In recently aired episodes of long running Manchester-based soap opera Coronation Street, the lovable but somewhat doltish character Tyrone Dobbs was offered an attractive “mates rates” loft conversion deal by local builder Jason Grimshaw. Although Grimshaw’s intentions were sound, his scheming business partners decided that they were unhappy with the profit margin they stood to make on the project and decided to force apprentice Gary Windass to use cheaper materials and cut significant corners during the build.
Spoiler Alert: this is a soap so the storyline will inevitably end in tears as Tyrone falls through the ceiling and ends up in hospital with severe injuries. The nation will be left on a cliffhanger, waiting with baited breath for the next installment to see if he makes it through.
While this is a fictional story, and probably of little interest to anyone other than ‘Corrie’ fanatics, the show raises an important point for anyone considering investing in a loft conversion: choose your conversion specialist wisely.
At best, if a loft conversion goes wrong and work is executed poorly you could end up with a space that is completely unusable. Common complaints when loft conversions go wrong are that they are unbearably hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter. Not ideal, of course.
Frustratingly for those who find themselves in this position, both of these problems are totally avoidable. There is no reason why a relatively new loft conversion should not be thermally efficient if it’s built correctly.
For accredited expert providers, thermal efficiency is a high priority. They ensure that external roofing is covered with thermawrap and insulated with either loft wool or Kingspan, thereby keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
If this isn’t completed during the original build there is a lot of work involved to put it right. The best option is to remove the existing plasterboard, reinsulate and then replace it and skim.
Design flaws are another common problem with loft conversions that haven’t been thought through properly. To save time in the planning stage, providers may insist on avoiding alternations to the existing roof, meaning that the resultant space can often end up a little awkward.
While this may be perfectly reasonable in some instances, if you’re looking to complete a simple bedroom conversion for example, it’s worth considering an alternative approach if you’d like an en suite for example. A lack of planning in this regard means that you may end up with a bathroom and shower unit that you cannot stand up in…which brings us on to the subject of plumbing.
While some houses have plumbing systems that can be easily extended upwards, others do not. An experienced specialist should be able to tell you for sure whether or not this is the case and if not what your options are.
Both of these issues underline the importance of partnering with a loft conversion specialist with a long track record of successful loft conversions. Every aspect of your conversion needs to be thought through, from design to build, in order to avoid hiccups and costly mistakes.
Of course, the number one priority above all should be safety. In a previous post we gave some advice on how to choose a good loft conversion specialist – following these tips will help ensure that your build is carried out properly to certain safety standards.
Don’t let what happened in Coronation Street happen to you, if you’re considering a loft conversion, go for the best provider around, but before you do ask for testimonials and a list of their certifications!