Many homeowners need a bit of extra space, but moving house might be ruled out through expense or simply because the stress of moving is undesirable.
That can mean either making the most of what the house already has, potentially utilising unused space such as the loft or expanding living space by building outwards with either an extension or conservatory.
Which is the best option? We take a look.
What’s the space needed for?
A key question is also an obvious one – what is the extra space going to be used for?
Is it extra living space during the day, can the lounge be a bit cramped and there’s just a requirement for people to be able to spread out a bit more?
Is it space that will be of great benefit when you have guests or for special occasions but that is less essential at other times?
Alternatively, it might be extra space for bedrooms, bathrooms – space that is required right now and will be used every single day.
The use of the space is likely to affect the decision. Let’s look at the benefits of each option
The Benefits of a loft extension
A loft extension maximises what you already have, it gives the homeowner extra space without eating into the garden and outside space. Clearly this is an advantage that conservatories and extensions do not enjoy.
A loft extension is also likely to add value to the property, often more than the cost of the work if done well, though this can also be true of the other options.
A loft extension can be a great option for space that will be used every day, extra bedroom(s) or bathrooms – given the somewhat hidden away nature of the space, up at least a couple of flights of stairs, a loft conversion is perhaps not so suitable for space that is beneficial when you have guests or a busy household (bar the extra bedroom space). It would also be an expensive way to add this space that is only going to be used sporadically.
The expense of a loft conversion is one of the major drawbacks, simply raising the finance can be hugely problematic – the added costs of building regs and getting plans drawn up mount up too.
A further consideration is the amount of disruption, this is major building work being carried out inside the house. The builders and other skills have to come in and out of your house and there is dust and mess created. Any good builder will do their best to mitigate the upheaval, but they cannot eradicate it completely.
However, the end product can be stunning.
The Benefits of an Extension
An extension has great versatility, it could be a simple extension to expand the kitchen, or it could be a large two-storey structure that adds extra living space downstairs and bedrooms or bathrooms above – perhaps with a balcony or other stylish feature.
The benefits of an extension can therefore be huge – an extension can add that space that is used occasionally, it can also be a way to create space that is more essential. Any design can be accommodated and so the extension can be made to blend in perfectly or be a feature in its own right. As it is an external build there is not the disruption of a loft conversion, even if there is still some disruption as the new structure is made to blend with the existing.
What are the drawbacks of an extension? The expense, as with a loft conversion is considerable and this might make it an impractical choice for space that is only going to be used occasionally.
The expense is also far greater than with a conservatory even though a conservatory with a solid roof might provide the exact same quality of space. An extension might also require planning approval depending on the size and a sizeable extension might be ruled out because of the impact it has on other properties and the precedent set.
At Guardian, we developed a conservatory roof that has completely changed what is possible with conservatories, however our expertise in his field is why we wanted to mention this option after a look first at loft extensions and extensions.
A conservatory would not be the best option in every circumstance, but it is one with considerable benefits.
The cost is much lower, so too the upheaval – you can have extra space in a matter of days. However, lower cost is not much good if the end product is sub standard and that always used to be the problem with conservatories, the glass or polycarbonate roof was unfit for purpose and so the room was too hot to use in summer, too cold in winter.
We changed that, our solid, tiled roofs can be fitted to any conservatory, as a new build or a replacement for the existing roof. The roofs are proven to make the conservatory usable all year round, it was because off the Guardian Warm Roof that regulations were changed in 2010 – previously only glass or polycarbonate roofs had been permissible. The roofs also have full Local Area Building Control approval.
With a huge range of styles and subtle colours, this means that they turn a conservatory into what is effectively a superb extension. The same space, the same level of usability, greatly reduced expense and upheaval.
A conservatory might not be the best option if you have limited outside space and are unwilling to eat into what is available, it also wouldn’t work for adding extra bedrooms upstairs, sometimes there is a reluctance to have bedrooms on the ground floor.
However, with the new roofs a conservatory has emerged as a genuine third choice, whereas previously it might have been loft conversion v extension.
Which is the best choice for you? Only you can answer that – however, a conservatory is a strong option and one with the smallest price tag – this despite it being an improvement that adds value, would-be buyers getting superb usable space.
On this site, there is a wealth of information about our style of conservatories, with a few key links included below. Please have a look and do get in touch if you’d like further information or to arrange an obligation-free quote.
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