For most of our clients, the potential to create more space within their home is the main reason they decide to convert their loft. With house prices in North East London, Hertfordshire and Essex more than holding their own against the national average, many potential buyers are now looking to save on stamp duty and moving fees by developing their existing properties.
But what many clients don’t realise is that much of their newly discovered space could be wasted by a badly designed staircase. Loft staircases can be problematic to say the least, which is why many builders (particularly those who don’t specialise in loft conversions) will plump for the most straightforward option (rarely the best choice to make the most of the new space).
Here are a few things we always take into account when deciding on the best staircase for the job:
What is the total rise?
The total rise is the measurement from finished floor to finished floor (bottom of the bottom step to top of the top step). This measurement dictates how many risers and treads you will need on your loft staircase. The ‘going’ (tread size) should also be calculated to allow enough room for your feet to fit safely on each step without risking a slip or fall. (If your staircase has a varnish finish it may be a good idea to apply some sort of textured coating to avoid this.)
How wide can we go?
A standard flight of stairs is usually around 860mm wide. While there is no set restriction on how wide your staircase needs to be, we wouldn’t recommend building anything narrower than 600mm wide. If you are in need of a more compact staircase design, we will happily look at this for you.
Straight flight or corner flight?
Your choice of a straight flight or corner flight staircase will normally be dictated by the total length of the staircase, which includes the thickness of the riser at the top and the depth of the nosing at the foot. If you would like a door at the foot of the staircase you will need to leave a space that is at least the width of the staircase when measured from the bottom step to the door. For safety reasons, there should be a gap of at least 500mm from the edge of the open door to the edge of the bottom step.
The most common corner flight staircases have a 90 degree turn and a small landing in order to accommodate the width of the staircase. We usually install a landing in front of the door that enters your loft room, and can even install a window above the stairs to make the space as light and airy as possible.
How much headroom is there?
Building regulations normally state that you must have a gap of at least 2 metres between the pitch line of your staircase and the ceiling. To get a clearer idea of how much headroom is required, stand up in your loft at the point at which the staircase will/could enter the room. If there is at least a foot between your head and the ceiling, there shouldn’t be a problem. In most cases a gap of 6 to 8 inches will still be adequate.
Staircase layout plans will usually differ from one property to the next, and whether your plans are self-drawn or designed by an architect, we will always advise on the best solution for the space you have available.
If you live in North East London, Hertfordshire or West Essex and would like to arrange a free, no obligation quotation, call us today on 01279 654 716 or fill out our online contact form.