Planning your loft conversion
With the cost of moving home running into many thousands of pounds, it's not surprising that many families are opting to move up instead of moving on. Converting your loft is certainly a job for the professionals, but if you get it right you not only gain a fabulous light-filled space, you could also get a handsome return on your investment when you sell. According to the FMB a loft extension can add up to 15% to the value of your property. If the last time you looked in your loft was to throw in a few surplus boxes when you first moved in, it's time to grab a torch and find out what you've got. You must be realistic about the possibilities. Take a tape measure and note the ceiling height - it needs to be no less than 2.3 metres to give enough headroom planning your loft conversion The steeper the slope (or pitch) of the roof, the more suitable it will be for the loft conversion. The most important point to bear in mind is that a loft conversion should not look or feel like an add-on because if it does it will add little to the value of the house. The staircase is the key to making a conversion look as though it is part of the original house. Wherever possible the stairway should be a natural continuation of the original staircase so that the transition from 'old' to 'new' is seamless.
Estate agents say a fourth bedroom is the single most valuable feature a family house can have and usually converting an attic is simpler than building an extension.
All loft conversions must meet Building Regulations and involve complex construction work - new beams will be needed in the roof and in the new floor to take the floor weight and strengthen the roof when the existing rafters are removed. If you live in a terraced or semi-detached house this work will probably require a party wall agreement with your neighbours. This refers to walls which are shared between properties. Take great care when choosing a company to carry out the work - personal recommendation is best. It's all in the planning.
This page on our website is designed to help you understand what is involved just take a look at the links below and you will find some useful information with regard to planning, building regulations and the party wall act.
Decorating your loft Conversion
Newly plastered walls and ceilings need to be sealed. To seal a surface before you hang wall paper the wall also needs to be totally dry. Information regarding this is also contained in the above project.
Sealing a surface for papering can be done using a proprietary product called size. This is a gelatinous solution which is mixed with water and applied straight onto the wall and allowed to dry. It is also used in glazing paper and stiffening textiles It can be papered over while still wet but, with the addition of wallpapering paste it sometimes makes the wall too slippery to hang paper properly.
A dilution of the wallpaper paste you are going to use can also be used as a form of size to seal the wall. Most pastes will have a sizing solution on the packet but a rough guide is to use 25% more water in a sizing solution.
When you intend to apply a vinyl paper to the surface, it is best to prepare the walls by sizing with a dilution of a paste with fungicide in it. Vinyl papers are air proof and as a result any dampness at all that is trapped behind the paper will not be allowed to evaporate out. This could turn to mould.
Apply the size or diluted paste with a large emulsion brush.
When can I start?
When a wall or ceiling is plastered the wall is obviously wet. A very frequent question is how long must I wait before I can paint it. There is no definitive answer to this question as all walls and ceilings will dry out at different speeds. With a normal centrally heated house you can be pretty sure of safely painting after 4 weeks but it can take a long as 6 and with extra heat in the room it may be ready in 3. The reason for not painting before the wall is completely dry is that most paints will simply form an air tight skin over the wall. The moisture from the new plaster is then trapped behind this skin and cannot evaporate off. The damp then either retreats back into the wall where it develops mould growth or reacts with the salts in the wall to become efflorescence/white stains:. Either way you have a problem on your hands that is incredibly difficult to deal with.
Top quality gloss finish
To get a gloss finish that looks really good, wait for the first coat to dry completely, then use 600 grade wet and dry paper with water over the surface. Wipe off the excess with kitchen towel. The next coat will look almost like glass. Do this again for a third coat that will look like glass