Using your loft as storage space is an easy way to open up the potential of your home and pack away those items that you don’t need everyday. Loft storage is a quick and easy way to unlock the potential of wasted space in your house and you don’t need planning permission so anyone can make embark on this low cost job with the most basic of DIY skills.
Loft storage vs loft conversion:
Before you embark on using your loft for storage you should ask yourself whether or not a full loft conversion would be better. The ceiling joists are not designed to support heavy loads, so while utilising your loft for light storage is perfectly acceptable, for heavier items you should consider a full loft conversion. Loft conversions don’t have to be expensive; in just a few days you could transform your loft into safer more accessible storage by considering this option.
What sort of ladder should I use to access my loft storage space?
All houses are different, but most lofts are accessed through a loft hatch in the ceiling that can be lifted up and then crawled through. Of course you need to get up there, and while some people may use a step ladder when they need to get to their loft, if you’re using it as storage that you need to access often it is easier and safer to install a permanent loft ladder. Loft ladders are easy to install and cheap, and with a one-off payment you can enjoy quick, convenient access to your new storage space. The best on the market are extending ladders that can slide or fold up and away when not in use. These are available in aluminium and wood, while wood may be more aesthetically pleasing; using a metal option is more lightweight and almost always cheaper.
What sort of flooring should I use in my loft?
While you should not be using your loft to store heavier items, even light boxes will need a secure platform to be placed on. Tongue and groove boards are a cheap and widely available form of flooring that can be bought specially designed for loft space. The next thing to consider is the size of the floorboards you will buy, while smaller floor boards may work out pricier, larger boards may not fit through the loft hatch: remember this when buying your floor boards and if in doubt, use a tape measure!
How do I fit the loft floorboards?
Before fitting your floorboards you should consider safety aspects: when fitting your loft boarding it is very important to watch where you stand – step anywhere other than the joists and your foot could come crashing through the ceiling! Wearing protective clothing and gloves is also advisable to protect against the irritant fibres in loft insulation. Unless you are very lucky, it is unlikely that the boards will be a perfect fit, in which case using a circular saw will make cutting and trimming the floorboards easy. When fitting the correctly sized boards you need to make sure that the ends of the boards are on a joist, then you need to fix them. It is better to use screws when fixing the floorboards to the joists as hammering may loosen the plaster on the ceilings beneath the area.
What sort of storage is available for lofts?
Once you can access your loft easily via your loft ladder and store items safely on your newly fitting loft boarding, it is time to think about the sort of storage that you would like to use. Ideally plastic is a lightweight option that can be sealed to be dust-proof, waterproof and easily stacked. While it may be tempting to squeeze in as much as possible, remember to spread boxes out so that you can access them directly and clearly label everything. Also remember that lofts will get both hotter and colder than the temperatures in your house so don’t store anything that could get damaged in these conditions.
Your loft has a wealth of space waiting to be used, if a loft conversion is too pricey, then you should consider opening up your loft space and using it for storage with the simple addition of a sturdy, convenient permanent loft ladder and cheap but effective loft boarding.