) prices start from £1,495.00 Incl. calculations.

Alma Street, Eccles, Manchester, M30 0EX.  How much disruption is there when a loft conversion is undertaken?

You will be glad to know not much really, generally in the last week of your loft conversion when it’s time to fit the new staircase there is a bit of disruption on the landing, but only for a few days, after each day the area will be cleaned and left safe.

Woodland Grove, Penwortham, PR1 0JB.  How much does it cost to convert a loft into a bedroom?Velux Loft Conversion in Didsbury, 7 node truss roof

The two most popular loft conversions are Velux loft conversions which start at £18,000, and the rear dormer conversion start at £27,000, this may vary depending upon the design / size and the complexity of the build.

Rishton Lane, Bolton, BL3 2EN.  What is a Velux loft conversion?

Velux® and Rooflight loft conversions are the same, this particular loft conversion is called a Velux conversion due to the popular roof window manufacturer Velux. A Velux loft conversion is when your loft conversion is within your existing roof space and without altering the profile of your roof. Velux conversions are the cheapest option and work’s well when you have good existing headroom to maximise the space available. Velux loft conversions require considerably less construction work and the installation of Velux® windows is a fantastic way of making your loft space feel spacious by allowing natural light and air.

St Winfreds Drive, Warrington, WA4 2SH.  Can you do a loft conversion on a semi-detached house?Velux loft conversion with a bank of four windows

Of course, the simplest and most cost-effective loft conversion for a semi-detached house is a Velux conversion as long it’s a gable end, if you have a hipped roof (where the roof slope’s to the chimney) you would no doubt need a Hip-End dormer, a rear dormer can be introduced at the same time, Wrap-Around dormer. HERE are the different loft conversions.

Park Road, Romiley, Stockport, SK6 4PG. What regulations are involved in a loft conversion?

We have to take in numerous factors for a loft conversion it involves the structural integrity of the new floor and ceiling, structural stability of the existing roof and changes made to party walls, the suitability of any proposed changes to the exterior of the house, in the context of the local area and any special factors relating to the property, safety in the event of fire regarding the escape route, appropriate stairway access, soundproofing between the proposed space and adjoining areas, such as rooms below or through party walls etc.

The Square, Ringley Close, Whitefield, M45 7UL.  How long will a loft conversion take to complete?Dormer loft conversion with French doors leading to the outside balcony

The actual construction of a typical conversion takes between 3 weeks for Velux conversions and 4 weeks for a dormer conversion, allow an extra few days if a bathroom is going to be installed. If planning permission is required for the loft conversion you should allow a further 8 weeks for it to go through a planning meeting, however, generally, loft conversion comes under your permitted development rights.



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