How to keep a loft cool in summer and warm in winter
If you’re already lucky enough to have a loft room, you’ll know just how great they can be. Not only are they a good way to create more space in your home, but there are so many ways you can use the area, from creating a cosy loft bedroom to an office for working from home. But if you ever find that your loft conversion is too hot in summer and too cold in winter, you aren’t alone. In fact, struggling with temperature regulation is one of the more common complaints amongst people with loft rooms. As well as making your loft room much more comfortable, better temperature regulation can also make your home more sustainable and save you money on energy from heating an air conditioning in the long run. Fortunately, there are a number of fixes available, whether you’re looking for ways to cool your loft or warm it up. In this guide we’ll look into the reasons behind why your loft is so cold in winter or hot in summer, and share the best ways for you to cool down a loft room or warm it up.
- Why is my loft room so hot
- How to keep a loft room cool in summer
- How to cool a loft without windows
- Why is my loft so cold
- How to keep a loft room warm
Why is my loft room so hot?
There are a number of reasons you may find your loft conversion is too hot in the summer months. For one, heat naturally rises, which is why you may find the first floor of your property is often warmer than your ground floor as well. Because of this, it will usually be the hottest at the top of the house, which will be the loft. This is particularly the case during summer, but you may also find this happens in winter too if you often have your heating on high.
An additional challenge you may come across in summer is the impact of sunlight on your property. When the sun’s rays hit the roof, it can absorb this heat and transfer to the loft or other rooms below. This is especially the case for dark coloured roof tiles, which are becoming increasingly popular in the UK
One of the reasons the loft is so hot is because British homes are built to keep in the heat, so when it gets hot outside, it can feel even hotter inside. And as most people in the UK don’t have air conditioning units, it can feel impossible to tackle the heat when it does hit us hard.
How to keep a loft room cool in summer
While you might find your loft too hot in summer, the good news is that there are ways to cool down a loft room so you can keep it a comfortable space year-round. Whether your loft is newly renovated or you’ve had it for a long time, the following tips are sure to help you cool down your loft conversion.
Add more windows
One of the best ways to keep the space cool is to add more windows to your loft. Windows that open can bring fresh air and a breeze to the room, which can cool it down by allowing the hot air to escape. On particularly hot days you should avoid opening the windows as the temperature may be higher on the outside than the inside. But, fortunately, hot days like these are rare in the UK so you’re sure to benefit from installing more windows.
For loft spaces, many people opt for pitched roof windows as sloped roofs are most common in the UK. Not only do they provide more ventilation for the room, but these types of windows can let in more natural light than normal ones to make your space feel bright even on dreary days. As well as being able to open the windows fully for ventilation, many pitched roof windows on the market also come with vents so you can keep the windows shut and still let fresh air into the room. But you can also benefit from this extra air flow if you have a flat roof, in the form of flat roof windows.
When it comes to installing the windows, you should carefully consider where you position them. If you’re installing pitched roof windows and looking to keep the space cool, it’s a good idea to install them on opposite sides of the room to allow for airflow. You may also want to install at least one of the windows in a shady spot, so you can keep them open even on bright days when you want to avoid heating up the room with bright sunlight.
The good news is that most window fittings don’t require planning permission, so you shouldn’t have a big wait before being able to install them. To find out more about this, check out our guide on planning permission for roof windows and skylights.
Choose double or triple glazing
It may sound counter productive when looking for ways to cool a loft down in summer, but window glazing isn’t just for the winter months. Double and triple glazed windows can minimise heat transfer. This means that as well as being able to keep heat in the house in cold weather, these windows can also prevent the outside heat from coming in throughout the warmer months by trapping the hot air between the panes of glass.
As well as this, these glazing options can keep the noise out and even prevent UV rays from damaging and discolouring your furniture and decorations, so it really is a win-win. Here at RW4Y, we offer roof windows with both double and triple glazing, so you can keep your loft a comfortable temperature no matter the weather outside.
Have good quality blinds fitted
If you already have good quality double and triple glazed roof windows and you’re still wondering “why is my loft room so hot”, it could be down to the sunlight heating up your room. While roof windows are great for letting air flow throughout the space when they are open, they also let a lot of sunlight into the room. Although this creates a lovely bright room filled with natural light, it can also heat it up which is the last thing we want in summer.
Fortunately, good quality and durable blinds are an easy fix to this dilemma. By keeping the blinds down when the sun is shining through, you can prevent heat from building up in the home and you can still leave the window vent open for fresh air to keep your room cool. The great thing about blinds is that they can be locked in any position, so if the sun is only coming through the top half of the window, you can block this out and leave the blind halfway up to still allow some natural light in the room.
Blackout blinds are particularly effective when it comes to blocking out sunlight, making them not just great for bright days, but an ideal choice for loft bedrooms too. Another good choice for lofts which are too hot in summer is venetian blinds, as fresh air can flow through the slats even when closed to cool down the room.
Blinds aren’t just for installing inside the home either. External blinds can stop your loft from overheating in warm weather as you can open the window fully and still get complete protection from the sun. If you want to find out more about whether they’re right for you, read our guide on upgrading to external roof window blinds.
How to cool a loft without windows
The best way to keep a loft room cool is through good quality windows and blinds. If you’re looking for how to cool a loft without windows, there are a number of other methods you can try, but it’s always best to have these cooling methods in addition to windows rather than instead of them.
Increase loft ventilation
While mostly associated with keeping a house warm, good quality insulation is a great way to keep a loft room cool through the summer months. Just like with window glazing, insulation acts as a temperature barrier, so it doesn’t let cold air escape in the hot weather. You can insulate your roof, walls, and even your floors to have better temperature control in your home. You can find out more about these types of insulation in our guide to saving energy at home.
Most lofts will already have insulation and it should be the case of just topping it up, or potentially replacing it for another kind if you don’t think the one you have is affective. Fortunately, insulation is often easy to install yourself, although you may want to consider getting professional help if you’ve never done it before.
To see whether your loft needs more insulation, measure the thickness of the insulation already there if you can, which should be around 2.7cm. If you can’t do this, simply walk around your loft room and see if you can feel any heat spots coming through, or cold and breezy spots if you’re doing your check in the winter.
Check your loft insulation
If your loft is too hot in summer, ventilation is key. Windows are great at keeping the loft ventilated, but there are a number of other types of ventilation besides windows you should have in your loft too. Lofts with no ventilation don’t allow heat to escape, making not just the loft very hot, but raising the temperature for the rest of the house too. Loft ventilation doesn’t just help you control the temperature in your loft and the wider home, but it can prevent mould and the damage it causes, so good quality ventilation is a really worthwhile investment.
There are a number of types of ventilation you can install in your loft, with one of the most popular being soffit vents. These are small plastic vents installed under the eaves of a roof, usually fitted after a house has already been built. The parts needed for ventilation are usually very affordable — a soffit vent in itself is usually no more than £2. However, they should be fitted by a professional which will of course add to the cost. The good news is that fitting the vents should take no more than a day max, so you should feel the benefits quickly.
Change your roof tiles
The colour of your roof tiles can actually impact how hot your house becomes in the summer months, especially your loft. This is because darker tiles will absorb the heat and transfer at least some of it into the home, where are light coloured roof tiles will reflect the heat to keep the home cool. And as darker roof tiles are becoming more common in the UK and the average summer temperatures are rising, this could create problems for us in the near future.
Although this isn’t a change worth making if your loft is too hot for just a week or so in summer, it could be worth considering if you’ve exhausted every other option and you still find your loft is too hot. And even if you choose not to do it soon, it’s worth bearing this in mind when it’s time to get a new roof.
Upgrade your flooring
If you have a large fluffy carpet installed in the room, this may explain why the loft is too hot in the summer. This is because they’re very effective at retaining heat, which is great for the winter months but the last thing you want in an already hot loft room.
If you’re looking for a flooring which will help the loft stay cool, most other types of flooring other than carpet should suffice. If you have a loft bathroom or ensuite, ceramic and stone tiles are particularly great for keeping the room cool, as is durable hardwood flooring. But even more affordable flooring options like vinyl do a much better job at reducing heat than carpet, as they don’t soak up the warmth from the sunlight. As well as being able to keep the loft cool, all you need to do is add a large rug in the winter months to help keep it warm again.
Just like with changing your roof tiles, this isn’t a change worth making if your loft is just too hot in the peak of summer for a short period. But if you haven’t started your loft renovation yet or you’re looking to give the whole room a refresh, opting for a hard flooring as opposed to carpet could be a great option for you.
Why is my loft so cold?
More people tend to struggle with lofts being too hot than too cold. That being said, it isn’t uncommon for people to complain of cold loft rooms, especially in the winter months. If you’re wondering why your loft conversion is so cold, it’s likely down to an issue with your insulation. Heat rises which is why many people struggle with their loft being hot. But if there is not adequate insulation, this heat cannot stay in the house. In fact, in a poorly insulated home, a quarter of the heat can be lost from the roof[i].
You may also have cold roof insulation, which means that the flooring of the roof is well insulated to keep the house cold, but the roof is not. This means that while the rest of the house might be toasty in the winter, the loft is left feeling very cold.
You can check how well your roof is insulated in winter by simply walking around the loft room to try and find cold spots. You should also check the roof on a frosty morning and compare it to the neighbours. If your roof has little to no frost on and your neighbours has a significant amount, this is likely an insulation issue as the escaping heat can melt frost off a roof.
There are a number of types of insulation materials available which are great for both summer and winter, the most popular of which being fiberglass, mineral wool, and foam. Speak to a professional if you’d like to know which would work best in your property. If you’re looking to insulate the roof in your loft, make sure to check out our collection of roofing membranes. These can be installed in your loft as part of a membrane roofing system, which are usually used on a flat roof to give them a watertight covering, but can also minimise heat loss.
If you have good quality insulation which has been installed well and you’re still struggling with the chill, there are a variety of different tricks you can try to warm your loft up.
How to keep a loft room warm
Just like with cooling down your loft, there are a number of ways to keep a loft room warm and comfortable. And fortunately, many of the methods for cooling down your loft can also be used to warm it up in the winter months, so you can keep the room comfortable all year.
Add more double or triple glazed windows
While windows are mostly associated with letting fresh air in, they can be useful when it comes to warming a loft too. The sun shining through the windows is a great way to warm the room up naturally, as up to 87% of the homes heat can be gained through windows. And if it gets too hot, you can simply open the window vents or shut the blinds to solve this problem.
Window glazing can also play a big part in keeping a loft warm. Just like double and triple glazing can protect the home from extreme heat in summer, it can also keep the home warm in winter. The gap between the two panes of window on double glazed windows prevents heat transfer. While glass is a good conductor, the air bubbles in the gap between aren’t which therefore stops the heat inside from escaping. Double glazed windows are enough for most of us, but if your loft gets particularly cold you may want to upgrade to triple glazing for extra protection.
When it comes to installing windows, it’s a good idea to have at least one south-facing window if your loft often gets too hot. This is because they let in more daylight than north-facing windows, without the glare that comes with east and west facing-ones, as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
Choose the right blinds
As well as blocking sunlight in the summer to keep the room cool, blinds can warm up your loft by keeping the heat inside the home. Blinds add another layer which warmth has to pass through in order to escape, so it does a great job at keeping heat in the home when combined with double or triple glazing. However, for the blinds to be most effective at keeping the heat in, they should be the right size and fitted well to prevent warm air from leaking through the gaps.
When it comes to choosing the right blind, blackout ones are great at keeping warmth in as they tend to be quite thick. Roller blinds can also be effective as they provide complete window coverage.
Install more radiators
One of the best ways to keep your loft toasty is by installing more radiators in the room. They can heat up your room quickly and give you complete control over the temperature of your loft. However, they are usually connected to your central heating system, so it’s important to ensure that your current system is powerful enough to accommodate the radiators before adding them.
Most people have small loft spaces, but fortunately radiators aren’t as big and bulky as they used to be. There are plenty of slim and compact modern models which don’t take up too much room, such as flat panel radiators. You can use a BTU calculator to find out the right size and number of radiators for your space.
Consider underfloor heating
If you’re looking to make a big investment to keep your loft warm, underfloor heating is an option you may want to consider. It is a big expense so you may want to try other more affordable changes before you invest, but it does come with many benefits. One benefit is that underfloor heating can be used separately from the central heating system, so if you have a particularly cold loft, you can put the temperature up higher than the rest of the house. It also covers the whole floor area, so there won’t be any chilly spots which the heat can’t reach.
Underfloor heating is usually chosen for loft bathrooms, but you can use it in any type of loft room to keep it warm. You can use underfloor heating with most types of flooring, including carpet. However, it is most often used to warm up hard floors, which can get especially chilly in the winter months.
Decorate with soft furnishings
While it won’t make as big a difference as the other additions discussed, adding soft furnishings will still help keep your loft room warm. A large, thick rug is particularly effective when it comes to keeping a room with hard floors warm as it adds an extra layer of insulation. But even small additions like throws, cushions, and weighted blankets for bedrooms can help make your loft that extra bit toastier. When shopping for soft furnishings, opt for fleece and wool products as these are particularly effective.
After reading this guide, you should have a good idea of why your loft is so hot or cold, and a few ideas for how to cool a loft for the summer and warm it up in the winter. No matter whether you’re looking to heat it up or cool it down, good quality windows with blinds and glazing are sure to help.
Here at RW4Y, we have a fantastic array of pitched roof windows, including conservation roof windows, centre-pivot roof windows, and electric roof windows, as well as flat roof windows and domed windows. If you’re looking for easier access to your loft, we also stock a great collection of loft ladders, so browse our wide range today.
And if you’re looking for more advice on loft renovations, make sure to check out the advice on our knowledge hub. Here you can find out about loft conversion planning permissions and loft conversion costs, discover loft storage ideas, get inspiration for unique loft conversions, and much more.