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Loft Conversions: Steel or Timber Beams?

steel or timber beams

For a successful loft conversion, the structure of your roof space needs to be sound and professionally planned so your home is able to properly support the extra load.

One of the first structural considerations to make early on in the process will be deciding on the best supporting beams for your loft room. In this article we’re looking at steel and timber beams, and which type should be chosen for your conversion.

Structural considerations

All conversions are unique and will require thorough planning beforehand to ensure a safe, sturdy and successful project. Obviously the most important things to think about all relate to structural integrity, from the current structure of your home to the future structure once the conversion is complete. Beams will be a key factor during the planning stage and your designer will be heavily involved with recommending the best materials for your specific conversion.

Steel beams will be commonly used in most conversions, and this is due to a number of reasons. From a structural point of view, steel beams offer more flexibility. Parallel flanges make it easy to fit timber joists to the beam, and they are able to span longer distances unsupported than timber.

For projects short on space, steel beams can also be cut and spliced together to fit into place, without sacrificing their strength.

Strength and durability

Timber and steel beams can both be suitable for conversions as they provide fantastic strength and support, carrying substantial weight with ease. However, steel is the stronger material and is much more durable too, with less to worry about with regards to maintenance as the years go on.

The main weakness of timber is how prone the material is to rot and moisture infiltration. While steel beams can suffer rust damage, beams can be easily painted and primed to protect against it, and is inherently free from other forms of damage such as insect infestation – which can plague timber.

The longevity of steel beams can make for a cleaner, less problematic conversion in the future as you’re much less likely to worry about replacing or repairing steel beams years down the line.

clean loft design


Steel beams are more popular and more commonly used in conversions across the UK, and are cheaper than timber beams while offering greater strength for less for material. Combine that with the longevity they provide, and steel beams are a cost-effective construction material for loft conversions.

Expert planning and installation

As we said earlier, every conversion is unique. A loft conversion is a big project and requires meticulous planning so it can be properly constructed around the requirements of your own property. The choice of beams will be largely down to the current structure of your property, such as the location and availability of load bearing walls, and the weight and load expected to be supported.

When you choose a professional and experienced loft conversion specialist, you gain access to qualified engineers who will be able to plan your conversion from the beginning, surveying your home and suggesting the materials best suited to your proposed project.

If you’re looking to convert your roof space, make sure to get in touch with a reputable, professional conversion company to make the whole process as stress-free as possible.

Here at NK Lofts, we will help plan your ideal loft conversion, using the highest quality materials and working closely with you to create a brand new loft space you will be proud of. To find out more about all of our conversion services, dont hesitate to get in touch with us today.