A DIY Loft Conversion may not be for the faint hearted, but you could greatly increase your homes value by adding a bright, airy living space in the attic

A DIY loft conversion involves major alterations to the roof structure and often walls need to be moved on the first floor too.

Highly organised, specialist loft conversion companies with a full time team of experts take 9-10 weeks to construct a loft room. I'm not trying to put you off, just highlight what a large job it is.

Go it alone, or get some help with the loft conversion?

A popular option is to have a specialist company in to do the hardest part, carcass the main structure (ready for wiring, plumbing and insulation) and then to organise or complete the rest of the work from there yourself.

When I bought my house, my DIY loft conversion was the first big job I started.

Although I had previously worked for a Loft conversion specialist for 5yrs and had a pretty good idea what I wanted to get from my roof space, I still crawled the web and devoured every loft conversion book I could get my hands on - desperate for every snippet of information and advice I could find.

I wanted to absolutely make sure I made the best use of the loft space, complied with all the loft conversion building regulations and came in under budget.

Because I did most of the work myself and organised the other trades (plasterers, electricians and carpet fitters) the complete double bedroom loft conversion, from building inspectors to carpets cost me less than £9k. The same house two doors up spent £25k+ on theirs! When they asked me how much I'd spent, I had to lie and say more!

The loft conversion has added far more value to the house than it cost and has proven to have been a great investment, the cosiest room in the house and well worth the hard graft. I call it the penthouse! (It's about as close as I'm going to get to one..)

Once you've decided to take on the DIY loft conversion, where do you start?

The process begins with the design and planning stage. Once an architect (use one who has a lot of loft experience) has designed the conversion so it will comply with the building regulations and be structurally sound, you will have some drawings to submit to the local planning department for their approval. A good indicator at what you may be allowed will be to look at your neighbours lofts if any have been converted. If they don't have dormers and you want them for example, ask them if it was because of a planning issue or another reason why they didn't build them.

Along with the technical drawings, the architect will supply a specification. The technical specification will outline everything needed - including the material types and sizes required (rafters doubled up with 150x50mm treated timbers, bolted together using 20mm threaded bar for e.g.). Insulation and ventilation requirements. Which doors need to be changed to fire doors and so on.

Using the specification and the architects plans all the timber, insulation and other material quantities for the structural stage can be calculated and ordered.

Arrange for some scaffolding to be erected and click here step by step advice on building a loft conversion you'll need when you have all the materials on site and are ready to start.

Other pages related to DIY loft conversions you might find useful,

Loft conversion ideas

Loft conversion planning permission

Back to main loft conversion page

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