When converting your loft into an extra living space, you’ll need to think about access. We’ve got loft conversion stairs ideas to help with your planning.
While you are designing the perfect new space in your home, the stairs can often be an afterthought. But practicality, budget and aesthetics mean that it’s important to decide on your loft conversion access fairly early on in the design stages. Your new stairs should fit in with the style of the rest of your home, as well as meeting the required building and safety regulations. With our years of experience in loft conversions, Oakwood Lofts can help you explore the range of loft conversion staircase solutions available.
All loft conversions must comply with stringent building regulations in regards to access, even if the type of loft conversion you are having means planning permission is not required. The regulations regarding a loft staircase are as follows:
- A fixed staircase must be in place to provide safe access to and from the loft room
- The staircase can have a maximum steepness pitch of 42 degrees
- Minimum headroom height is 1.9m
- All risers must be equal
- A handrail must be provided when there is a drop of more than 600mm, which is about two steps.
When choosing your loft conversion stairs, safety is a major consideration. In case of a house fire, it’s important for your loft to be vacated safely. This usually excludes the sort of retractable ladders that are popular for occasional loft access. The new loft conversion has to be fire retardant, so either a fire door or hardwired interlinked smoke detectors to each habitable room must be fitted.
With the non-negotiables out of the way, it’s time to start planning the stairs to your loft conversion. Even with these stipulations in place, you still have quite a few decisions to make.
Where should I position my loft conversion staircase?
The most popular location for loft conversion stairs is over an existing staircase. This allows a seamless finish, making it look like the stairs have been there all along and that this isn’t necessarily a new addition to your home. This only works if you have sufficient room on your landing for the work. If not, you may have to sacrifice space from another room for your conversion. This works particularly well if you have a small spare room that isn’t used very often, or if you’re including the loft conversion as part of a larger scale renovation project.
If you don’t have the room to create a straight staircase to your loft, there are alternatives that need a smaller footprint. A new staircase could be split into two flights with the addition of a small landing halfway up. Another option is a winder staircase, which turns a corner as it ascends.
It’s also important to remember lighting for your newly formed staircase, so you can use them safely. If there’s no source of natural light, this can be added as part of your building project. Alternatively, we recommend adding extra artificial lighting and switches at the top and the bottom of the stairs.
We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now know what to consider before starting your loft conversion design. Talk to our experts here at Oakwood Lofts about your next project.