If you are a confident and handy DIY'er than making a staircase, either in full or part, is a viable and cost effective alternative to buying a pre-manufactured unit from a specialist supplier.
A vast range of ready-made stairs are available with budget units costing from £800 though, for anything more than a very basic design, the cost will rapidly escalate.
But, for the competent diy enthusiast, actually making the stairs should be feasible though care must be taken to exactly follow the plans submitted in your building regulations application. Before beginning work on the staircase itself the supporting wall needs to be built.
Standing opposite the existing wall the supporting wall will be built from (second) floor to ceiling and enclose the staircase and provide support for the joists in the loft which will be sawn to accommodate the new entrance.
Once the wall is up any electrical wiring or plumbing will need to be diverted away from the location of the new entrence before the new opening is cut into the ceiling.
The next task is install the strings to form the side of the staircase before making the treads and risers.
At this point it should be borne in mind that the building regulations stipulate the maximum rise and going of the flight should be 220mm with a pitch of 42°.
There should also be a clear 2m of headroom though 1.8m can be acceptable..
There isn’t any standard width though the staircase needs to wide enough to ensure safe passage in the case of emergency though you should really be looking at a minimum width of 600 - 800mm with 600mm usually being sufficient if there is only one room in the new conversion.
When constructing the steps ensure that wedges are used to increase strength between the tread and riser and a newel post is firmly secured to the joists in the roof space.
Finishing off will include fitting handrails and balusters and securing the top of the loft staircase with railings.
A landing may need to be provided at both the top and bottom of the loft staircase with, no surprise here, its width needing to be at least that of the staircase.
A door can be installed at the bottom of the stairs providing it leaves a clearance space of at least 400mm across the width of the stairs.
Plastering the newly built wall will be the final task before the wife hands you a cup of tea and a paint brush – not necessarily in that order.
For more info see the related pages below
Stud Wall Construction
Vermiculite Loft Insulation is an echo-friendly alternative to traditional insulation materials
The old loft water tank will need to be moved if the roof space is being converted into a habitable room
Structural calculations for loft conversions are of course hugely important to ensure safety and that the proposed plans meet building regulations