If you’re running short on space in your home, a loft conversion can enable a relatively cost-effective expansion – giving you a new bedroom, workout space or even a socialising area. Unfortunately, many types of loft conversions require significant modifications to the home – with changes to the roofline as you install box windows to create more space.
If you don’t want to bother with this expense or the hassle of getting planning permission, a Velux loft conversion is often the way to go.
Here, you can expect a Velux loft conversion to start out for as little as £20,000. However, rates can go up over £35,000 depending on what you want. Of that, most is labour, but you’ll also have to pay for insulation, flooring, potential supports for the new ceiling, Velux windows and, of course, the interior finishing.
What Is A Velux Loft Conversion?
A Velux loft conversion is a conversion that retains the existing roofline and dimensions of your loft. Here, you remove roofing and replace it with Velux windows, which fit into the angle of the roof – minimising the amount of work and structural changes to be done.
This also minimises the amount of space in the loft conversion. For example, with a shell conversion you’ll change the height of one or more of the walls. That’s also true with a dormer conversion.
However, these loft conversions can cost as much as 4x the price of a Velux conversion. A Velux conversion requires that you already have a large amount of usable space in the loft – you’re mostly just adding windows and insulation.
On the other hand, a Velux loft retains the slanted walls, which limits the usability of the space under the walls. For example, if you’re installing a bedroom, you can’t put in a floor-to-ceiling wardrobe. However, you can build a wardrobe in to maximise the usage of the space. So, you’ll need more creativity to optimally use the space.
Velux conversions also rely on a significant amount of glass. Some only feature one or two windows. But, if you have a good view from the space, it’s feasible to turn an entire roofline into glazing – meaning you’ll maximise light and visibility from the room.
Velux Loft Conversion Prices*
Velux loft conversions can range between £20,000 and over £30,000.
However, costs depend on labour rates, the cost of permissions, the state of your ceiling and if you need any extra work to ensure your loft is suitable as a living area.
|Windows||£267-£1,500 per window||£40-£150 per window|
|Drywall and Plaster||£250-£600||£300-£800|
*Please note these costs are based on quotes at the time of writing in May 2023. Actual costs are subject to change and may be different at the time of reading.
These prices can vary significantly depending on factors like whether you want a bathroom, how much glazing you want and the condition of the ceiling.
- Simple loft conversion with 2 windows – £20,000- £25,000
- Loft conversion with full glass wall – £25,000- £35,000
- Velux loft conversion with an ensuite costs – £35,000+
Of course, installing an ensuite bathroom may not cost that much if your other bathroom is right underneath – but it could cost over £10,000 to move the bathroom upstairs.
There are also plenty of additional costs you’ll have to consider:
Factors Which Influence Your Velux Dormer Conversion Cost
A loft conversion can change in cost by tens of thousands of pounds. While labour and materials are normally the most influential, they can be broken down to the following cost factors.
Cost of Labour
Your loft conversion is likely to take 4-8 weeks. That means paying 2-4 people a full-time rate to be at your home doing work. With standard rates across the UK at £150 per day, per person, you’re looking at an average of £6,000 to £24,000 in labour.
In most cases, Velux conversions are the simplest option. 4- 5 weeks is a very normal installation timeline. So, rates will depend a lot on how many people you have. In addition, it’s very likely that if you live in London or Wales, you’ll pay more per day. In fact, you could pay £200 or even £250 per person, per day.
You’ll also have to pay more for specialty workers. For example, if you need a crane, you’ll pay £250+ per day for the operator. And, if you need electricians and plumbers, their day rates are usually around £250 per day as well.
However, you’ll rarely need specialty work for as long, so it will make up a much smaller part of the total cost of your loft conversion. a
Condition of the Floor
It’s important to have a structural engineer check the condition of the floor when converting a loft. For example, most loft floors are not intended to support the weight of a room with people in it. This means you’ll typically need steelwork to reinforce the floor – usually steel I and h beams – which cost an average of about £66 per metre.
This works out to an average of about £4,000 in material costs for reinforcing the floor in a 30 m2 loft. That’s before the cost of engineering (£450- £1,200) and before the cost of labour (typically 2-3 days of full-time labour).
Still, you won’t be able to skip this step, because it ensures the safety of your structure.
Scaffolding and Support Required
If your construction team has to do work from the outside, they need scaffolding.
In most cases, Velux conversions mean stripping back large portions of the roofing and under-roof material to install windows. This means you’ll need a scaffold to ensure worker safety. You’ll also need a temporary roof or roof cover while the work is being done.
If you live in a traditional 2-storey home, scaffolding of this nature can cost up to £4,000 for rental, delivery, construction and pickup. If your home is taller, you may end up paying even more.
The more changes you have to make to the structure of your home, the more expensive the conversion will be. One of the advantages of a Velux conversion is that you have a minimal amount of structural changes.
However, you’ll still have to remove roofing to install windows. You may also have to install steelwork to support the floor. And, you’ll have to modify the floor to install the staircase, which may mean rebuilding the entire floor. That will cost a significant amount of money and costs will be both labour and materials.
Cost of Materials
Materials can be significantly expensive.
For example, structural steelwork typically costs around £66 per metre. Glazing starts at £250 per window and goes up to over £1,000. Insulation normally costs from £5 per m2. Flooring typically costs from about £40 per m2.
However, you can always increase costs. For example, the highest-end Velux windows cost about £2,000 each. The highest end flooring can cost over £200 per m2. And, that’s also extreme when you consider the cost of bathroom units, which can range from £100 to over £6,000 depending on brand and material.
So, the cost of materials can be hugely impactful. You can make budget-conscious choices or you can look for high-end and luxury materials. It’s up to you.
Amenities like bathrooms and kitchens can add thousands to the cost of your loft conversion. However, they aren’t necessary.
Installing an extra bathroom will normally cost at least £8,000 extra – especially as you’ll need planning permission. On the other hand, you can install a small space with a sink and a counter for less than a thousand.
If you’re installing a Velux loft with no bathroom, the only thing you’ll need is Part P safety inspections and council notification. That will cost £170-£690 depending on where you live – provided you’re working with an electrician in the Competent Person’s Register.
If you want to install a bathroom, you’ll also need planning permission to do the work. That will cost about £250 extra.
It will also mean you need drawn up plans from your structural engineer, which can cost as much as £450. However, as you typically want to have a structural engineer consulting on the project anyway, it may not cost you any extra.
5 Benefits Of Velux Windows In A Converted Loft
Velux loft conversions can give you the opportunity to cheaply convert your loft into usable living space.
While there are other benefits, the following 5 are the largest:
1. Low Cost
Velux conversions can cost as little as 1/3rd of a dormer conversion. That’s because you’ll be able to convert the space without rebuilding the roof. That can save you thousands in steelwork and in structural design.
In fact, the average cost of a Velux conversion is just £27,000 versus up to £65,000 for a shell conversion.
2. Quick to Install
Removing roofing and installing windows will still take time. However, you can often fit a Velux conversion in as little as four weeks.
On the other hand, a shell conversion will typically take 8 weeks. This halves the cost of labour. It also reduces the amount of hassle and inconvenience you have to live with.
3. Minimal Permissions Required
If you’re not fitting an ensuite bathroom, you won’t have to apply for planning permission at all.
On the other hand, dormer and shell conversions that expand the space almost always need permissions. That increases costs and timelines – and runs the risk of council saying no to your original plans.
4. Light and Airy Space
Fitting your loft with windows means you’ll have the advantage of opening up the space.
Big windows in a loft mean you get good views, plenty of light – and very few neighbours who can see in. That can make for a very attractive bedroom or sleeping space.
5. Let Out the Heat in the Summer
Velux windows open, meaning you can use them to vent hot air in the summer. That will offset your cooling bills, simply because hot air rises.
And, while glass can be less insulating than roofing, double glazing still provides enough insulation to keep your home warm in the winter.
Do Velux Loft Conversions Add Value?
Most experts suggest that a loft conversion can add between 10 and 20% to the value of your home. However, this valuation is dependent on factors like the size of your home, the number of bathrooms and how well done the loft is.
For example, if there’s barely any usable space in the loft, it may not add any value. Or, if you only have one bathroom on the ground floor – adding a bedroom to the loft might be inconvenient.
A well-done loft conversion means considering other factors that impact the useability of the home. If you take everything into consideration and have a well-done and well-appointed space, it will add value to the home.
Velux Loft Conversion Ideas
A loft can turn into almost any kind of space. In most cases, you can simply treat it as a new empty room in your house.
Bedroom loft conversions are popular because they give you a large extra bedroom – ideal for creating a new master bedroom or for giving a teen their own room.
That’s also a great idea if you have to expand for a family but don’t want to move. However, it is important to keep in mind that bathroom locations can be deal-breakers for buyers if the bedroom is in the loft.
Small loft spaces can make ideal home offices – especially as they offer quiet spaces where interruption is unlikely.
In addition, offices rarely carry much extra weight, meaning you can likely minimise total expenses on floor reinforcement.
If you’re converting a loft, you can designate it as a play area for kids most of the time. Then, as kids get older, it can be reused as a sleeping space.
Having a separate play area means kids can keep their toys in one place, without having them all over the house.
If you want a home gym, the loft can be an ideal place to put it.
However, that’s not always the case – as you may want to check and install ventilation before working out in the loft in the summer.
Lofts make great places to move socialising areas, such as for board games, hobbies, books or even cinema out of the way of other parts of the family – or into a space that’s kept empty for the purpose.
Common social spaces in lofts include board game tables, craft beer rooms, pool tables, craft storage spaces, etc.
In most cases, a Velux loft conversion will take 4-6 weeks. That should include:
- Finding a builder by requesting and comparing quotes
- Apply for planning permission (where required) 6-8 weeks in advance, after choosing a builder
- Have a structural engineer assess the floor
- Remove the loft flooring and reinforce it – 1-2 weeks
- Insulate the floor
- Run any plumbing, such as moving vents, a soil pipe, water pipes, etc. – 1-2 days
- Fit the staircase
- Replace the loft flooring
- Install scaffolding outside – 1-2 days
- Construct temporary roofing 1-2 days
- Remove the roofing – 1-3 days
- Install a frame for windows – 1-2 days
- Fit windows – 1 day
- Remove temporary roofing and scaffolding – 2 days
- Install drywall – 1-2 days
- Plaster – 1 day
- Paint – 1 day
- Fit amenities such as bathrooms – 1 day
If you have any special needs for the loft, you’ll have to adjust that planning. However, most Velux installations won’t require anything else.
Do I Need Planning Permission?
You won’t need planning permission unless you’re installing a bathroom. However, you might have to apply for planning permission if:
- You’re installing a bathroom
- You live in a flat
- Additional storeys have already been added to the property
- You’re expanding the room by more than 40-50 cubic metres from the original roof space (very unlikely with Velux conversions)
- You’re adding a veranda or balcony
- The original eaves are not being replaced
- Your roof already overhangs the outer facing wall of the house
Most of these factors are unlikely for a Velux conversion. Therefore, you’ll normally only need planning permission if you’re installing a new bathroom.
However, you’ll always have to notify building control. Notifying the local council typically costs £170. However, costs can go up to £690 in some parts of Wales and Eastern England. In addition, you’ll need a builder in the Competent Person Register to self-inspect, otherwise, you’ll have to pay another £100+ for a safety inspection.
Loft Builder Hiring Tips
A loft conversion is a big job. Choosing the right builder can make all the difference.
- Do you use original Velux or off-brand windows? Why?
- Are you registered with the Competent Person Scheme?
- Do you subcontract electricians and plumbers?
- Are you part of a trade or licensing scheme such as CIAT, FMB, RIBA or RTPI?
- Do you offer workmanship guarantees?
- Is liability insurance included?
- What about workmanship guarantees?
- Are quotes detailed and do they list everything I need?
- Do you have experience doing this kind of loft conversion?