Attic conversions need careful consideration of several factors, such as the ceiling height and the type of room you want to build. One of the most important aspects is the position and style of the staircase.

Every functional loft has a perfectly placed staircase that maximises the appeal and use of the converted attic. Sometimes, locating the right place won’t be obvious and will require some brainstorming. With varying requirements needed to achieve a successful conversion, how do you know where to put stairs during attic conversion?

Where to Put Stairs During Attic Conversion: A Step-by-Step Assessment

Navigating Staircase Regulations

The first step to take when deciding where to place your attic conversion stairs is understanding the regulations governing them. The Australian government stresses safety when creating stairs in every property. Considering you might want to convert your attic into a habitable room, you must comply with the current Building Code of Australia.

  • Your staircase should have at least two risers and no more than eighteen risers without a 750 mm2landing or rest area.
  • Staircase pitch must not be below 26.5 degrees or above 45 degrees.
  • The stairs must not be less than 600mm wide, measured between the interior edges of the handrails.
  • Every tread and riser shall be the same measurement within a single flight.
  • A flight of stairs must have more than three winders in a quarter landing section and six winders in a half landing section.
  • Unless otherwise stated by the regulatory authority, no staircases must have less than 2m (2mm) of headspace.

Keep in mind that these requirements serve as a guide to building your attic stairs. Always consult your contractor, the Building Code of Australia, and local regulations for more detailed answers to legal requirements.

Constructing Your Attic Conversion Stairs

Now that you are aware of the possible regulations surrounding attic conversion stairs, it is time to assess the other aspects that determine the final position. Take note of the following when installing attic stairs:

The Right Height: Headroom

The headroom is the leading factor that determines the location of your attic room’s stairs. As mentioned, the clearance should be at least 2 metres from top to bottom. Before creating any plans, inspect your attic’s total area and check if it meets the minimum requirements.

Enough Room: Space

The attic has minimal space, so consider the staircase when measuring room plans for the conversion. Additionally, include stair design dimensions while meeting minimum building requirements for the riser height and tread depth.

Easy to Get In: Accessibility

The stairs must be easily accessed from the lower floor and shouldn’t obstruct existing hallways and rooms. While designing the concept of your new attic room, understand the overall layout of the property and how the new attic conversion stairs will fit with the flow of the rooms.

Proper Measures: Safety

Considering the limited space of attics, safety has become a primary concern. After all, staircases present several potential hazards, especially in a household with children or elderly. In your size estimation, include handrails or banisters for stability and a landing halfway up for resting. Also, consider a well-lit and obstruction-free location.

Keeping in Style: Design

Besides complementing the overall aesthetic of the home’s interior design, the attic conversion stairs’ design should be feasible for its planned size and location. Some staircases are more complex than others.

Considering they are the first components to introduce your loft space, the staircase’s appearance is integral to the project.

attic staircase

Choosing the Ideal Attic Conversion Staircase Site

With the factors above in mind, you should be able to locate the perfect spot for your loft space’s brand-new set of stairs. If you are looking for suggestions, consider one of the following:

The Highest Part of the Loft

One of the best places to install your attic stairs is in the highest position in line with the roof ridge. This is because this spot holds the most headroom, allowing you to remain compliant with building codes.

However, this particular portion of the attic might also be the most useful and least spacious.

Install a Dormer Window

The quickest and most effective way to stay in code without sacrificing space for the rest of your converted attic’s functionality is building a dormer window. A dormer is a type of window that projects vertically from a sloping roof, increasing headspace and ventilation.

Dormer windows will increase the timeframe and cost of your attic conversion, but the enhanced space and visual appeal will be worth it.

Above Existing Stairs

Many attic conversion stairs are installed directly above existing staircases. Often, the best solution is this option, which is more convenient and cost-effective. However, not all homes are compatible with this type of process. For instance, several properties have staircases positioned far away from the attic.

Other Stair Types

If you are faced with space issues, consider alternative staircase types. Spiral or curved stairways are fantastic stairs that allow spaciousness and luxury. These can be compacted into a small corner so that it does not obstruct anything.

You can also opt for alternating treads, which include steeper steps and a handrail for safety. But before you decide on this type of stairs, consult your local council and regulations to see whether this is allowed or not.

Sacrifice a Room

If you are lucky, your attic might be positioned above a rarely-used or unused room, like a spare guest bedroom or storage unit. By leveraging the extra space potential of these areas, you can maximise your home’s utility while giving your converted attic an impressive entrance.

The Most Lit Spot

If space is not a problem, consider placing your attic conversion stairs where there is increased light. Dim stairways are not recommended due to possible hazards. Consider adding skylights or large windows to bring in more daylight.

Where to Place Your Attic Conversion Stairs

Careful consideration and placement of the staircases are crucial when converting your loft space. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to finding the right location to build your attic conversion stairs. It won’t be easy to achieve, but you can analyse factors to determine where to put it.

What matters most when selecting your attic stairs are headroom, space, safety, and effectiveness. The qualifications for these factors will vary depending on the type of home you have, but they should be able to guide you in making an informed decision.

It is best to speak to professionals when brainstorming about good staircase sites for your converted attic. Visit Attic Plus, one of Australia’s fastest-growing conversion and attic companies, for excellent loft services.