Hi all, I’m back with the second part of the guide. Here it is, I’ve received some valuable insights from a loft conversion Ealing company, and I hope you will find them useful. Enjoy!
- Installing windows for getting natural light
Installation of skylight windows doesn’t require many structural changes. These are comparatively easier to install. Normally the rafters on each side are doubled-up and trimmed all over the top of the cavity, whereas Dormer windows comprise of walls plus a roof and the window, giving it a complete structure. At the backside of a number of homes these may fall within the permissible development allowance and thus won’t require any formal approval. However, installing these on the frontage of a house requires formal permission. That’s why skylights are preferred and more popular.
It may be necessary to have Dormer windows for maximizing headroom inside the loft and creating usable area, but you’ll need to support these on the ridge, the highest point. Ridge beam is fixed below the apex prior to fixing of the dormer roof joists themselves plus weathering of roof. During the period when dormer windows are under construction, the loft conversion gets exposed to weather elements, necessitating the need of good temporary cover for protection against weather.
- Loft stairs
Due scarcity of space, designing the stairs is a tricky affair. You may have narrow flights in zigzag design but these may pose problem for carrying furniture upstairs. Especially made staircase would cost ten times the standard designs.
If you go for especially designed staircase, you would better get the plan approved from local Building Control Official prior to their erection. You should ask your builder to forward one copy of your plan to Building Control Office. It is important from the point of view of fire safety regulations as you need to provide an escape route in case of fire.
- Improvements for fire protection
Undertaking loft conversions in bungalows hardly affects their fire safety as long as windows are big enough for providing escape routes. However, in case of two storied houses wherein a third storey gets added, there are problems. The fresh floor would need to offer a minimum of thirty minutes of fire protection. This may necessitate re-plastering of ceilings beneath it. Additionally, loft room has to be kept separate from a fire door at the bottom or top of new staircase. You’ll also require at least one window which is sufficiently large for escaping in every room. You can get skylight windows especially for such situations.
Homes don’t require self closing devices for doors anymore as they are proven to be risky for children who get their fingers trapped therein. Instead, present doors in the stairway should be swapped with fire resistant doors. As per the old rules for safety, you were required to provide self closing mechanism on all doors. As far as electrical installation goes, you need to provide smoke alarms on every floor. These must be connected to the main supply and interconnected so that all of them set the alarm bells ringing when one gets activated. Usually, they come with rechargeable battery unit that backs up when you like to extend supply from a lighting circuit.
- Insulation against noise
You can make the fresh floor soundproof by putting a mineral fiber cover amid the joists. Lighter insulation won’t be of any help here, so use denser heavier insulation cover. The same holds valid for all internal stud partitions amid bathrooms or bedrooms. Likewise, you may also insulate all party walls against noise and heat. You may have a framework of wood made and cover the same with plasterboard of sound resistant quality.
- Insulation to prevent loss of heat
With the standards of loft conversions becoming high, their insulation has become awkward. A cut will be needed in the inclined ceiling and fixed among rafters on their top. Insulation has to be very thin since the plasterboard has to be set via the bottom of insulation sheet. It means you’ll need to utilize insulation of high quality for these areas. You’ll also have to employ similar insulation for dormers and walls before getting them plaster boarded.
On converting your loft you’ll be sacrificing some storage space. Yet, you can make maximum use of available space by utilizing the eaves at the back of the ashlering by fitting access hatches along with roll-out storage boxes ready to fit. You can also create storage space by insulating beneath the rafter lines. Since normal wardrobes won’t fit in the bedroom created in loft, you may prefer having built-in variety.