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Loft Conversions: Everything you need to Know about Loft Joists

Loft Joists

You’ve decided you’re going to be converting your loft. You want a habitable room at the end of the loft build, maybe to be used as an extra bedroom, perhaps with an ensuite bathroom, or maybe even something like a home office, a hobby room or even a home cinema or a gym. Does this mean that you can just lay down a few sheets of boarding and the job’s done? Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward. And this is why you need to know about the important role of loft conversion floor joists.

Lofts weren’t really built as load bearing rooms – or certainly not built strong enough to inhabit – so if you’re looking to house anything heavier than a few bags of old clothes and seasonal items within your new loft space, you’ll need to strengthen your loft. And this means you’ll need to learn about loft joists, and how they can be used to strengthen your new loft conversion room.

So what needs to be done to strengthen your new loft conversion? Here’s your guide to simple but brilliant loft floor joists.

What are loft joists?

A joist is a length of timber or steel which acts as a support for a floor or ceiling. Within a loft conversion, strengthening the loft floor joists is important, as lofts were not constructed to hold much more than items in storage.

Typically, loft joists are arranged in a parallel fashion to offer the most support, ready to create a floor for your new loft conversion which will support the weight of a habitable room, for example, furniture, clothes, fixtures and fittings and people.

Strengthening your loft joists through overslinging

There are two methods of strengthening your joists, the first of which is called overslinging. Provided there is enough headroom, this is the simpler of the two options, as it simply involves laying new joists across the existing joists within the loft.

Strengthening your loft joists through sideslinging

The second method, sideslinging, is used in loft conversions where there isn’t enough head height available to lay new joists on top of the old ones. With sideslinging, the new joists are installed side by side alongside the old loft floor joists. This is a great option for loft conversions where head height is of a premium, therefore, as it means that it doesn’t take up an additional space and eat into the precious head height of the room.

When strengthening loft conversion floor joists with sideslinging, the loft joists are run along one side of the existing joists using a holder beneath the new steel beams which are then installed across the old joists. They will usually be connected to each other using screws and bolts to secure it in place.

Things to Consider when strengthening loft conversion floor joists

When converting your loft, your local Building Regulations department will be on hand and involved with all aspects of the build to make sure that the work and the new room upon completion complies with health and safety regulations.

As such, there are certain aspects of the loft joists that your loft conversion company will need to consider. These include aspects such as making sure there is still enough head height available once the new joists are in place (if a lack of headroom will be a problem, then the sideslinging option outlined above will be employed to ensure that no space is compromised).

Similarly, the thickness of the joists will be strictly monitored by Building Control to regulate that your new loft room is properly supported. This will ensure that the new room is safe and habitable when complete, and will support all of the additional weight you put within it.

There are also rules and regulations surrounding insulation when strengthening loft floor joists, such as where it is positioned and how much is placed between the joists and the new floor in order to be in line with current Building Regulation guidelines.

Ready to convert your loft with the proper use of loft joists? Contact Bespoke Lofts

It may sound like there is a lot of information that you need to consider when it comes to strengthening loft floor joists, but if you’re employing a specialist loft conversion company for the work, they will take care of all of this and more for you, so that you don’t need to worry about important aspects such as whether your new floor will be load bearing.

Here at Bespoke Lofts, we will ensure that all of the strengthening of the loft joists is taken care of as an integral part of the loft conversion build process. This means that you won’t have to worry about what type of loft floor joists are used, or whether overslinging or sideslinging is required. If you’re unsure of how you need to proceed with a loft conversion, contact Bespoke Lofts for a free, no obligation quote today.

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