Despite common misconceptions, there are multiple positions for a flight of stairs to be situated up to access a loft. Very often, people overlook the many possibilities and designs to make their loft conversion turn out great, such as the matter of the stairs leading up to the loft space. Feeling curious and want to know more about the various possible designs and layouts for stairs leading up to a loft? Well, be prepared to ease your curiosity with this article as it will help you achieve a greater understanding of how you should go about choosing the type and place for these stairs.
Ensure outside-in and inside-out work
While a loft conversion may look easy from the outside, a lot of planning and detailed calculations goes behind the scenes, especially when it comes to the positioning of the staircase. How the staircase is positioned will have a large impact on the amount of space available for the loft room and this can only be done through modifications to the external design.
Stairs above the original stairs
The reason why most loft access stairs are positioned right above the original staircase below is due to its effectiveness and efficiency. Hence, this explains its popularity with loft owners. Meanwhile, it is also highly recommended to take the time to think through thoroughly and discuss the stair design with your designer to check for further possibilities in regards to better alternatives before paying a hefty sum on the stairs and loft conversion.
Positioning stairs independently
On the other hand, it is also possible that you can put your staircase in a position separate from the staircase below. There are no specific rules and conditions to this possibility as it is up to your own preferences, where it is good to depart the floor below or where best to have the staircase arrive at the upper floor. Finally, come up with a plan to effectively join the two points together through a staircase.
Understand the regulations
The space inside a loft room could be maximised if we didn’t have to have an enclosed landing or fire doors. Without these elements, there would be more space and the room can be viewed visibly larger instantly. However, due to the existence of the Building Regulations, there is a requirement set on the minimum head height to be observed above any staircase. Simply put, the stairs would have to be situated at the highest part of the loft usually. The fire separation regulations also have to be followed: the top of your staircase has to be walled in by a separating door. As a result, a loft conversion is often made congested around the staircase and access landing. On the bright side, there may be alternatives available to overturn this sticky situation, do read on to see if your house allows for other designs.
Look out for alternatives
To save on the limited space available, you can solve the problem of a bulky landing enclosure taking up space upstairs by positioning the staircase into the room. In simple terms, situate the bedroom door at the foot of the stairs and provide a landing. Despite some downsides to this solution, it has its advantages in providing more space and light.
Research on the possibility of a private stair
Depending on what the loft is converted to, the regulation for fire separation varies. If your loft is converted into a bedroom, fire separation is needed. However, on the other hand, if it is converted into a private bathroom to an existing bedroom below, you do not need to have fire separation between them as a smaller access staircase would be sufficient. We recommend checking and discussing with a professional to reach a common consensus regarding the regulations before going ahead with your desired option.
Implement alternate steps
Lack of horizontal space? No need to wreck your brains as all you have to do is implement alternate step stairs. Since there is a lack of horizontal space to fit regular-shaped stairs, taking up less space as the steps are provided only on alternate sides. However, you will have to take care when you walk up these kinds of stairs, as they don’t have a lot of space for you to put both feet. When properly designed, the overall result can look rather cool. However, it may not be the best idea as a means to escape. Do check with the relevant regulatory and ensure that walking up these stairs will be feasible and comfortable enough for you and your family members.
Let the light flow in
If you are worried that there would be a lack of light in the landing area due to the stairs blocking out light from above, just insert a glass floor panel! The glass will do the trick as it allows daylight from the loft to seep through to the landing below. Hence, no need to fret that it would be dark anymore!
Adopt an open-plan mezzanine layout for your loft
Specifically for those solos out there living in studios, you may want to consider an open-plan mezzanine for your loft space. Since it is all contained within one room, there is no need for fire doors and separating walls. However, due to regulatory purposes, it is advised to check with the Building Control before proceeding.
Sculptural and Functional
As all stairs serve the same function, which is to provide access from level to level, an important criterion to fulfil would be safety. Hence, stairs must be designed accurately to not only ensure efficient access but also safety. However, besides functionality, stairs can also be utilized to heighten sculptural features. Since stairs are built within double-height spaces, opportunities to craft visually pleasing and sculptural features exist. Therefore, there is no harm in going the extra mile to explore more alternatives besides the conventional ones. Although it might raise the budget cost, tweaking the plan for a more elegant and unique design could bring about a worthwhile sense of satisfaction.
With that, this marks the end of this article, we hope that these tips are insightful for anyone looking at creating a loft conversion. Although the stairs may seem like a small part of a loft, they are actually rather important as they are the main way you’ll access your loft. Be sure to pick the right stairs if you’re considering a loft conversion. We wish you all the best!