Is Your Loft Suitable For A Conversion?

Is Your Loft Suitable For a Loft Conversion…

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Well, most lofts can be converted to something or other. I’ve been in “roof rooms” in 300 year old cottages which Quasimodo would have had trouble standing up in….. but kids love them!

Scaling the Heights

Amazingly, other than above the stairs, there are no regs. governing ceiling heights, so if you can legally get a stair in, then start crawling around on your hands and knees, “officialdom” couldn’t care less!

Remember, it’s very likely that the new loft floor will be about 5 inches higher than the top of the existing joists AND it may be necessary to fit insulation under the existing roof rafters which, after fixing plasterboard to create a ceiling, might further increase that height by 2 inches.

A Rough Guide

As a general rule the steeper the slope (pitch) the greater the potential living space. Houses built before the 1960's are easier to convert because roofs were usually constructed from individual rafters (the traditional rafter and purlin roofs). This is ideal for a loft conversion as it usually has a reasonably steep pitch and relatively clear space between the supporting framework.

Since the 1960's many roofs have been built from 'trussed rafters'. These are factory assembled triangular wooden frames which result in a lower pitch with more struts. Converting a roof constructed like this is a more complicated process as it requires timbers to be comprehensively rearranged. (And possibly the roof raised, which may not be allowed).

Stair Master

Where you put the new stairs, (
you have a choice?), or more likely, where the stairs dictate they will be going, is a vital consideration which may well dictate that a conversion isn’t possible.

new stairs will get built over the existing ones, which usually means a full dormer window at the top of the new stair, on the side of the new loft conversion. This can sometimes be utilised as a small “landing” area, which will help when complying with the fire regs.

Constructing the new stair over the existing one usually means that only a small area of the
existing first floor is affected. If this isn’t possible, an existing first floor room will have to be converted, which means it will get smaller. What you definitely must avoid is loosing an existing bedroom altogether; just to get the stairs in. This sort of negates the whole process a just a tad!

A Guide To The Process of Converting a Loft