Loft Conversion Terminology

Box of 4 and box of 3 kites

These are the term used for the triangular looking stair treads that look like “kites”. They are used in staircase designs where the staircase will make a 90 degree turn. 99% of all loft staircases will have at least one box at either the bottom or the top, but generally two boxes (one on the bottom and one on the top) is very common.

Chippie Second-fix

This is the term used for a carpenter that will fix all the architraves skirting boards, hang the internal doors and fit the staircase handrail and spindles. It could also involve the fitting of door handles and build of wardrobes when required.

Dot and Dabbing

This is where sheets of plasterboard are stuck to brick or blockwork with purpose made adhesive. The plasterboards are then skimmed with finish plaster. The area where this is most likely to occur in a loft would be to the existing party wall where the new staircase is fitted.

First-fix and Second-Fix Electrics and Plumbing

First-fix and second-fix are two terms used to describe the different stages at which the plumbing and electrics of a construction project have reached. Click here to find out more.

Knock Through

This term is known in the loft industry when the existing ceiling in the hallway is removed to make way for the new staircase to the loft to be fitted. Generally, this is the messiest part of the loft conversion process as it can cause a fair amount of dust.


Spreading is the term used for plastering when the plasterer skims the plasterboard walls and ceilings with finish plaster. A sticky fibreglass bandage will be put about 2” wide over every plasterboard join. This will help prevent the plaster from cracking along the joints. Two coats of finish plaster will then be applied generally no more the 5mm in thickness. The plasted will finally be troweled to ensure a smooth finish, ready for decoration.