Boarding out loft space is a fun and exciting project, but there are many things to be aware of before going ahead with the process. It’s easy to make common loft boarding mistakes, so it’s essential that you follow proper guidelines and do your research.
Failing to read up on boarding out your loft can lead to dampness, the floor collapsing, ruined belongings, and a bigger bill than you might have expected.
Not Taking the Right Safety Precautions
Boarding out a loft space can become a safety hazard if not done correctly. The safety precautions that need to be taken should be one of the first things to think about. For example, it’s best to watch where your feet are being placed when you are in the process of boarding your loft, as the plasterboard ceiling is not designed to take your weight and you could make the mistake of falling through the loft floor! For this reason, we recommend the use of crawl boards (you can use regular loft boards, before they are fixed to create your loft floor) placed over the joists, so that you can safely access the area you are going to board.
You should wear as much protective gear and clothing as possible, here are a few notable examples:
- Long-sleeved tops or jumpers. Keep them tucked in so that your skin is protected and covered.
- Trousers or coveralls which protect your legs from any wooden splints or particles.
- A face mask to prevent inhaling any insulation fibres or dust particles, choosing ones with valves makes it easier to breathe.
- Protective gloves to prevent any splinters or cutting yourself on any mineral wool insulation material.
- Safety goggles will protect your eyes from any dust and insulation fibres which you may be exposed to before laying the loft boards down.
- Knee pads are ideal if you are putting down loft boards as you will be working on lower levels; this will protect your knees from grazing.
Moving Electrical Cables And Pipes
Your loft may be full of wires, cables, and pipes – especially in older homes. So, when boarding out a loft space, some people in this situation want to simply cut a hole in the joists or move them around to place the boards on top of them to hide their appearance.
By cutting directly into the floorboards or moving the joists around, it will affect the strength and durability of your loft, and so we strongly advise against doing this. You will be putting strenuous weight on top of them and the loft floor. The ideal alternate solution is to raise the floor level above the joists so any cables or piping aren’t affected.
Compressing Insulation With Unraised Loft Boards
Loft insulation plays a huge role in the comfort and temperature of your home. Did you know that 25% of your home’s heat is lost through the roof without sufficient insulation?
Insulating your loft improves your homes energy efficiency, this will keep your house warm all year round, but compressing your insulation will reduce the thermal performance of your home, usually by 50% or more. This can make your property feel colder in the winter and see your energy bills skyrocket.
Many DIYers and homeowners are happy to install quality insulation and ensure their home’s temperature is properly regulated. However, the benefits (and thus the money spent) can be completely undercut by not using raised loft boards.
The boards need to be supported so that they can be secure, so installing a raised loft boarding system above the trusses will allow the insulation to work correctly with no added pressure. By raising and boarding out loft space above the joists can ensure that the insulation can breathe and has enough airflow to avoid any damp or condensation.
Consider the loading
Having your loft boarding fitted properly is essential. You can either use an installer or simply follow the correct advice on this website and install it yourself. You can read more about the correct building regulations here.
New build homes with roof trusses are usually designed and built to the British Standard 6399-1:1996. These regulations state that roof trusses must be designed to be capable of supporting 25kg per square metre (e.g. for long term storage), plus a 90kg temporary point load (which you can assume to be one person of 180kg entering the loft and standing on two legs, for example). Every new house has to be built to this minimum legal standard; most will be stronger, but this is the legal minimum. Hence, unless you know your loft is stronger, we do not recommend storing more than 25kg of possessions per square metre of your loft floor.
Make No Mistakes With LoftZone
It’s your responsibility, especially when boarding out loft space, to not overload the joists too much in case they bend, and crack the plasterboard ceiling below.
Whether you fancy installing your own DIY Loft Boarding Kit or would prefer a professional loft boarding installer, our team of loft experts are always happy to answer any questions or help you to make the most out of your loft space.
If you have any questions or are unsure where your property falls under our standards, please contact us ! We are always happy to advise you. Give us a call on 01483 600 304, or drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.