All You Need To Know About Dormer Loft Conversions

Thinking of having a dormer loft conversion but don't know your doghouse dormer from your hipped roof dormer? Find out more here!

Dormer loft bedroom

With the cost of living crisis hanging above all of our heads and price rises looming ahead of us, it’s no surprise that households up and down the UK are feeling the pinch… but for obvious reasons, upping and moving to a bigger home may not be a realistic option. 
Lofts are a frequently underused source of floorspace in British homes as they’re often left just as dark, dusty and dingy storage spaces tucked away and forgotten about. Yet they exist in properties even in high demand city areas, and this is driving an upward trend in the amount of dormer loft conversions taking place. But what is a dormer loft conversion and what do you need to know about them before you decide whether or not one is for you? Let Refresh Renovations explain…

What is a Dormer Loft conversion?

A Dormer Loft conversion is when a box-shaped structure is added onto the existing pitched roof of a property in order to create walls that sit at a 90° angle to the floor. This expands headspace as well as floorspace and is often used to incorporate a vertical window into the room to introduce a source of natural light where it otherwise wouldn’t exist; apart from occasionally the odd shifted tile on the roof!

What types of Dormer Lofts exist?

There are 5 main types of Dormer Loft, and which homeowners choose to convert their existing loft to may depend on not just their preferred aesthetics but also which works best for the structural capacity of their property. The 5 types are:
- Flat Roof Dormer – a dormer with a flat roof that sits horizontally outward
- Shed Dormer – a dormer with a roof that slopes downward
- Dog-house Dormer – a dormer with a roof held by two pitched sides, just like a classic American-style exterior ‘dog house’
- L-shaped Dormer – a dormer with two parts that form an ‘L’ shape
- Hipped Roof Dormer – a dormer with a similar shape to a dog-house version, but with 3 sides rather than just 2.

How do you know if your home is suitable for a Dormer Loft Conversion?

A Dormer Loft Conversion is usually favoured by those who wish to make their loft a usable and functional room but who need just a little bit more space in there, and often, headspace. Extending further height outward can transform the feel of a loft and allows it to play the part of rooms other than just storage spaces more easily.
Just about any home with loft space and a pitched roof can add a dormer on. Flat roofed homes can create a loft addition, but this wouldn’t usually be classed as a dormer per se.

Planning Permission and Dormer Loft Conversions

In most areas and in most properties, a Dormer Loft Conversion can be installed without the need for formal planning permission. Instead, it falls under homeowner’s Permitted Development Rights, and, provided the conversion fits certain criteria, can be enacted without any external permissions or authority intervention. 
If a property holds listed status or is situated in a conservation area or AONB, standard Permitted Development Rights do not apply. It is also worth nothing that these rights only extend to a dormer that:
- Does not exceed 40m on a terraced house or 50m on a semi-detached/detached house
- Has a height that does not exceed that of the original roof
- Does not feature a balcony (but may feature a Juliet balcony)
- Is constructed from materials in character with the rest of the home
- Does not affect neighbours through either overlooking or overshadowing.
Although Permitted Development Rights don’t require any formal Local Authority planning permission, many homeowners still choose to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate from them. This provides legal proof that the project reaches the designated criteria and assures any future owners of its legality and quality.

Building Regulations and Dormer Loft Conversions

Building Regulations are a vital part of Dormer Loft Conversions and all relevant building control approvals must be sought before any construction begins. Architects, Structural Engineers and Surveyors will all collaborate to ensure that the planned project meets the legal safety standards adequately. These considerations include:
- Headroom
- Insulation
- Fire safety
- Electricals
- Stair design
- Sound proofing
All of the above form part of the Refresh Renovations team and will be included in the project’s scope for sign-off before any work begins.

How popular are Dormer Loft Conversions?

Of course, Dormer Loft Conversions are just one type of conversion available – and by their nature are by no means the easiest. It is possible simply to install windows to any existing sloping roof before insulating it and constructing interior walls, but this simply isn’t suitable for all homes. Where the slope of the roof considerably impacts on the headspace within it, a Dormer Loft Conversion can create more much-needed space without having to introduce too much structural intervention or having to seek out formal planning permission.
It's fairly unsurprising, therefore, that the popularity of Dormer Loft Conversions has increased rapidly over the last few years – and indeed, you may have seen the telltale signs of dormers popping up in your neighbourhood! As word of mouth spreads and the benefits of Dormer Loft Conversions are realised more readily, the more popular they are likely to become. 

How can Refresh Renovations help with Dormer Loft Conversions?

Refresh Renovations work on an end-to-end project management approach, so we’ll be there with you every step of the way from conception to construction to completion. A bespoke team of professionals will be appointed based on your project’s needs and a proper quotation provided upon completion of a free (and no obligation!) home visit from a Refresh Renovations Consultant. We’ll take care of the whole conversion for you with minimal disruption to and intervention from you required – just give us a call!

Find out more about Dormer Loft Conversions!

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