We moved house back in October last year, and one of the things that had been playing on my mind was how to board a loft in a new build house.
Now logic says that you just lay chipboard over the rafters in the loft, which is great if the insulation up there is not higher than the depth of the rafters. In new build properties, like the one we brought, the insulation can be up to 27cm or more; much higher than the beams, meaning there are only really two options; crush the insulation down, or remove some insulation, and then lay chipboard over the beams.
Both of these solutions are bad! Why? Because compressing the insulation causes it to function much less efficiently; air trapped in the insulation is what make it work, compressing it forces out the air, and stops it working. Compressing the insulation can also cause damp and mold in the insulation as air flow is restricted around the insulation material. Removing the insulation is also bad; it was put up there for a reason, removing some of it will drop the amount of heat that is retained, leading to a increase in heating bills..
Through various internet searches and general digging I found a few possible solutions, these all involved raising the loft floor in some manner to allow the insulation to stay in place, whilst allowing a secure floor level in the loft. Most of these ‘solutions’ involved some sort of stilt system attached to the rafters in the loft. To be honest, they all looked extremely difficult and slightly wobbly.
The stilts then use a metal bar across them (at 90 degrees to the beams) on top of which the chipboard flooring can be attached.
This allows a raised surface for the boards to be attached to, and in the majority of cases, leaving a good gap below the boards and above the insulation for air to flow around and through it, meaning that mold and other nasties won’t start to build up there.
The stilts themselves are also made from strong plastic, making them both lightweight, and strong (the patented shape also adds a lot of strength to them).
The other great thing about the solution is that it’s modular, meaning that a small space could be created first, and then expanded at a later date.
We arranged for one of the LoftZone guys to come round and take a look at our colossal loft space, and they came up with a few possible layouts. StoreFloor can be either fitted by Loftzone and their fitters, or, you can buy the StoreFloor components and fit them yourself, just like our great DIY neighbour did; I’m not quite as confident crawling round in a dark loft as she is, so I opted for the LoftZone guys to install it for us.
The photo’s don’t quite show how large the loft space is, but it did include a few ‘obstacles’ such as air ducting that ran across the loft space;
I wasn’t entirely sure how they were going to cope with this, crushing the tubing would be bad, and running the ‘elephant trunk’ over the boards didn’t seem sensible either, they sensibly came up with the solution of burying the truck slightly under the insulation.
The boarding was quite quick, a single day (probably actually three quarters of a day) was all it took to get all the supports and the beams in place, and the boarding attached. You can see above the metal beams running across the beams, supported by the triangular supports.
Once the supports, beams and board where fixed, it created a huge storage area, raised up above the insulation, covering the central third of the loft. A loft ladder allowing easy access was also fitted, including a neat little ladder landing platform;
As you can see below, the now secure raised area;
If you have good insulation in your loft, or you have anew build property with deep insulation, I’d fully recommend using LoftZone FloorStore either by buying it yourself or by getting the LoftZone guys to do it for you