When planning loft conversions the focus is usually on the space it will create and how its use.
But one area that needs just as much thought is the choice of window or windows. Choosing the right windows for loft conversions is something we have lots of experience in.
While it is important you choose the best windows for practicality and aesthetics, you must also think about the safety of your family and home.
As well as allowing natural light to flood into your attic, the window also gives you a chance to see the space outside your home differently. So, let us share everything you need to consider when choosing windows for loft conversions.
Loft windows: your options
Whether you live in a suburb, a city centre or in the countryside, your loft window will give you the best views from your home.
And as attic rooms can often be the biggest, you could be forgiven for deciding to choose the largest possible. But if you choose an enormous window, it may breach planning conditions if they offer unobstructed views of a neighbour’s property. You probably wouldn’t be keen if your neighbour could see what goes on in your house!
Rooms need to ventilated and an attic room is no different. The rule of thumb is that an opening window or roof light that is one-twentieth of the room’s floor area is the right size. If you use the roof room as a bathroom or for a shower, then you will also need to install an extractor fan.
Installing adequate ventilation isn’t just about meeting regulations because an attic room can become very warm. As heat rises, it will be the warmest room in the house, and without the right amount of ventilation it could become too uncomfortable.
You will need to check with planning authorities about what windows you can install, but here are some ideas for you to consider.
There are some pretty outstanding ideas on this Pinterest collection! They certainly show that where planning conditions allow, you can add some real character to your loft conversion.
The dormer window is probably the most common type you see in loft conversions in the UK. Across the North East there are conversions that use dormer windows, particularly on bungalows.
Dormers are effectively a raised box section that rise above the original roof of the house. They are popular in bungalows because they add a bedroom to homes that have limited floor space for extending outwards. The reason you see them on terraced homes, such as those in Jesmond, is there is no scope outside the building’s boundaries.
The dormer window is perfect for homes with low-hanging ceilings in the attic. Some councils place restrictions on adding dormer windows to homes and require that they are rear facing.
A dormer window is perfect if you want to add a window seat with its commanding view of your local area. Some dormers are large enough that they allow you to fit a bedhead right up against the window. This is perfect for letting natural light from the morning sun gently wake you. Unless you like waking up at 4am fit black-out blinds.
Many loft conversion rooms tend to be quite compact. This means ensuring your design allows the maximum amount of natural light in or it risks feeling like a dark, depressing place. The extra natural light will also add the feeling that you have more space.
Skylights, which are also known as roof lights, are the best choice if your loft conversion has to utilise the slope of the roof. As they face the sky, they aren’t the best for great views – unless you are a stargazer.
They do not alter your roofline so they can’t always be easily seen from outside your property. If you live in a conservation area, such as Low Fell or Durham City, skylights are more likely to be accepted as they do not make structural alterations to your home.
Roof lanterns are similar to skylights but involve cutting a portion of the existing roof to be replaced with a glass box. It’s like having a mini glass ceiling and creates a super feature window.
Gable end windows
A gable is formed by intersecting various pitches of the roof and their construction allows you to add a stunning feature window.
You may be able to have a floor-length glass wall at the gable end. Juliet balconies open up your loft room to stunning views. This also offers a lot of aesthetic qualities to the exterior of the property.
Gable end windows need building control and planning permission. Homes in a conservation area are unlikely to have success when applying.
If you are interested in a loft conversion, speak to an experienced building company. You can contact us for more information to discuss your plans.