Although often overlooked, the staircase leading up to your new loft is an integral part of a conversion, and getting the design right is crucial to the overall success of the project. Choosing a staircase with a clever fit and style can boost the aesthetic of an ordinary loft
conversion and make the new space appear as a natural addition to your home.
Our guide below is on hand to help you understand the options available to you.
Knowing the requirements
A loft that is converted into a bedroom, bathroom, office or playroom must have a permanent staircase attached. The staircase itself must comply with building regulation standards, even if the particular loft conversion didn’t need planning permission.
The building regulations stipulate that:
The staircase must have a maximum steepness pitch of 42 degrees
The maximum number of stairs in a straight line be 16
There must be a minimum headroom height of 1.9 metres at the centre of the flight of stairs and 1.8 metres at the edges
A handrail must be provided when there is a drop of more than 600mm (this is roughly 2 steps in most households)
Space saver stairs may be used, but only if the stairs are serving a single room (with or without an en-suite)
A staircase over existing stairs -
The most logical place to erect a new staircase is in continuation with the original staircase to the top floor landing. Not only is this the most efficient design, it also appears as the most seamless -presenting your converted loft space as if it was part of the original build.
If you conveniently have enough space for this type of staircase, then this is the most obvious option. However, many homes do not have enough space at the top of their existing stairs for a new structure. Your architect will be able to advise on whether you require a different design.
A staircase from another room -
Another option is to build your staircase coming from another room on the top floor. For a less conspicuous design, it is advisable to build the stairs from the largest room. However, should you be worried about sacrificing space in a room that is well used, you may opt to build the staircase from a smaller, less used room.
Space saver staircases -
As the name suggests, these staircases are useful for when space is limited on the top floor. They are also known as “alternating tread staircases”, due to the fact that left and right treads are cut away alternatively,
forcing the person going up the stairs to step with the left, then right foot alternatively. These staircases roughly use up half the amount of space of a normal staircase and visibly are a lot more inconspicuous. They do however come with their very own set of regulations, for example;
-Space saver staircases can only be used when serving a single room (this is to minimise potential traffic on a narrow stairway)
-Space saver staircases must always have at least one handrail attached
-Space saver staircases can’t be on the only type of stairs in a dwelling
Your architect will be able to ensure compliance.