Property Advice: Attic & Garage Conversions
Over the years, your house space requirements will often change. You may need an extra bedroom, or an en-suite bathroom. Removing or repositioning the internal walls of your property will often introduce more light and warmth into your house and create a sense of more space.
In most cases, unless your property is a listed building, you are free to put up partition walls as well as to install en- suite and understairs toilets. etc. Building work that involves load bearing walls or changes to the outside of the house may require compliance with the relevant building regulations.
These modifications will allow you to make the most of your existing space and convert otherwise unused space from one room into say, a larger kitchen or living room. Three areas of your house are usually the first to undergo conversions, the attic, the garage and any basement space you may have.
Many building firms specialise in attic conversions, and the introduction of even a small window into the roof or gable end wall can transform a house. Even if your attic is small, you may have enough space for a child's bedroom or study area.
Before you make definite plans for this space, you should check to see if any beams and trusses that take up additional space can be built around. Also, is the floor reinforced to take the weight of the furniture you intend to put in the attic? You may need specialist advice on your options before going ahead.
You may decide to convert your garage but remember you will most likely have to budget for the installation of wall and roof insulation, damp proofing and extra ventilation, in addition to new windows and doors. If you choose to build on top of your garage, your property will require careful inspection to ensure that the extra weight is not excessive for the existing walls and joists.
In structural terms, you may want to wall up the existing garage door opening and open up the wall between the garage and the house. A freestanding garage, separate from the house, provides the greatest flexibility for conversion. Depending on your specific requirements, it might become a home office, a guest house or a living space for grown children or an elderly relative.
Basement conversions can also provide much needed extra rooms but attention must be paid to waterproofing the floor and ceilings correctly to prevent damp or flooding.
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