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Martin's Blog 20/01/2010 - Bungalow Special
What is a Bungalow?
In the UK, the definition of a Bungalow is a single story building although in the US and Canada, the word, Bungalow can refer to other types of housing.
Advantages of Bungalows
The most obvious advantage of bungalows is that they are very convenient for the homeowner in that all living areas are on a single story and there are no stairs. So, bungalows are well suited to those who are mobility impaired, e.g. the elderly or those in wheelchairs. They also tend to have good driveways and large gardens.
Bungalows generally offer more privacy than two-story houses. With bungalows, strategically planted trees and shrubs are usually sufficient to block the view of neighbours. Whereas, with two-story houses, the extra height requires much taller trees to accomplish the same, and this may not be practical.
As far as developing is concerned, bungalows are easily modified and extended and they hold their value well. Often they are detached properties in sizeable plots which could be knocked down and replaced with two storey building(s).
The other important consideration affecting the relative attractiveness of bungalows is the changing demographic of our population. Whilst the stock of bungalows has remained more or less constant over past 10 years at around 1.2m, the number of people aged 70 or over in the UK has risenand this group is also expected to see further growth in coming years. Where bungalows remain popular with this group, demand will undoubtedly exceed supply.
So, when is a bungalow not a bungalow?
When it is a dormer bungalow like the one I visited whilst filming in Plymouth. This was a semi-detached property, with 3 bedrooms - one on the ground floor and the other two occupying the loft space.
There are differant types of dormer - a full dormer is where the conversion takes the roof outwards and the new living space can stretch from one side of the house to the other and from the ridge board (highest point in loft) right out to the eaves. This essentially, at its maximum extends the new floor to occupy the entire footprint of the property. Large dormer extensions generally require flat roofs as pitched roofs would tend to exceed the height of the existing roof.
A dormer loft conversion is where the loft space is turned into living accommodation and dormer windows are put into the roof to bring in light.
Converting a standard Bunglow into a dormer
Whether it is a full dormer or loft conversion that is being considered, dormers almost always require planning permission since it structurally and visually alters the property. You will also need to comply with building regulations.
When extending the loft to construct a dormer it is essential that a roof's structural stability and strength is not damaged during the building process.
The steps involved will be to:
1. Firstly you will need to have the property surveyed by a professional and building plans drawn up.
2. Then timber roof supports are installed above and below the existing roof and reinforced steel joists (RSJs) span the base and top of the dormer frame to support the weight of the ceiling and window
3. Next vertical timbers are attached onto existing roof rafters (either side of the roof aperture) to create the dormer sides (dormer walls or cheeks).
4. Since full dormers generally have flat roofs, horizontal timbers run the width of the dormer and join uprights.
5. Insulating cladding is then applied to the frame to make the structure water and weatherproof . Dormer cheeks are often clad with roofing materials such as tile or lead so the extension remains 'in keeping' with existing roof style.
6. Insulating board is intalled to the dormer frame. This maximizes the lofts heat retention capacity.
7. The dormer window is installed.
8. Plaster-boarding of internal wall of dormer over frame and insulation boards. Plastering and skimming - double application of plaster to ready the surface for a final skim and internal decoration.
9. Finally,dormer conversion is decorated with paint or wall paper if required.
To Convert or Not?
Clearly, converting a standard bungalow to a dormer is going to be costly - depending on the extent to which you will be extending the accommodation and so if investment is your aim, then you will need to weigh up the costs of conversion against the eventual resale value of the property. If you own a small bungalow in a popular or traditionally 'expensive' area, then the cost could be well justified. According to the Nationwide, detached bungalows can fetch up to 20% more than a semi-detached house in the same area.
To some buyers one of the major attractions of a bungalow is the opportunity they offer for extending your home, creating both space and profits. But if you do go up into the loft, converting your home into either a chalet bungalow (with Velux windows), or a domer bungalow, you may lose some of the appeal of the single storey.
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