Choosing the right stairs for your loft conversion

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When you come to have your loft converted, there’s quite a lot that you need to think about. Obviously budgeting is essential, and above all you need consider just what you use your converted loft space for – because this will have a major bearing on the entire project. But you also need to make sure that you comply with the relevant building and safety regulations, and one aspect of this is ensuring that there is adequate access to and from your loft.

So how should you go about choosing stairs for your loft conversion? This concise guide will provide you with the pointers you need.

How much space is needed?

If you’re installing a traditional flight of stairs, then the Building Regulations state that you need to have at least two metres of headroom. However, there is some leeway here – for a loft conversion, this minimum can be reduced to 1.8m at the edges to accommodate a sloping root and 1.9m at the centre of the stairs. In terms of width, the standard is around 800mm although space-saving stairs may require less. You will also probably need to ensure that there is a landing at either end of the staircase.

Think about how you’ll be using the space

You’ll need to consider how you’re going to use your converted loft before you decide which type of staircase to install. If you’re intending to use it as a child’s bedroom or playroom, you might want to consider installing banisters that take account of this and thereby reduce the risk of accidents. On the other hand, if you’re planning to use the loft conversion as a musical practice space, it might be worth having a door installed at the top of the stairs so as to reduce the amount of sound that escapes. This should help you avoid getting into trouble with the neighbours!

Bespoke or pre-made?

Another question you’ll need to think about is whether you opt for bespoke or pre-made stairs for your loft conversion. Most people go for the former option, and there are a number of advantages to doing so. The main one is that it gives you more control over the overall design, allowing you to specify it according to your practical needs and your aesthetic preferences.

That said, pre-made stairs may well be an option depending on the measurements of your loft conversion. You will have to ensure that the measurements match absolutely so that pre-made stairs can be fitted in to place. While it is a convenient option when those measurements do match up, it’s relatively rare to find pre-made stairs which are an exact fit.

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