Is your home in need of improved storage space? Perhaps you live in a tiny home that feels like it is bursting at the seams with your belongings. Or you may find yourself in desperate need of some extra space to store items. Why not look to the topmost area of your home and consider making use of your loft?
Boarding a loft makes for a fairly easy DIY project that is incredibly useful in increasing the storage space in your home. Plus, adding loft boards can also make it safer for you and your family to use. This makes proper storage even more likely to be used when you can move around your loft with confidence.
With a clever loft DIY project, you can take advantage of some unfinished space and put it to much better use. To board your loft and expand your home’s storage space, follow our guide below.
Not sure you have time for a DIY project, simply submit a free request to find a top-notch loft renovator near you!
How to Board a Loft Step By Step
Materials and Supplies
- Loft boards
- Tape measure and pencil
- Saw to cut boards to size
- Plastic to create a barrier over insulation (if required)
- Protective gear including gloves and a dust mask
Step 1: Preparation
Before you begin working in the loft, make sure to put on your protective equipment. You may also wish to wear a coverall to prevent insulation particles and other debris from getting into your clothes or onto your skin.
As you will be spending a lot of time moving back and forth in your loft, you should also take the time to set up a workstation. You’ll need to move around the loft and can’t always trust your balance over the ceiling joists, especially as you start working! Lay a piece of boarding over your ceiling joists to provide you with a safe area to move across the joists. You can also use it as a support for your knees once you begin fitting the boards.
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Step 2: Measure The Area
To make sure you have enough materials, take the time to measure the area you plan to board out. Remember that you can choose to partially board your loft, which can be useful if there is a part of your loft that is just too difficult to reach to be used regularly. Depending on the slope of your roof, you may find that just the centre has the heights necessary to be good storage.
Boarding for attics comes as tongue and groove to allow it to form a tight seam that provides a secure surface for storage. When you purchase your boards, make sure that both tongues and grooves are neat and clean to help provide a better fit.
Step 3: Insulation Inspection
Take the time to check your loft insulation before you start laying boards. After you’ve laid boards, any problems would be much harder to deal with! Make sure you have as much insulation as possible before laying your boards. We also recommend using a plastic barrier between your insulation and your boards to prevent condensation from forming.
In the best scenario, you should have the minimum depth required by building regulations, currently 270mm. If this is not possible with the height of your ceiling joists, you may need to bring a professional to raise the loft floor before boarding to get the proper depth.
Step 4: Begin Laying Boards
You can now lay your first board, working 90 degrees to your joists. Make sure that the edge is firmly laid out onto a joist. The other end should land halfway between the next joist. This allows for a secure fastening for both this board and the next. Mark off the spot if required and prepare to cut.
Set this board in place, and measure up a second board to butt up to this end. Again, measure to ensure that this board ends halfway into a joist.
Step 5: Fasten Your Board
Install two or three screws into the flat surface of your board, near the end, and ensure you are drilling screws into the joist. This is where the placement of your board becomes important, as a poorly set board has nothing to be fastened to. Depending on the length of your boards, you may also wish to fasten a screw in the middle of the board for added stability.
You generally don’t need to place any screws into the groove of your boards for extra hold, but if you do, make sure you are using fasteners graded for the purpose. Too large, and you won’t be able to get your tongue to fit into the groove. This makes for a shaky installation!
Step 6: Lay Out Rows
Next, you can lay out a board next to your first. The tongue should fit neatly into the groove. If it needs help, you can gently use your hammer to nudge it into place. Use a block of scrap wood so you are not hammering directly against the delicate tongue and groove to cause damage.
As you work, ensure that your joins (the butt ends of your boards) do not match up, and instead are set in a staggered pattern along each row. This will ensure stronger joins as your boards have both the benefit of the tongue and groove fit and fastening to the ceiling joists.
Use full boards where possible, and save your cut pieces for beginnings or ends of the row. This will save on the number of cuts you need to perform and will improve how quickly you can lay out your rows.
By following our helpful guide, you can be confident working in the confines of your loft to transform this space into something you can use! But if this doesn’t feel like a project you have time to tackle, you can always hire a professional. No matter what method you choose, you can soon be storing your items in a brand new space that has found renewed purpose thanks to a bit of hard work!
Looking for more information on what's involved with a loft renovation? Have a read through our Loft Renovation Price Guide to learn more about the cost considerations of loft remodelling so you can effectively plan your budget.