If you’ve decided on a loft conversion for your home, you will not only want it to look amazing and feel comfortable, you’ll want it to be as safe as possible too. That means ensuring your ceilings are high enough to meet the required building regulations. If you find that your ceilings come up short, don’t worry, there are many ways to raise them in order to meet the safety standards.
The regulations state that the suitability of your loft conversion depends on the available head height of the potential room. The minimum height required to convert your loft is 2.2 metres. This means that the centre of the roof (and the majority of the ceiling) is at least 2.2 metres (or more). You can measure this yourself – just take a tape measure and run it from the floor to the ceiling at the tallest part of the room. If it measures at least 2.2 metres, you should be good to go. If this is not the case for you, fear not, there are extra measures you can take to provide a comfortable head height. Let’s take a look at some possible solutions:
If your head height is short by a few centimetres, insulation could potentially be your solution. Slightly thinner insulation sheets used in both the ceiling and the floor will give plenty of room. However, don’t forget that your insulation thickness needs to meet its own building regulations. You can’t forfeit one for the other, as both head height and insulation thickness are important to building inspectors.
Raise the loft roof
Literally raising the roof of your loft is an option but it is a costly one, and you will need permission. With the help of professional roofers, your builder can adjust the height of the planned room by altering the angle of the joists or by extending the top of the walls and gables. Because this approach will alter the aspect of your home quite considerably, you will require planning permission to do so. It is a more expensive option which will minimise your return on investment so consider this route carefully.
Lower the ceilings of the rooms below
Lowering the ceilings of the rooms below your loft space is an option, but there are things that you need to consider:
- You will lose head height from the rooms underneath which isn’t a big deal if you live in a period property with lovely high ceilings, but for many of us it may impact on our day to day living or make these rooms feel claustrophobic. You may also lose some of the rooms’ existing character.
- Taking out the existing ceilings will obviously have structural considerations. A plate will need to be bolted to the wall using shield anchors or rawlbolts which your new floor joists will then hang from. You’ll also need a suitable tie between the roof structure and the newly formed dwarf wall, to stop the roof from spreading over time.
- Whilst a good builder always tries to keep mess to a minimum, the sheer nature of lowering ceilings does mean that a lot of mess and dust will be created: it’s simply unavoidable. Plus, your builder will need to work inside your house which may prove a little disruptive. If you are considering lowering ceilings as part of your loft conversion work, you may wish to consider relocating for a while – ask your builder to advise on the length of time the work is expected to take, and any disruption expected before work commences.
To summarise, your intended loft room height needs to be 2.2 metres or more. If you fall short there are solutions including, adjusting the insulation used, raising the roof or lowering the ceilings underneath. If you would like an obligation free quote for an extension in your home, we’d love to help you.