Your loft can be used for more than just occasional storage; it can also be used to build a safe solid storage room to allow more space within your living areas. Also, by maximizing your loft space your property value could increase, or be more desirable .
A great article on how to board a loft was written by homebuilding.co.uk, you can find the full article here. Below is our interpretation of the advice and a bit more.
Boarding out your loft, can read the weight of your items across the beams, making it safer and allow you to walk or crawl over it.
Loft boards are pretty easy to put together, but working under the constraints of the loft’s usable space will make boarding a loft more difficult than you may think. So there are safety considerations you should consider and if unsure maybe employ a suitable tradesman to do the job.
Some Basic Instructions for DIY Boarding a Loft
You’ll need the following items:
- A decent tape measure
- Pencil, pen or marker
- Electric or cordless drill
- Electric or cordless jigsaw an somewhere to cut the boards.
- Large hammer
- Decent Gloves
- A good mask (look at specifications at DIY store)
- Screw driver (ideally electric, or use drill)
The following materials are required:
- Your chosen loft boards
- 4x40mm screws/ 38mm number 8 screws
- Rolls of insulation if there will be voids in design
Safety First: Before you begin, make sure to:
- Cover yourself with overalls, gloves, and a dust mask, and suitable shoes, for easy movement in loft space.
- Try to create a platform to work on, over loft joists, using maybe a plank of wood
Measure the covering area, to calculate how many boards
Standard boards come in two sizes: 2,400 x 600mm and 1,220 x 320mm, with a thickness of 18 or 22mm. The wider boards, which can be found at your nearest DIY store, are the simplest and more convenient.
The 1,220 x 320mm boards come in three-packs, each covering 1.17m2. Each of the 2,400 x 600mm boards covers 1.44m2 and is sold separately. To account for awkward cuts, often apply a 20% contingency to the final square metre number.
Check the edges of the boards for damage before purchasing them. Since tongues-and-grooves are susceptible to clumsy handling, choose carefully.
Test the width of your insulation until you begin laying boards. Insulation blankets should be at least 270mm thick, according to building regulations. However, since joists are normally just 100mm deep, this will be difficult to do while still laying a floor on top. Furthermore, squashing insulation to fit joist height is a bad idea because it reduces its effectiveness by half, resulting in a two-fold increase in heat loss.
Building a raised loft floor above the insulation is the best solution (details of which are shown below).
Make sure you have the maximum 270mm depth of insulation needed by regulations before boarding to the joists. If you do, make sure to insulate as much as possible under the boards.
(Please keep in mind that if you board directly on the joists, you risk triggering interstitial condensation.) The damp is caused when moisture condenses on the underside of the boards and drips down. To prevent this, raise the boards and allow air to circulate between the insulation and the boards.
Start by putting the first board across the joists if you choose to board directly on to the joists rather than have a raised floor.
If the board overhangs, mark it at the centre of the last joist it crosses with a jigsaw and make a straight cut there. This helps the joist to help the board that will butt up to its end.
Lay the boards in a staggered pattern so that neighbouring joins do not match up for optimum strength. Place a complete board next to the first one and label or measure where it needs to be cut if it needs to be (see step three).
If required, cut the second board and slide it into place with the first, making sure the tongue-and-groove is fully attached to form an almost invisible join. Fix the join with two or three screws.
To finish the run of boards, measure, cut, and fit infill pieces as you go. With gloved hands, slide them into position (the cut edges can be sharp).
If the tongue-and-groove link causes too much resistance, place a block of wood along the board’s outer edge and tap it with a hammer. This approach protects the board’s weak edges.
Points to consider
Older houses may have a combination of different roof joists and joists placed up to support a more modern ceiling, rather than a continuous run of uniform ceiling joists to attach to. This can result in a riot on various levels, as well as difficulties with board fixing. If this is the case, it could be more cost-effective and time-saving to go with a raised floor instead.
Wiring in the loft always follows the shortest path from source to outlet. This means that there could be wires strewn around the area where you plan to lay