Staircases for Loft Conversions – Design Tips and Ideas From an Expert
This loft conversion question was answered by Ian Wilkins of IWA Surveying and Planning in Kent.
Q: I’m designing my loft conversion – what rules do I need to consider when thinking about the staircase for a loft conversion?
A: It’s important for all conversions to comply with building regulations; they should also be geometrically designed so they’re easy to use and also aesthetically pleasing. Here’s some advice on what you need to know about the staircase for your loft conversion.
One of the most important aspects of your loft conversion, in both a practical and aesthetic sense, is your new loft staircase. Ensuring that the new staircase provides adequate access to your loft will have a large bearing on the success over you overall project. In addition to this, you must also ensure that you comply with building regulations.
Stairs for Loft Conversion
Loft conversion stairs need to ensure that they provide adequate access to the loft space to satisfy building regulations. The usual answer for this is to install a traditional flight of stairs; these comply with building regulations and are overall a good choice. However, sometimes space doesn’t allow for this type of staircase.
Regulations for Loft Conversion Stairs
In order to make sure there is adequate fire safety for your house, a new staircase serving the loft conversion will be needed. If there isn’t enough room for a full staircase you may be able to use a space saving option. However, retractable stairs or ladders are not acceptable. The recommended headroom at the top of the staircase to your loft is 2 meters; however space comes at a premium with loft conversions, so depending on your circumstances you may get away with 1.8 meters. For more information regarding loft conversion stair regulations contact your local authority; if you’re hiring a professional loft conversion company, they will be able to give you further advice on building regulations.
A Few Tips & Ideas for Installing Loft Conversion Stairs
Staircases for loft conversions often come in spiral designs. These spiral staircases are a quirky design element, however, bear in mind they are not the most practical staircase for loft conversions if you plan on moving a lot of furniture up there! A floating-step staircase, as shown in the picture above is another quirky option, however, if you have young children it’s probably not a good idea. If you want something simpler then a standard wooden staircase could be the answer. For a contemporary look, go for metal, perspex or even solid glass steps if you want a really unique design.
Once you have decided on the type of stairs, you will need to consider if you are going to be purchasing a bespoke design or a ready-made staircase. The ready-made option is usually cheaper, however depending on the complexities of the project; you may be forced to pay for a bespoke design to ensure that it fits properly and provides adequate safety.
Once you have installed your staircase, don’t forget to utilise the space underneath. You presumably wanted the loft converted to allow for extra space, so don’t let this bit go to waste. You could consider turning it into a storage cupboard, for example.
How much will a Staircase for a Loft Conversion Cost?
This will obviously depending on the quality and scale of the project, but on average, a traditional flight of stairs for your loft conversion will cost between £700 and £1,000, with spiral staircases costing more like £1,000 to £2,000. Whilst this might seem a lot, when you consider the average loft conversion costs £20,000 to £30,000 all together, it isn’t so bad!