Please note that if you plan to make your loft into any kind of living accommodation you must first get building regulation approval. There are many regulations governing the conversion of lofts. See our related projects on the left for more information.
DIY Doctor has teamed up with one of the UK's leading suppliers in the roof and loft business. Jupiter blue can supply you with loft hatches and access or loft ladders, tubular skylights, door canopies, solar door lights, and even roof hatches for turning your flat roof into an accessible area for a peaceful rest. First check out the dimensions of the ready made and preferably insulated loft hatches, then complete the instructions below to get the opening the right size.
First check that the enlargement you would like does not involve cutting through any main supporting beams or timber lintels, which may protrude into the loft space. If in any doubt, seek the advice from a professional. Scroll down past the instructions for help with hatches, ladders and loft hatch accessories.
Using the diagram below, follow these steps.
- Measure and mark the size of your new opening, plus 4 inches either side, on top of the existing ceiling joists1 2 3 and 4 . These marks will be on lines A.
- If your new hatch spans more than 2 joists (involving cutting more than two joists) contact a specialist and visit our loft conversion project for more information.
- Place a 4-inch x 1-inch timber flat on the joists behind your lines. This is timber B. Screw this timber, using two and a half inch number 8 screws, into all positions marked by X. This is temporary support and can be removed later.
- Checking for cables and pipes, cut the ceiling and the joists along lines A and D cutting through joists 2 and 3 leaving 1 and 4 intact but cutting alongside them to form the new opening.
- The dotted lines represent two lengths of new timber, equal to the size of your existing joist, either side of the new opening. The two rear ones should be fixed first with 4-inch, number 8 screws in all positions marked C with two screws per joist. You will need to drill pilot holes for all of these screws. Then fix the front timbers, nailing them with 3-inch wire nails, in between the joists. Where the front timbers touch the side joists on lineD, they should also be screwed at position C.
- You can then remove timbers B and line your new opening with 4 or 5 x 1 inch planed timber, into which your new loft hatch will sit. The cut underside of the opening can be covered by architrave.
Preferably a loft hatch would have a maintenance free finish which could just be wiped down. The finger marks on a hatch can be really unsightly but are quite hard to remove from an old painted surface. Look for a loft hatch that requires a quick wipe over and no painting!
Look for a hatch with fire resistant insulation material fixed to the back. 35mm of insulation is standard but 50mm is better. 105mm is the ideal amount of insulation to comply with part L of the building regulations.
Find a hatch that does not need an enormous frame reducing the size of the opening you are trying to enlarge!
If you are thinking of renting out your house or just have very adventurous children, look for a lockable hatch.
Look for a hatch with draught seals. Lofts can be draughty places!