Because existing ceiling joists are likely to be inadequate to act as floor joists, new, deeper joists will be needed for most loft conversions. Floor joists can be supported on load-bearing walls or floor beams. Beams to support floor joists can be made of solid timber, glulam timber, steel, or a combination of timber and steel. The existing roof structure may need to be altered or upgraded as part of the conversion. The removal of existing rafters, purlins or props may be required in order to install the new floor or the roof windows. Where purlins or any intermediate props are removed, a new beam may be introduced underneath or the size of the floor joists may be increased to carry the loads.
In fire-safety terms, a loft conversion is seen as an additional floor extension, a second or third storey which adds complexity to an emergency exit. U.K. Building Regulations require a new storey to be separated and isolated from the rest of the house by a half-hour fire-resistant construction with enhanced smoke protection.
Loft doors are specially designed and constructed for fire resistance and smoke prevention. Doors need to provide protection from smoke in order to meet standards for fitting.
A loft ventilation system provides clean air and removes stale and humid air. Adjustable windows and skylights are installed so they provide adequate ventilation and may be opened and closed safely. VELUX® windows have an adjustable vent that may be opened partially or fully depending on ventilation requirements. Your choice of window may include type of opening –there are top, middle, bottom and side versions.
In general there needs to be sufficient headroom over the new stairs or landings. Where possible, a conventional staircase should be installed leading to the new storey. There are no minimum recommendations for stair width, but building owners should consider the need for furniture to be moved up and down the stairway. All landings, stairs and floor edges with a difference in level of more than 600 mm should be guarded.
East London Lofts has a reputation for high-quality handmade stairs. Each set of stairs is tailor-made to match exactly the existing flight, immediately merging with the original house. Made from pine or mahogany, your new stairs will instantly become an admired feature of your home.
The majority of houses are insulated above the upper-floor ceiling, within a ventilated roof void. Further insulation will therefore be needed between the roof covering and any habitable accommodation in the loft space. In a terraced or semi-detached house, the separating wall must be able to resist the passage of sound, irrespective of whether the neighbouring house has a habitable room in the corresponding area, as sound can travel through the wall into your neighbour’s roof void and through the ceiling (and vice-versa).
Shower rooms and bathrooms
Increasingly popular in all types of homes is the bathroom or shower room addition. En suites provide the convenience and privacy that we increasingly value – an upgrade that is reflected in property prices. As part of your loft conversion, East London Lofts can create and install an en suite bathroom, expertly fitted by our plumbing engineers, so this luxury can be yours.
East London Lofts works exclusively with VELUX® windows, the leading manufacturer of roof windows. The company’s product range includes a great variety of shapes and sizes to suit most loft conversions. Depending on your choice of window finish, such as wood or white polyurethane, roof windows can become the main focal point of your new room.
The 'ideal home' look of your loft can be noticeably improved with the skilful use of lighting. With a great deal of experience in creative lighting, East London Lofts is able to set an atmosphere that suits your requirements.