Extending your home through a loft conversion raises a long list of decisions to make along the way. For example: what are you going to use the new space for? A spare bedroom? An extra bathroom? And how will you decide to decorate? What features or purpose-built furniture will you add?
One fork in the road you will reach concerns what to do with the flooring. Many of the questions raised above will help you to make this particular choice, but there are other factors that may influence the decision too…
Should you opt for a luxurious bathroom suite in your new attic, installing carpeted flooring can be a big mistake. Carpets typically don’t get on well in humid environments, with the risk of damp and mould forming if ventilation isn’t sufficient, so choosing some stylish tiling or vinyl-based flooring would be the best option here.
Home offices or spare bedrooms may benefit from stylishly exposed hardwood flooring, with perhaps the addition of a rug for aesthetic purposes or a touch of warmth during the colder months. However, consider the noise issues raised by installing hardwood floors above bedrooms and other leisure areas – especially if you propose to rent your new attic space to a lodger.
Legal and Practical Considerations
Recent changes to property development law have made extending your home into the loft a much easier process in terms of obtaining planning permission, but your loft must still meet a certain set of regulated standards before you can begin work on it. While none of these directly relates to flooring, there are ways in which changes to your floor level and structural integrity can help you meet them. For example, limitations to head heights that stipulate the distance from the bottom of the ridge timber to the top of the ceiling joist be at least 2.2m, and in some cases it is easier to achieve this by lowering the floor instead of raising the roof.
While not a cheap undertaking, lowering the floor (or, in effect, the ceiling of the room(s) below) can be less destructive than increasing the height of the roof; which would mean external scaffolding and battling the unpredictable British weather. However, the task requires removing the ceilings and replacing them using a plate bolted to the wall for new floor joists to hang from, which is far beyond the realms of DIY and must be carried out by trained professionals.
If you are planning on merely utilising your roof space as an extra storage area to keep those rarely needed items out of the way, you will still need to insulate your loft in line with building regulations. It may make sense in this case to install what’s known as ‘cold loft’ insulation, where insulating materials are placed between the joists of the ceiling of the room directly below your loft. If this particular type of insulation is being installed, consider doing this before fitting your chosen loft flooring.
Written by LMB Lofts