Tag Archives: A to Z

K is for… king of loft conversions

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It’s that time of the week again where we focus on our A to Z guide to loft conversions. The letter ‘k’ was a difficult one so we’ve had to be a little creative today (I’m sure you will forgive us).

We’re taking a closer look at how you can be the king (or queen) of loft conversions and the secret is all in the planning. So here is what you need to consider before converting your loft.

1. Get out that measuring tape
The best way to be able to visualise and plan how you’re going to make the most of what loft space you have is to take a trip up to your loft. Don’t forget to take your measuring tape and pen and paper. If you measure the space out yourself, while looking at it, you’ll have a much better idea of what is achievable, as looking at a floor plan can be deceptive.

2. Make the most of the space available
Once you’ve got a good idea of how much space, (including headroom) there is in your loft, you can start to plan what to do with it. If your loft has areas where the headroom is limited, make the most of this space by using it for storage. Low-level furniture items will enable you to really use every inch of available space in your loft.

3. Consider lighting
An easy way to make your loft seem instantly brighter and airier is to allow as much natural light to come flooding through as possible. It may be possible to install a roof to floor window but if not, a Velux rooflight will do the trick – just don’t position a bed directly underneath it, unless you want to be woken up early.

4. Planning for the future
You may have your heart set on a lavish cinema room or games room now but think carefully about how you might wish to use the space in the future. If you’re likely to hear the patter on tiny feet within the next five years, you may wish to keep the room options as wide as possible, to avoid having to revamp the whole space further down the line.

5. Insulation matters
The final job to do before you get the experts in is to ensure that the whole room if thoroughly insulated. If you’re unsure about how to do this, we have a whole blog post dedicated to the topic – simply look back at letter ‘I’ of our A to Z.

Once all of the planning and preparations are complete, you can then call in the professionals. Here at Econoloft, we’re here to help to every step of the way.

Take a look at our gallery of previous projects for more inspiration, while our client testimonials prove just how dedicated we are to fulfilling your needs.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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01.07.2013 No Comments

J is for… joists

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Every week we bring you the latest instalment of our A to Z of loft conversions, in which the technical elements become easier to understand. Today we’re on to letter ‘j’ and we’ll be talking about joists.

For those unfamiliar with the loft conversion process, it is one of the most effective solutions for creating extra space in a house, while adding the most in terms of your home’s monetary value.

But before you can give the go-ahead for a loft conversion, your existing loft will need to be inspected to ensure that it is structurally able to support a conversion. And that’s where the joist theme comes in.

There are two types of structures generally used for roof construction – traditional framed type and truss section type:

Traditional frame type
A common element of houses built pre-1960, the traditional frame consists of rafters and ceiling joists, along with supporting timbers, being cut to size before assembly. Giving the best structural support, this type of roof structure is often deemed the most suitable for loft conversions. By strengthening the rafters and adding in more support, it is relatively simple to open up the space and increase the size of the room.

Truss section type
Truss roofs have been used since the 1960s. The advantage of this roof structure is that it is very easy and fast to assemble as the majority of the work can be done in a day. There are of course a few setbacks – namely, the thinner, cheaper timbers used are not given any loadbearing structures underneath which means that it requires a lot more work to open up the space to be used as a room. If your house has this roof structure and you wish to convert the loft, it will be necessary to insert steel beams between the loadbearing walls. The new floor joists will then hand on to the beams to add further structural input. While it is possible to do this task before converting the loft in question, it is usual practice for it to cost more under this circumstance.

Do I need new joists?
Often, the existing ceiling joists will not be enough to support a conversion floor, which means that additional new joists will need to be installed in order to comply with Building regulations. A structural engineer will be able to specify the size and grade of the new joists to ensure that your home will be able to hold a conversion floor.

The new joists will be fitted between the loadbearing walls, alongside the existing joists. Where there is a window or door opening, thicker timbers will be used to reduce too much pressure being exerted on the opening lintel.

Once the work on the joists has been completed, the construction team will then be able to get on with the loft insulation (covered in last week’s post) and before you know it, your newly converted loft will be complete.

Here at Econoloft, we’ve been in the industry for over 40 years, making us something of an authority on the loft conversion process.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our gallery of previous client work.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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24.06.2013 No Comments

H is for… heating

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Wow, we seem to be speeding through our A to Z blog posts – we’re on ‘h’ already! Regular readers will be familiar by now with our blog system – once a week we bring you information on the more technical aspects of loft conversion, to help you get yours just right when it comes to converting your loft.

So today we’re focusing on heating. After all, if you’re planning to spend quite a bit of time in your loft, you’ll need to make sure that it’s warm enough, especially during the winter months.

Gas central heating
If your home currently operates with gas central heating, you’ll have to determine whether or not the existing boiler will be able to cope with the extra heating requirements that come with a loft conversion. You may find that it is necessary for a new boiler with better heating capacity to be installed.

Consider loft insulation
However, if you invest in good quality insulation methods for your conversion, you may find that this helps to reduce the overall amount of heat lost through the house. In such cases, a new boiler will not be necessary.

Requirements for new boilers
Should you need to have a new boiler installed, it is wise to opt for one with a high efficiency grade (A or B). There are also some additional requirement regulations:

– It must be a ‘fully pumped’ heating system
– It must comprise a programmer control, room thermostat and hot water storage cylinder thermostat
– Room thermostats must be interlocked to the boiler (only fires up when there is a demand for heat)

Alternatives to central heating system boilers
It may be that your existing loft does not contain a central heating system – while you have the option of installing one, there are of course alternatives.

– Room heater
Choose one with a time and temperature control to give you better control of when the room will be heated.

– Natural gas heater
It doesn’t matter if your loft space is minimal, as you can purchase a wall-mounted natural gas heater unit. What’s more, gas-fired room heaters are far more environmentally friendly as they produce fewer carbon emissions than electric heaters, which can also be expensive to run.

So now you know the options available to you when it comes to heating your loft conversion. Of course, you can always ask for more advice during your consultation if there’s anything you’re unsure of.

Let Econoloft transform your loft into the space of your dreams. Check out our gallery for some design inspiration.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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10.06.2013 No Comments

G is for… gable

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Can you believe that we’re already up to the letter ‘g’ on our A to Z guide to loft conversions? For those of you who don’t know, each week, we bring you a guide to all things technical relating to lofts but in an easy to understand explanation. Today, we’re focusing on gable roofs. We’ll be taking a look at what a gable roof is and the different variations in gable roofing.

What is a gable roof?
A gable roof is the triangular shaped section of wall between the two sloping sides of a roof. However, the shape of the gable depends on how the roof has been structured. The great thing about gable roofs is that they encourage rainwater and snow to drip off the roof, rather than gathering and forming large puddles. What’s more, they generate maximum space in the loft, which is fantastic news if you’re looking to convert your loft into a further room.

Variations in gable roof designs
– Crow-stepped gable
A stair-step design helps to accommodate the sloping part of the roof and makes it more aesthetically pleasing. The design dates back to the seventeenth century and can be seen on Muchalls Castle and Monboddo House, both are located in Scotland.

– Dutch gable roof
A hip roof, complete with four sloping sides and topped with a gable roof. Although hip roofs do not give the same amount of space in the loft as a traditional gable roof, it removes the difficulty of attaching gutters that is associated with gable roofs.

– Clipped gable roof
In contrast to a traditional gable roof, a clipped gable roof is flatter at the top instead of culminating in a point. In addition to adding visual appeal, this style also helps to reduce wind force.

Now you know more about it, you should be able to determine whether or not your house has a gable roof. If you’re planning to convert your loft, you’ll be pleased to know that this style of roof will ensure you have the maximum floor space.

Let Econoloft help to transform your home – with over 40 years in the industry, we know what we’re talking about.

Read our client testimonials for proof of why we’re the best. And if you’re in need of design inspiration, check out our gallery of previous work.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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03.06.2013 No Comments

F is for… fire safety regulations

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It’s time for part ‘F’ of the A to Z loft conversion guide and today, we’re considering how you can ensure that your loft is protected against fire. Many people don’t realise that there are fire safety regulations to consider when you convert your loft. In fact, protecting your home and yourself from fire should be top of your agenda.

Half-hour fire protection
The majority of lofts give the house a third storey. As such, the walls, door and flooring needs to be given what’s known in the industry as half-hour fire protection. You can do this with a double layer of plasterboard and by investing in fire doors.

Why are fire doors so important?
Should you encounter a fire and you’re in the loft, your only real means of escape is down the stairs. You must ensure that the main staircase leads to an external door and that this too is given fire protection. All doors to bedroom should really be fire doors and you should ensure that you fit smoke alarms to each floor to give you and your family extra warning in the event of a fire.

Escape from the first floor
If the staircase to your loft leads to an open plan room rather than an external door, you can install a sprinkler system and a fire door to separate the ground and first floor levels of the house. That way, if you should encounter a fire, your escape route will be through the window of a first floor room.

Summary
Okay, so now you know the fire safety regulations regarding loft conversions. But if all that seems like a lot to take in, here is a quick summary of the most important bits.

– Fire doors for added protection
– Smoke alarms must be fitted on each storey of the house
– Sprinkler systems are an optional extra to give you some added time

So if you’re thinking of converting your loft, let the experts help. With over 40 years in the industry, Econoloft is something of an authority when it comes to loft conversions.

Check out our gallery of past work for inspiration about your loft design or have a quick read of our client testimonials to find out why we’re the best people to convert your loft.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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28.05.2013 No Comments

E is for… Econoloft

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It’s that time of the week again where we bring you the next installment of our A to Z guide to loft conversions. For the letter ‘E’, we were really left with no choice; it had to be Econoloft. Here’s a bit more about our company and how we can transform your loft.

40 years old!
Econoloft was established by Derek Livesey a little over 40 years ago – it was his aim to create a business that people could trust, and that placed customer satisfaction at its heart, which is why he decided that Econoloft should remain an independent, family owned business.

We aim to please
We know that as well as staff dedication and hard work, it takes loyal customers to help establish a brand. That’s why it is such a pleasure to see that the hard work we put in pays off at the end of a day. Our many customer testimonials prove that we place great importance on customer satisfaction and aim to consistently deliver, both in terms of excellent quality of work and outstanding customer service.

Professional, expert service
Converting a loft is no mean feat – it’s only natural that as a customer, you want to ensure that you’re getting the best possible service and that we know our stuff. With Econoloft, you can rest assured that our team has expert knowledge. What’s more, we work in conjunction with professional associations such as the Federation of Master Builders, The Fair Trades Association and Trustmark.

FREE estimates
We also understand that you have a lot to consider when making the decision about whether or not to convert your loft. As such, we offer a hassle-free, no obligation FREE estimation service, which includes a complimentary feasibility study and a guide through the loft conversion process. You have to be completely sure about what the finished product will look like, and how it will be achieved, which is why we invest so much time in the preparation before you commit to any work being done.

Inspiration
Our team of experts are always on hand to give you advice when it comes to the design aspect of your conversion. If you’re looking for further inspiration, our gallery of past work we’ve completed is a good place to start.

10 year guarantee
All of our work comes with a ten year guarantee – that’s how confident we are that we deliver fantastic quality that you’ll be more than satisfied with.

If you require more information or wish to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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21.05.2013 No Comments

D is for… Design

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We’re now onto the fourth post in our A to Z series – can you believe that? We pondered for some time over what topic to cover today and came up with design. If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’re likely interested in finding out about all the aspects of loft conversion.

So as well as the construction side of things, we thought you’d also like to hear about elements that you may find more fun. So here is our guide to designing your loft space to suit your requirements.

Determine the type of room

It’s unlikely that you’ve just decided to convert your loft for the sheer sake of it. Rather, you’ll no doubt already have a firm idea in your head about what you want to use the newly created space for, and whether that is for a master bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, home office, or games room, you’ll need to make this very clear before you do anything.

Check your loft is fit for purpose

The next step is to ensure that your loft is suitable for the purpose you have in mind. That means writing down a list of what furniture is likely to go into the room, to help determine how much space you need, and whether the finished room will be big enough to be what you have planned. It’s worthwhile finding a professional loft designer to help you with the design of your loft space. They will be able to use expert tools, such as CAD software to help recreate a scaled down version of your loft, allowing you to see what the finished room will look like once all of the furniture is in. lofts tend to have varying headroom heights, but your designer will be able to inform you of which areas of your loft will have normal headroom and which will have low headroom.

Headroom regulations

Always bear in mind building regulations when converting your loft. Your new space is required to have a minimum height of 2 metres above the staircase. However, you’ll also have to compensate for the installation of new floor joists which will raise the floor level, as well as thermal insulation which will reduce the height of the loft. As a guideline, you should aim for the height of your loft to be at least 2.4m.

Windows to let in the light

We covered the different types of loft conversion in our last A to Z post. For those who missed it, some conversions may need to be formed using a dormer window in order to create the required additional space. By incorporating dormer windows into your design, you can increase the overall usable area of your loft. You may require planning permission for this type of construction so make sure you check first.

An alternative to dormer windows is to use rooflights which will allow plenty of natural light into the room. Rooflights are generally cheaper than dormer windows and do not usually require planning permission.

Money money money

Like most things, a loft conversion will cost you money. Whilst it is considered to be the best investment a homeowner can make on their house, as it significantly increases the overall value, you do still need to be able to have sufficient money to budget for the completion of your conversion. So make sure you work out your finances before you apply for planning permission. That way you can see if you’ll have enough money left over to employ a professional designer once your loft has been converted. And if not, you always have the option of DIY – think of it as a fun family project.

We hope that you have found the above points of consideration useful. It can be surprising just how much there is to think about, even after the loft has been converted.

Here at Econoloft, we’ve been in the industry for over 40 years, giving us ample experience when it comes to converting lofts. Check out some examples of previous work we’ve done for our clients, and see how happy they are with the work we’ve completed for them.

If you require more information about loft conversions or wish to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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14.05.2013 No Comments