The staircase is an important part of creating the wow factor in any loft conversion, but it’s also one the most complicated elements to get right. It’s the central piece of the room that determines how the room will be shaped and how someone will first enter the new area you will have created. Jeffery and Wilkes are London’s leading loft conversion specialists.
If the aim of your loft conversion is to create space, you won’t want the staircase to steal too much from the floor above or below; if you are going for that ‘wow factor’, a purely functional staircase might not make quite the right first impression.
It’s also important to get an expert to work out if the new staircase position will achieve the correct pitch and head-height clearances. Specialist loft conversion companies and good architects should have no problem advising on your options.
Let’s consider what kind of staircase you may require : –
Types of Staircase
To minimise impact on space, ideally you should have your loft staircase added above the staircase you already have. You need to consider how it will fit around your first floor landing without making it feel too cramped. The dimensions of your staircase will all have an impact on these factors and should be considered by you and your contractors when looking at the type of staircase you will have.
Straight stairs work well because they are easy to build and mould into the theme of the house. They do require a fair amount of space as a landing needs to be created.
A quarter staircase is built with corners and small landings on each 90° turn. If there is not enough space to create a straight staircase, then this can often provide a good alternative.
A half staircase is even more compact than a quarter staircase; but instead of providing a 90° turn, a half staircase creates a 180° turn and uses even less space.
A winding staircase curves in on itself until it reaches the next floor; the treads are larger on one side and thinner on the other as you move in a circular shape.
Coiled up a little more than the winding staircase, the spiral staircase gets its name from its spiral like shape. These can be big space savers because the steps create an upwards spiral and there is no need for a landing. These can be problematic to achieve building regulations and are often not very practical when the stairs are being used frequently.
Styles and finishes
If you want the stairs to stay in keeping with the style of the existing house, ensure the posts and spindles are specially moulded to match. Some mix and match hardwood varnished handrails, but painted softwood spindles. If you fancy a completely different and modern style, think about glass panels or steel spindles which can set off a unique contrast.
Here are some thoughts on style and design of your staircase.
Wood –a great option all round if you are matching your staircase with the ones you have already.
If you are fully carpeting your staircase a standard softwood staircase should suffice, but if you are having a feature half carpet or even varnishing the entire staircase, a quality wood like oak is a must.
Glass Balustrade – glass will help create light both on your existing floor and loft. It can also create the illusion that your stairs are not taking up much space.
Open Risers – have you thought about having treads that look like they are floating? This also allows more light to filter into the hallway. Not a great option though if there are young children in the house dropping toys through the gaps!
Decorative Treads – these traditional treads can really enhance a staircase, rather than having a closed string. It opens the staircase and makes it feel part of a grand style hallway. This option is perfect for large open-plan hallways.
The perfect staircase to your new room will set the scene to the new environment you will create. Whether you are hoping to give your children excitement when they visit their play area or yourself the enticement you need to go to your studio or the motivation you need to visit that in-house gym, make your staircase a doorway to something that will give you a ‘wow’ feeling with each and every step.
Join us again for part 5 of our 8 part guide to your ideal loft conversion – Insulating, heating and lighting