Loft Conversion Stairs Costs and Considerations
Loft staircases can be fitted with a door either at the bottom on the first-floor landing or at the top of the staircase to ensure privacy from the main household. Loft conversion stairs cost as low as £300 particularly if you are fitting it yourself. But it is possible to pay significantly more than that, up to around £1,500-£2,000 depending on the height of the staircase, the width of the new staircase, the materials chosen, the complexity of the design and not forgetting any extras like carpeting and handrails.
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Much of the focus with a loft conversion is what you are going to use the new space for – the range of exciting fresh accommodation possibilities are endless so it is easy to concentrate on these and overlook how you are actually going to gain access to the new space. Residential loft conversions are accessed by a loft staircase.
When you are thinking about how to access your new loft space, the last thing you want is to have to pull down a folding ladder every time you want to go up there. Staircases are far safer than ladders as they are installed with level steps and handrails and can be a real design feature on the floor below particularly if you choose a spiral staircase. In any event, loft ladders are only permitted for lofts which are used for storage purposes; loft conversions must be accessed by a staircase under modern Building Regulations if they access either bathrooms or bedrooms. This article reviews loft conversion stair costs and the influencing factors.
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Planning your new staircase
Loft conversion stairs costs depend on a number of factors that are addressed when you're planning where the stairs will go.
- Layout – consider how much room you have to work with on your first-floor landing and the impact the staircase will have on access to the existing rooms on this floor. It is preferable to follow the new staircase on from the existing staircase but sometimes there is insufficient room to do this. Where do you want the staircase to feature in your new loft conversion? It is usually easier and more convenient to have the top of the staircase appear to the side of the loft space to maximise your interior design opportunities and so it doesn’t get in the way
- Style – do you want a straight staircase or one that has curves or bends around at a certain point? The curves can be gradual so effectively creating a spiral staircase or they can be more sharply angled in a Z-style producing a square, geometric look
- Materials – there is an almost unending range of staircase materials available depending on your preference and your budget. Choose from steel, oak, teak or aluminium
- Finish – are you going to carpet the stairs or leave them plain? If they are wood, will you opt for a natural wood varnish finish although this can be slippery?
- Building regulations – your staircase plans must comply with modern Building Regulations which will be focused on structural integrity and safety aspects. Building Regulations stipulate that there must be at least 2 metres of headroom on every step of a new staircase and that the staircase must be pitched to a maximum of 42 degrees. If the staircase exceeds 36 steps then a bend or a curve should initiate a change of direction. If the steps are less than 1 metre wide then you will need to install a handrail on one side and if the steps are more than 1 metre wide then you will usually need a handrail on both sides
Loft staircases can be straight, curved to a degree or spiral. The choice of which to have usually depends on a few factors:-
- The amount of available space and ease of access
- Who is going to fit the staircase; straight loft staircases are much easier for the DIY enthusiast to tackle than a spiral staircase
- Choice of material
Benefits of a spiral staircase
Spiral staircases have lots of advantages apart from the fact that they can make a really stylish feature. These include:-
- Spiral staircases are great space savers and take up a minimal amount of room on your first-floor landing
- Spiral staircases are quick to install and easy to maintain
- They are available in a huge range of designs, styles and shapes so you are bound to find one which integrates into your current home interior
- Spiral staircases can be modelled to suit your existing accommodation and match current materials and decoration
- They are commonly a very cost-effective choice
The loft staircase is often something of an afterthought compared to the main event of the new and spacious rooftop accommodation. But the loft staircase is a really integral part of how well the new loft conversion blends with the rest of the house.
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Will fitting myself reduce loft conversion stairs costs?
There are lots of self-fit loft staircase kits available many of which are priced at under £500 which will lower the cost of your loft conversion stairs. Most of these are straight although there are some which have a very slight curve; these are typically priced between £700 and £1,000.
Key factors to consider when choosing a loft staircase
- Small areas tend to only accommodate a loft staircase which is straight and this doesn’t always inspire confidence for the user. There are some L-shape space-saving designs which are ideal for small areas. Always pay attention to the width of the step and the provision of handrails if the staircase is steep
- For added safety on a space-saving loft staircase, consider the alternating tread design which is also called, ‘paddle stairs’. These encourage the user to climb the stair safely by encouraging them to place the correct foot on the largest part of the tread
- Loft stairs can be a design feature in their own right so don’t treat them as either an afterthought or something totally functional and of secondary importance to the new accommodation which lies above. You can hire a designer who will not only make the best use of your available space but will ensure your new loft stairs are safe and look great too
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