In many houses, it can be simply impractical or expensive to have a loft conversion – the process of converting a loft into a usable room.
For example, in my house the height of the loft is quite low, even at its most central point, and if I wanted to create a usable room in there I would have to get the ceiling lowered in the bedrooms, bathroom and hallway underneath; something that as you could imagine, would cost me a small fortune!
A more common option to create an extra usable room in a house is to have a conservatory or extension built. But there is that age-old question of which is better: a conservatory, or an extension?
If you are looking to have one or the other built, but you are not sure which option you should go for, check out the pros and cons of each listed on this page, so that you can make an informed decision.
An extension is literally a brick extension to a house, which would normally have a door or set of doors leading out into the garden, and one or more windows. There are two types of extension that you can have built; a single-storey extension, and a two-storey extension:
- Single-storey extensions don’t usually require planning permission as long as they adhere to certain guidelines and limits, and are the most common type of extension to be built;
- Two-storey extensions are either built from scratch, or a single-storey extension is built on top of an already existing extension, which would turn it into a two-storey extension. These types of extension are less common and can be very costly due to the modifications required to the upstairs of a home, and the extra foundation work required to support a heavier construction. You would probably need to get extra support for two-storey extensions, so it is important that your builders or surveyors get their beam calculations right!
Apart from having an extra usable room in your home, extensions can boost the value of your property by up to 25% of its value, so it is definitely a worthwhile investment.
However, the downside is that cost: a typical 20 square metre extension will cost around £30,000 while a two-storey 40 square metre extension could set you back around £50,000!
An alternative to a brick extension is a conservatory. By definition, a conservatory is an extension to a home which has at 50% or more of its side wall area glazed, and more than 75% of its roof glazed with translucent materials like glass or polycarbonate sheeting.
Many people in the UK opt to have a conservatory installed over an extension for two reasons:
- Conservatories are cheaper to build – a 4m x 2.5m traditional conservatory would only cost you around £4,000, whereas if you wanted to get an Edwardian-style conservatory that was 5m x 3m, it would cost you around £7,250;
- Conservatories let in more heat and light – if you are a sun worshipper, then a conservatory would be ideal for your home!
The only problem with such a construction is that they tend to get quite cold in the winter and extremely hot in the summer, so you would need to invest in some blinds to help block the sun when it’s hot and perhaps a radiator for the cooler months of the year.