How to Choose Between an Extension and a Loft Conversion

If you and your family are struggling with space, you might consider moving house; however, this can often be undesirable for reasons both practical and sentimental. Two solutions to expand your floorplan are a house extension or loft conversion – but which is better? To help you make the choice, we discuss the main benefits and drawbacks of each option, with considerations like cost, levels of disruption, value-added and the usefulness of the space. 

Is a loft conversion or a house extension more cost-effective?

As a rule, a loft conversion is more cost-effective than an extension because a basic loft conversion does not require any structural alterations. A roof light loft conversion can set you back between £18,000 and £25,000, with prices increasing if you prefer more labour-intensive dormer or mansard styles. Extensions are more difficult to gauge from a price perspective as it depends on the size of your plans and property type. You can expect to pay £1,350-£2,250/m² on average for a single-storey house extension. Both options will need to factor in labour costs, surveys and insurance. 

Which is the most disruptive? 

Any major building renovation comes with a level of disruption, but what is more disruptive – a loft conversion or a house extension? Whilst the topic is subjective, loft conversions tend to be less disruptive. 

Loft conversions are typically less troublesome because the work is being carried out in an area of the house not generally in use, with a basic roof light conversion taking about four weeks to complete – with more elaborate loft conversions taking up to 16 weeks. You also need to take into consideration stair access, which could add another level of disruption. Extensions can vary greatly, but a single-storey house extension can take roughly 12 weeks to complete – yet all that upheaval can be more than worth it if you end up with your dream kitchen. 

Does a loft conversion add more value than a house extension?

Building a loft conversion or house extension means you get to enjoy the day-to-day benefits of extra space – plus add further value to your home. However, which option offers the best return on investment? This question is difficult to answer as it depends on the size of the space being extended and its intended use. A typical kitchen extension can add between 5% and 10%, whilst an extension that adds an extra bedroom could see an uplift of 20%. Likewise, a loft conversion completed to a high standard could see a value increase of between 20% and 25% – especially if it features a bedroom and en-suite bathroom.

Which has the most practical space?

Many factors will determine whether or not you opt for a loft conversion or house extension, including your property type, budget and lifestyle and if it’s even viable. You need at least 2.2M floor-to-ceiling headroom to accommodate a loft conversion as well as access for stairs. The benefit of an extension is that it is more versatile and suitable for most properties – if you are willing to sacrifice some external space. Think about how much use you will get out of each option and any other considerations like planning permission to help settle on your decision. 

Loft conversion vs house extension: final thoughts

Ultimately, when it comes to deciding on having a loft conversion or extension – there is no right or wrong answer. Both options represent an excellent way to increase your living space and the overall value of your home. Consider both the practical implications and the use of the space when making your decision. A high-quality loft conversion or an extension should blend seamlessly with the rest of your property – that’s where James Delamere come in. We are building experts with years of experience in building your dream home extension or loft conversion. Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help you with your property transformation. 

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