The main disadvantage of extending the house and bathrooms up into the attic is that often only the central area can be used and space closest to the eaves is redundant. Since structural alterations are inevitable with this type of conversion, call in the professionals before making a start; they will advise you on the feasibility of the project and alert you to any relevant building regulations to avoid costly mistakes.
To make the new bathroom practical and safe to use, a substantial stairway should be built to blend with the rest of the house. Avoid a steep rise in the threads as these will be difficult for young children to climb. A spiral staircase is worth considering since they are safe, take up minimal space and can be fitted without obstructing access to rooms below.
Roof spaces get very hot in summer and cold in winter. It is important, therefore, to insulate the room by packing the sections between the rafters with insulation material. If the rafters are unattractive, board them over with panelling. Installing air – conditioning and heating will reduce the effects of seasonal changes.
It is important to install roof lights or windows in attics without a source of natural daylight. This can be costly but will provide the room with a fresh, spacious atmosphere and an interesting view from on high.
Areas that seem to be of no use may have the potential for converting into a self-contained cloakroom fitted with the bare essentials of the basin, toilet, and possibly a rack for outdoor clothes or boots. Plumbing in a water supply to your bathrooms should be easy, but the toilet must be linked directly to the soil pipe to ensure waste can be flushed away. If the soil pipe is too far away, or the toilet is below the level of the sewer pipe, a macerator unit may be needed. These work by liquefying solids, which are then washed through pipes to link with the sewer.
Light & air
Unused spaces are often badly lit and unventilated. Install effective lighting and fit a part-glazed door with frosted glass to borrow natural light from the adjacent room. Fit a time-lapse air extractor that will continue to remove stale air after the toilet is vacated.
Accessories: for convenience, always keep a supply of fresh soap, towels, and toilet rolls in the cloakroom.
Surfaces; when dealing with a small room it can be fun to experiment with colour and pattern but, as with other bathroom areas, you must provide a waterproof splashback for the basin area.
Flooring: if outdoor shoes are likely to be worn in the cloakroom, choose a hardwearing flooring such as rubber or linoleum that is easy to clean and will withstand scratches caused by grit.