You have finally decided to convert your loft. Your creativity is flowing, your head is brimming with ideas, and you have already mentally decorated your new loft room. But, a challenge that most people face when planning a loft conversion is designing the loft stairs!
Mapping and designing your loft conversion stairs is a challenge for most because there are so many considerations. The staircase must comply with regulations; you have to use space in your new room and ensure the positioning of the stairs doesn’t interfere with your existing top-floor too much.
LOFT EXTENSION STAIR REGULATIONS
When you undergo a loft conversion, aspects of the work will be subject to building regulations; this is no different for your attic conversion stairs.
To be classed as a habitable room, the regulations that your loft access stairs must satisfy are:
- You must have fixed loft stairs that provide a safe access route to and from your loft
- The staircase to your loft room should have a maximum steepness pitch of 42 degrees
- All staircase risers must be of equal height
- You must have loft stairs with a handrail if your staircase has a drop of more than 600mm – you are only allowed two steps on a staircase without a handrail
- Space-saving loft stairs may be permitted, but only if the stairs are serving a single room
With all things considered, there is nothing more valuable than the advice and direction of a professional loft conversion company or a reputable architect when planning your loft conversion and its staircase entrance.
LOFT CONVERSION STAIRCASE SOLUTIONS
If you are pressed for space in your planned conversion or your existing home – don’t fret! Your architect or loft extension specialists will be able to offer you a few solutions and loft conversion stair options.
ABOVE YOUR EXISTING STAIRCASE
The most obvious and most popular placement for stairs into your loft is directly above your existing staircase. Building your loft stairs above the current staircase is practical for a few reasons – it won’t waste floor space, you won’t lose headspace, and they will blend in with the rest of your home. Of course, not all homes will accommodate this straightforward positioning, but don’t worry yet…
UTILISE THE SPACE IN ANOTHER TOP FLOOR ROOM
If structural or space limitations are preventing you from building your loft conversion stairs directly above your existing staircase, you could consider taking space out of an existing upper floor room. If you have any lesser-used rooms on your top floors, such as a spare bedroom or a storage room, it might be an idea to build your attic conversion stairs into these rooms. On the other hand, if all your top floor rooms are used equally, it might be wise to build your stairway into the largest of these rooms, so the impact on the room’s space and accessibility is not too dramatic.
SPACE SAVING STAIRS FOR LOFT CONVERSIONS
The final staircase option, and the one that raises the most eyebrows, space-saving loft stairs.
A space-saving staircase isn’t a viable option in all homes due to the fact it goes against a few of the standard building regulations for loft conversion stairs. However, due to its increased popularity and many people requiring loft stairs for small spaces, the space savers have somewhat gained their own set of regulations.
Spacesaving staircases can only be used to serve a single room with or without an en-suite to help limit the traffic on the stairs, due to its narrow width. One side of your space-saving stairs must have a handrail on at least one side and it cannot be the only staircase in the home.
Spacesaving loft stairs take up less room in your existing home and your new loft room in comparison to a regular flight of stairs. Part of each tread is cut away on alternate left and right sides. Therefore, the incline is much greater than that of a regular staircase and requiring less space for installation.
As previously mentioned, space-saving loft stairs are not approved on a lot of homes and their safety will be judged on a case-by-case basis for every home.