24th February

Loft Conversions – What To Expect During The Build

Loft Conversions – What To Expect During The Build

A Loft Conversion is a fantastic way to add space and value to your property, and often the most cost effective per square meter. With so many people opting for a loft conversion in Brighton and Hove we thought it would be useful to give a brief insight into the process involved and how it affects you living in your house during the work.

The following guide is based on a hip to gable loft conversion on a semi detached house to create a master suite including a shower room.

So you picked your builder or contractor, if not: see my previous post on ‘choosing the right builder’
Everything is in place and the work is starting next week, but do you know what to expect? Are you nervous about your house suddenly becoming a building site full of loud, tea drinking, messy builders with colourful vocabularies?
Your concerns are probably unfounded, as most of us are a polite friendly bunch these days but just so you have an idea of what to expect, I have run through how we do it pretty much step by step here:


First to arrive, the scaffolder:

Full scaffolding on three sides of the property is essential for this type of loft.
We will have already surveyed the property and decided on the best way to erect the scaffold depending on the style of house, and we will have already planned how to span over anything additional like a conservatory, porch or pitched roof extension.
An alarm will be installed on the scaffolding that will put any potential burglars off climbing all over your house and getting easy access to your windows. The alarm is not compulsory but its a good idea! If space allows we will always get a portaloo on site as well to save us using your toilet.

Work Starts:

Until the new stairs are installed (around week 5) we will go in and out of your house through a neat hole in the roof (like bees!) each night the hole can be covered up to stop the weather getting in.
The first job is to install the new steel structure that will support the new loft floor, dormer and roof. During this time the steel beams will arrive on site and if access allows, we will use a small crane to lift them into place.
The structural process can be a bit noisy for you downstairs and will probably feel like we are about to come through the ceiling but don’t worry, we won’t.
Once the steel is in we will lay the new floor and that makes a nice barrier between the loft and the house below, from then it should be a little less noisy and the added insulation will make the house immediately warmer!

Dormer Day:

When we have a good few days of dry weather forecast we will arrange what we call ‘dormer day’.
This is essentially when the biggest change to the roof structure takes place and the point at which you will stand in your garden pointing and saying “wow! look at our new loft”
As well as the dormer, we will also construct the gable end. We will cover the new structure with waterproof sheeting to protect your house below.

We have to work quickly to get the dormer ready for its flat roof covering, which may be traditional felt or GRP (fibreglass). Once installed, your house is weather tight -  good news!

Roofing & Windows:

Sometimes a conversion requires the replacement of all the roof tiles, and sometimes the existing ones can be reused, this depends very much on the state of the existing tiles and your preference.
Along with the roof and dormer tiling we will also be installing velum windows, dormer windows and possibly a set of double doors and juliet balcony, a popular feature which is included under permitted development in Brighton and Hove.

First Fix Plumbing & Electrics

Its decision time!
We will be ready to start the plumbing and electrical install which means we need decisions on layout of bathroom fittings, sockets and light switches. We like to let clients wait until now to make the final decisions as at this point you can actually stand in the new space and see what will work best in terms of furniture layout, which of course effects things like socket positions.

Insulation & Plastering

Once the first fix is all done we can crack on with insulation, plaster board and plastering. Now the loft is really coming to life and you can’t wait to move up there!

Staircase Installation

Until now the loft is still separate from the house, the hall ceiling is left intact for as long as possible until the staircase has been made. Once we have a delivery date, we will cut through to the existing hall and prepare for the staircase install.
It will all get done in one day, but don’t be tempted to walk up it the first night, the glue on the staircase needs to cure for at least 24 hours and if you don’t heed this warning you risk a staircase that will creak forever. The new stairwell and landing can now be plastered with the rest of the loft.

Second Fix Carpentry, Plumbing & Electrics

Its now time to start the finishing touches. Skirting boards, architraves, doors, bathroom fittings, lights, tiling and in some cases wood flooring will now all go in.

Painting & Decorating

If you have chosen to take advantage of our professional decorating services then your loft will now be transferred before your eyes into a beautifully finished room ready for you to move into and live happily ever after.




We will then remove the scaffolding, clean up and be on our way to the next one.

To see one of our completed Loft Conversions in Hove click here
To watch a video testimonial about Unique Build click here


Director and co-founder of Unique Build LTD


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