Monthly Archives: June 2013

Fireproofing and fire retardant rockwool for floors.

Fitting fireproof rockwool under your floorboards.

fireretardentinsulation

When KG from South Tyneside started his loft conversion he was informed that new regulations will mean fitting fire tardant rockwool beneath every floorboard in his flat to protect from any possible fire from below.

In our photo you can see the wooden lats and plaster of the ceiling downstairs, should a fire break out below, the heat from the fire causes the lats to expand which literally blows of the plaster ceiling, allowing the flames to travel up to the next level of the house.

Installing non combustible rock mineral wool by lifting the original floorboards, laying a chicken wire mesh then suspending the wool gives an extra layer of protection and is a part of building regulations on some county councils.

If you’re planning a loft conversion always speak to the local council and be sure to know the building regulations before you start.

If you have any questions about fireproofing or insulation please feel free to ask using the comments section below and we’ll do our best to answer.


The benefits of having a loft conversion

The benefits of having a loft conversion

As families grow up there is usually a need to upsize into a larger house, just as the grandparents may have downsized after all their children had fled the nest. Although interest rates have been at an all time low for a long time, it’s still not as easy to get a mortgage as it used to be, and sometimes it is quite impossible to find the required large deposit.

The solution for many people requiring extra space is to look upwards in the home and plan to convert the loft. It will cost money of course, however, it can be considerably cheaper than moving home, and it will also add to the value of the house when it is finally time to move on.

Planning issues

Local authorities have strict rules for planning, and it is important to establish whether or not planning permission is required for a loft conversion. In many cases it is not required, but this point should always be clarified before starting any work. An architect, if one is employed, or a builder will know what the regulations are for the area, but a search on the local authority’s website should also find the information.

Planning the space

It is surprising how much wasted space can be found in the loft area of a house. Many people just use it for storage (and often hardly ever use what is stored), so turning it into a brand new room that could be used for a variety of uses adds real value to the property. It could become an extra bedroom, a playroom for the children that they can call their own, a new living room space or a neat home office. Depending on how it is converted, it is possible to sit at a big window in the loft and get a completely different perspective of the landscape around.

Increasing headroom

The best way to create more headroom is to install a dormer window(s). These extend out from the original roof and can be as large or as small as required – taking into consideration the building regulations and what it will look like from the outside. Neighbours and the council may consider it intrusive if it is not well designed. Dormers can provide a large expanse of glass, allowing in plenty of light to make the new room feel bright and airy.

Windows can also be put directly into roofs (Velux type) as well as at a gable end, though no extra space will be gained as with dormer windows. Windows for dormer conversions must be designed to match the windows in the rest of the house.

Curtains, blinds or shutters?

Window coverings are a matter of personal choice, and often blinds are used for roof windows. A homeowner may want to use curtains for dormer windows, perhaps to create a theme, or take the designer option and fit shutters. These are extremely versatile and can be designed to fit all window sizes and shapes. They are ideal for controlling the amount of light admitted, and also give that added insulating layer when it turns wintry outside.

Loft Conversions: Regulations and Information

Loft Conversions: Regulations and Information

Before you begin to start work in your loft you’re going to have to find out more information on building regulations from your local council and seek the help of professionals to get advice on adhering to the building regulations and planning restrictions.

What Type of Roof Structure do you have?

Your existing roof will be either Trussed Rafter or Traditional, and will need to be altered to allow for air circulation and for installation of velux windows.

Trussed Rafter roofs started to be built onto house since the 1970’s and are difficult to convert due to their complexity. You shouldn’t work on these types of roof without seeking advice from a structural engineer.

Traditional roofs are typically made with rafters and are generally easier to convert. However extra beams are normally required, so again, best seek some advice from a structural engineer.

You may be tempted to simply board over your existing rafters and ceiling joists, this can overload the existing beams, possibly leading to dangerous structural problems and lowering the value of your home.

Don’t be tempted to tackle any structural work without seeking professional advice.

Staircases into your loft.

How you access your new loft space is a very important decision.

Following on into the loft from your existing stairwell is a standard option, and helps ensure the new staircase fits into the layout and style of your current plan.

This option is only available if there is enough headroom in the loft where the new stairs would emerge.

Another option would be to section of an existing room to make way for a new set of stairs to your loft space, the downside to this ofcourse is you lose floor space from an existing room.

Staircase Regulations

The maximum pitch of the staircase should not exceed 42′.

While the maximum rise (height) of each tread should be no more than 220mm.

The tread on each step should be atleast 220mm also.

The staircase regualtions help ensure staircases are designed correctly and safe to use.

Space above the staircase for headroom should be a minimum 2m, although some regulations can be a lower 1.9m in the centre of the stairs, reducing to 1.8m on the outer of the stair.


Important: The information in this article was provided to me by local council planning department and I offer it here for informational purposes only. Before you start any structural work, seek advice from your local planning office for an up to date list of their own building regulations.