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Attic conversion

  • 19-07-2022 10:04am
    Registered Users Posts: 613 ✭✭✭carolmon

    Hello thinking of getting an attic conversion and looking for thoughts about best place for stairs.

    Options are to lose some of the box bedroom which would leave the landing window mostly clear

    Or go up from the landing which would cover about half the window but leave the bedroom same size.

    Also I'd appreciate advice re insulation...I've heard spray foam insulation is being removed in UK to obtain mortgages so what would be the best?



  • Registered Users Posts: 776 ✭✭✭raxy

    I would leave the box room & go up from the landing if you have the space. We just got ours done & only option was cutting into the box room.

    The box room is small enough & the stairs cut into it before so we didn't think it would make a difference but it looks a lot smaller now. We're using it as an office so not the end of the world but I don't think you could use it as a bedroom anymore.

    Perhaps a bigger consideration should be if you are getting an ensuite. Some of the builders we asked insisted the ensuite would have yo go on the wall opposite the stairs. Our ensuite is beside the stairs which left the opposite wall free & a bigger attic room.

    We had 50mm pir board insulation & 50mm warm boards. I'd stay away from spray foam.

  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭C. Eastwood

    The stair should lead on to the centre of the Attic.

    This will allow a Landing to an Guest Toilet off the Landing and rooms at both sides of the Landing.

    If the stair is in the incorrect location where it enters the attic area, it will cause many problems in the plan layout of the attic rooms.

    The attic must be fitted with an Airtight Membrane.

    Ensure that there are no draughts where the walls meet the floors at the bottom of the skirting.

    Allow the builders to fit any type of Thermal Insulation, under the floor, at the side partitions, on the slopes and the ceilings.

    Do not use SprayFoam Insulation.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 35,486 Mod ✭✭✭✭Gumbo

    First rule of drawing an Attic Conversion is finish the stairs in the centre of the apex to allow the max height possible.

    Then work back from that.

    Are you putting in Velux or a Dormer (Subject to Planning)?

    Do not use Spray Foam, serious problems with unseen damage to rafters and timber that cannot be investigated in the future without destructive works and may cause a problem come selling depending on the buyers Surveyor.

    I'm a fan of the Isover System, if expensive, but there may be cheaper products to achieve the same result.

  • Registered Users Posts: 613 ✭✭✭carolmon

    Thanks all.... I'm hearing really bad reports about the spray foam so that's def not going in.

    I'll talk to the builder about where exactly the stairs end and get them to the centre of the apex as suggested.

    I appreciate the feedback

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,137 ✭✭✭✭noodler

    As someone who has spray foam insulation in their (unconverted attic) I have heard mixed things bit keep getting told open cell iss safe and the supplier even provided a guarantee, that is breathable etc.

    I fear the day of looking into getting it removed tho, mainly as it seems like a horrible job.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭C. Eastwood

    You should not allow any builder to design your attic development.

    The builder will do the easiest and quickest and cheapest way for him to get the most money from you for the least effort.

    Retain a Construction Professional (CP) to draw plans or your existing house.

    Then they will draw plans of the proposed Attic stair access and attic rooms layout Plans.

    The CP must ensure the completed Plans will be in Compliance with the Building Regulations, and with Planning Permission.

    Furthermore, you can look at the proposed Plan Layout and request whatever alterations you and your family want and the Drawings can be altered.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,271 ✭✭✭jack of all

    Good advice above, stay away from spray foam, get a proper design drawn up and ensure your proposal is building regulation compliant, especially if you plan on providing habitable accommodation. I've seen a number of poorly executed loft conversions with restricted head height and non compliant stairs, doors etc which are no more than storage rooms and could never be described as bedrooms.

  • Moderators, Regional North West Moderators Posts: 44,811 Mod ✭✭✭✭muffler

    OP if you follow that advice you won't go wrong.

  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭C. Eastwood

    I have seen the terrible attic developments you described, and it’s hard to believe that the building works were carried out by people describing themselves as Craftspersons.

    With some of these so called Attic Developments, when the house is being sold, the Constructional Professional carrying out the Home Buyers Survey for the Purchaser, will deem the expensive Attic Development as Storage Space only and not suitable for human habitation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,271 ✭✭✭jack of all

    A very expensive storage space, I saw one which was well finished to be fair but it was an exercise in how to waste money, with ceiling headroom only a child or short person could negotiate!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭C. Eastwood

    It always pays to retrain a Construction Professional to Design the proposed building works.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 35,486 Mod ✭✭✭✭Gumbo

    99% of all attic conversions in this country will be home office/storage/non habitable use.

    Most people wont pay the additional Fire requirements to comply and most existing attics don't have sufficient space for an official habitable use.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,271 ✭✭✭jack of all

  • We're in one of those homes that has had the attic "converted" but the roof was never raised.

    Question I have is would we be better off putting a proper attic conversion in with proper stairs or just build on out the back/side ?

    We're in your typical 80's Bungalow.

    Or, convert part of the house to proper 2 story and leave the half ass attic as storage ? I presume going 2 story would depend on the foundations ? could be a non runner.

  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭C. Eastwood

    You should retain a Constructional Professional to get the best professional building advice.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 35,486 Mod ✭✭✭✭Gumbo

    You need someone to view in person and advise on the design. Compare building at the side to getting a room below the roof (attic) as one may be a regulation compliant room and the other just a store/games room.

  • Thanks lads, yes it was one of the previous owners Kids bedroom, I suppose they didn't want to spend much money because they had probably thought at that point they don't intend staying there much longer so why do it properly for the likes of me ? lol

    It's a pain though because they took a lot of space from one of the bedrooms to make room for the stairs and the missus uses it as an office and barely has space for the monitor on a desk due to the low roof.

    Will definitely get an architect.

    What's the average cost of conversion can anyone say ?

    This is one reason I don't want to invest in solar PV until we decide on a proper conversion.