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Would you do a loft extension in a bungalow?

Discussion in 'Home and Garden' started by Ricochet J, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. Ricochet J


    Joined: Jun 29, 2004

    Posts: 12,880


    We live in a 2 double bedroom semi detached bungalow. We're thinking about long term plans such as children and adding a third bedroom.

    We've been advised not to convert the loft into a third bedroom. People have suggested there are a shortage of bungalows and therefore if we keep it as a bungalow when we come to sell (if we do) we will appeal to a market of buyers who have money and want no stairs (i.e. old people). We've also been told as soon as we add a loft conversion we suddenly start competing with proper 2 floor houses.

    A loft extension isn't an issue a we have plenty of land to the side and rear to extend the property without going into the loft.

    I wanted to hear your opinions.

    (P.S. - I am at the very least going to install a collapsible loft ladder and board the loft this summer.)
  2. The Craig


    Joined: May 4, 2007

    Posts: 7,568

    Location: Warwickshire

    Mainly depends on:

    A) Layout of house I.e. Do you lose a lot of space to stairs
    B) Value of house post renovation/cost of loft extension (generally I believe its more expensive than side extensions).

    I live in a 3 bed detached bungalow and wouldn't do it both due to the above, and that its a very shallow roof. Increasing the roof pitch would reduce the amount of light to the back garden.
  3. scrivz69

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 6, 2008

    Posts: 2,131

    Location: York

    We got a dorma put on ours years ago and it's the best thing we ever did, went from a 3 bed 1 bath to a 5 bed 2 bath and the extra room is brilliant.
  4. MarkeR


    Joined: Aug 15, 2011

    Posts: 4,606

    I have a two bed bungalow. The loft was partially floored, was going to partition off one side and make it a office/games room justso I didn't have stuff filling up the second room.

    Estate agent, valued my house a couple of years ago at £145.000, spooke to him about it and he said it would make no difference mainly because I wasn't going to add staurs etc (just use the loft ladders). He did warn me about doing it properly, as it wouldn't add any inherent value when selling. Reason being, the older generation don't want the upstairs!

    Bring on the OAP bidding war next month when I go to sell.. :)
  5. SimonR


    Joined: Dec 15, 2008

    Posts: 684

    Location: Near to Overclockers

    I would suggest that you get builders quotes to do both - extend the ground floor and extend upwards to create a dormer and see what gives you best bang for your buck. I will pretty much put money on that a ground floor extension will give you more room for your money. Loft / dormer conversions are not as cheap as they used to be, due to the additional requirements of building regs.
    Extra storage (boarding it out) is always a good thing, just make sure that you maintain a good depth of (uncompressed) loft lagging.
  6. psd99


    Joined: Sep 7, 2008

    Posts: 4,816

    depends on what your long term plans are vs how much value it puts on to the property by adding in an extra bedroom.
  7. Maccapacca


    Joined: Apr 13, 2010

    Posts: 16,531

    Location: Sunny Sussex

    Loft extensions if the structure doesn't need too much engineering are quite good value for what you get, they usually are only a couple of trades and quick.

    Have a look at what you can get away with under permitted development, you might be pleasantly surprised.
  8. Ricochet J


    Joined: Jun 29, 2004

    Posts: 12,880

    There are people around me who have added dormers to their loft.

    I guess the question I want people's opinions on is:
    • Would you keep a bungalow as a bungalow and forgo a loft extension?
  9. SimonR


    Joined: Dec 15, 2008

    Posts: 684

    Location: Near to Overclockers

    A loft conversion for your house is considered to be a Permitted Development, not requiring an
    application for planning permission, provided certain limits and conditions are met.

    1. Loft conversions are NOT a Permitted Development for houses on designated land*
    2. To be a Permitted Development any additional roof space created must not exceed these volume allowances:
      1. 40 cubic metres for terraced houses.
      2. 50 cubic metres for detached and semi-detached houses.
        Bear in mind that any previous roof space additions must be included within this volume allowance. Although you may not have created additional space a previous owner may have done so.
    3. An extension beyond the plane of the existing roof slope of the principal elevation that fronts a highway is NOT a Permitted Development.
    4. Materials are to be similar in appearance to the existing house.
    5. No part of the extension is to be higher than the highest part of the existing roof.
    6. Verandas, balconies or raised platforms are NOT a Permitted Development.
    7. Any side-facing windows must be obscure-glazed and non-opening unless the parts which can be opened are more than 1.7 metres above the floor of the room in which it is installed.
    8. Roof extensions, apart from hip to gable ones are to be set back, as far as is practicable, at least 20cms from the eaves. The 20cm distance is measured along the roof plane. The roof enlargement cannot overhang the outer face of the wall of the original house*.
    9. Work on a loft or a roof may affect bats. You need to consider protected species when planning work of this type. A survey may be needed, and if bats are using the building, a licence may be required.
  10. HangTime

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 25, 2002

    Posts: 27,639

    Location: Hampshire

    It's an interesting one because I would agree that by adding a loft extension you risk alienating the typical bungalow market somewhat. Personally I actually wouldn't mind an extended bungalow because I value living space highly and like the idea of having a 1-2 bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs with over 100m^2 of downstairs living space; I wouldn't buy a traditional bungalow with all the bedrooms on the ground floor unless it was very cheap but I suspect you will find more OAPs than people like me.
  11. the_r_sole


    Joined: Aug 25, 2010

    Posts: 2,951

    how much do you care about the added value/future sales price and how much does it really suit you to do it?

    if you want to add more bedrooms, do a loft conversion, if you want to add more living space/communal space do an extension - also if you are thinking of kids, you will probably want (or your wife will want) to be sleeping on the same level as the kid(s) for a few years anyway.

    the other thing to consider is the layout on the floor plan, if there is an obvious, easy space for the stairs that isn't going to wipe out a whole room then it makes it easier, and then also you don't want to end up with a lot of bedrooms compared to living space and you don't want to have a weird layout just to fit stuff in!
  12. Usel

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 14, 2003

    Posts: 1,045

    I bought a 2 bed ex council bungalow in 2006 for £120,000 and got divorced and sold in October 2015 for £164,000.
    Met my girlfriend and then bought a 4 bed house with garage and 3 car driveway for £270,00 in July 2016.
    The house needed new windows, as they were wooden and single glaze, a new front door, carpets and 2 new bathrooms. I have spent £13,500. The house is now worth £335,000, the exact same house down road in the same condition sold for this.
    The bungalow according to zoopla is now worth £202,000.
    If you can afford to move and buy a bigger house then I'd advise moving over a loft conversion.
    An extension on the other hand may work for you financially.
  13. Swifty55


    Joined: Feb 21, 2006

    Posts: 5,572

    Location: Home

    I would extend. Mates dad extended his 2 bed bungalow to. 3 with extra rooms etc.

    Looked really nice when it was done.

    Then again, someone bought a nice bungalow around the corner from me and now it’s a 2 storey. Lol. Still looks nice.
  14. hughtrimble


    Joined: Jan 22, 2014

    Posts: 2,759

    I used to live in a two story house, but steps were taken to turn it into a bungalow.
  15. fez


    Joined: Aug 22, 2008

    Posts: 12,983

    Location: Sidcup

  16. Thecaferacer


    Joined: Feb 3, 2019

    Posts: 747

    Always extend out rather than up in a bungalow if you have the choice. A main selling point of a bungalow is large surfacs area with no stairs. However it can be done very nicely if you needed additional space/bedrooms and couldn't or didn't want to move.

    Main issues with converting a loft space is finding a decent place to have the stairs without ruining the flow of the ground floor, ceiling joists will often need significant reinforcement, roof will need reworking with windows, all the water, gas and electrics that were originally exposed with easy access will now be boxed in. Cost in versus value out is risky unless you really do make something spectacular out of a dated property.

    I'm nearing the end of my bungalow renovation and was in the same position as you. So glad j stuck with an extension rather than conversion. Turns out my bungalow was only on 6" foundations!
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  17. divuk83

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Mar 8, 2006

    Posts: 1,277

    Location: York

    We were in almost the exact same situation as you 3 years ago. Living in a 2 bedroom semi bungalow with me, my wife and our 1 year old (at the time) daughter. Moving out or up were the only 2 options as the plot we were one wasn't huge. We were advised about the demand for bungalows in our area and after getting a few valuations and discovering the equity in the house we chose to move rather than build.
    Our reasoning:
    The equity meant a bigger deposit on a new house so moving to a 4 bed semi actually cost us slightly less each month!
    The house sold before it went on the market as the estate agent had a waiting list of people wanting bungalows! The sales spiel and leaflets through the door weren't all lies!
    We did like the area, but weren't that attached to the house. The house we moved to is probably 300m from the old one so not much of a move!
    The prospect of living in a building site with kids was not an appealing one.
    Having looked at several bungalows that had loft conversions before buying ours, they were all a bit half assed. The fairly standard layout of the bungalows near us did not lend itself well to having stairs added anywhere.

    We did board out our loft and fit a loft ladder when we first moved in. Having storage space you are not using is madness! Definitely do this if you stay there.

    I think if you like the house and can live with the disruption I would build outwards not upwards.

    Hope this gives you something to think about. Good luck.

  18. jpaul


    Joined: Mar 1, 2010

    Posts: 8,874

    I have not seen a bungalow (additional storey) conversion I think looks attractive/durable - are there online meritous pictures ?

    the dormer windows with flat roofs look like a significant maintenance issue, re-felting/waterproofing < 10 years period ?
    plus the compromise on room interior space usability/light, accomodating eaves and alcoved windows.
  19. Thecaferacer


    Joined: Feb 3, 2019

    Posts: 747

    Flat roofs have come a long way with EPDM sheeting now instead of felt which has a 30 year minimum guarantee .

    Agree of the other points, the only nice conversions I've seen is where the roof has been removed and another story physically added and a new roof put on. My neighbour did extend and go up but again had an entire new roof to accommodate the loft conversion.

    My friend on the other hand bought an already converted bungalow and has all kinds of issues from a scarily narrow set of stairs, cramped upstairs hallway, creaky/bouncy floor/ad-hoc wiring etc.
  20. tamzzy


    Joined: May 26, 2012

    Posts: 11,206

    i've seen a couple of dormer bungalows with hip-to-gable loft conversion.
    but as always...the headroom is never as high as a normal room, which put me off the property.
    although the space is massive, but with limited headroom (within regulations), it still feels cramped.