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and General advice on basements, extensions and refurbishing >
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Lofts and Attics - what is the difference?

The space between the ceiling of the top floor (or side block) of a building or a bungalow, and the actual roof is known as the attic. Some of these attics are very small and shaped in an awkward manner because of which this space is not utilized.

The ones which are quite spacious and accessible can be changed into bedrooms or into some other utility area. After this conversion, this space is known as a loft.

Storage space

The simplest conversion is to make the attic space clean and dry to use it as a storeroom. This is done by a proper floor installation, and an easy method of access, such as pull down stairs or a ladder.

It is a good idea to put in a window, usually a velux or you can fit a permanent glazed window. Be careful of condensation though.


If to be used as a functional room the attic will need to be totally renovated. If you have previously used it as a storage space it is a bit cheaper as some of the work (but not much) has been done already.

A loft is cheaper than an extension because you do not require an additional attachment made to the existing structure. One can use the attic for the master bedroom with en suite (popular in London due to shortage of space and high cost of moving), playroom, hobby den etc.

Loft attic stairs construction

A mansard roof uses the interior space of the attic in the best way as height is maintained within the space, as the rear (or side) angled roof is removed and replaced with a vertical wall or tiled structure.

Since the loft is a space situated just below the roof top, during the cold season it can be really cold. It can also be too hot in the summer so good ventilation and insulation is required. This is all covered by law in the UK so make sure your builder sticks to the regulations. Loft conversions are covered by Building Regulations in the UK. Planning is not regulated, but it is a good idea to get an Architect to design your loft to maximise the use of space. Builders will take short cuts and cramp your space, without you even realising it - until after you have paid, and started using the space.

If central heating is extended up into the new loft, check that the boiler is powerful enough.

Also don't forget to install fire alarms as normal in the new space.

Every house needs a proper ventilation system to keep the outside air circulation going on so that moisture does not accumulate inside which can cause many problems such as rusting. Solar fans are always chosen for attic rooms as it functions only with the help of the solar energy of the sun, saving electricity and money.

Before adding a toilet or a bathroom to your attic floor, you need to analyze your draining and pipe system first. This job is better done by a professional plumber rather than you trying it by yourself.

Insulation is a solution to save you from getting high energy bills, and prevent over heating in the summer. The two commonly used insulations for an attic floor are the batt insulation and the loose-fill insulation. You should also make sure that all the air-passages between the attic and your home are blocked. Use plywood to seal all the openings in the attic roof. The insulation should not block the ventilation of your attic room. Condensation is a real problem in attic spaces so get all this checked professionally.

Ladders are normally used to move up into the attic floor when it serves the purpose of a storage room. Before choosing one, make sure you have decided upon the opening through which you will access the attic and the place where you will place the ladder.

Or you can construct a proper staircase if you have decided upon converting the attic into a proper room integrated with the rest of the house. The interior designing of it is up to your choice.