Is it safe to board this loft?

Discussion in 'Floors, Stairs and Lofts' started by stealthwolf, 20 Jul 2017.

  1. stealthwolf

    stealthwolf

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    The previous owners had boarded the loft but TBH it looks rubbish. There's very little insulation underneath the boards and definitely no air gap. The insulation has been chucked to one side and evidently is the cause of the bedroom underneath it being the warmest room in the house.


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    What I was hoping to do was to remove the old boards and probably the old insulation, use some sort of loft stilt system eg loftzone and reboard the area, leaving about 1m around the roof edges (but not the party wall).

    The joists don't look very big - about 3 inches high.

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    Is this stupid or sensible? Is there a better way?
     
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  3. Extooth

    Extooth

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    Not stupid at all. An air gap is important to allow ventilation through the eaves and under the boards. Compressing the insulation like in your pictures also negates some of the effectiveness of the insulation, so its not doing its job as well as it could. Boarding the loft was very useful when I did it not so long ago, its definitely worth doing and the space you will have is handy, both for you and future occupants.

    I can't talk much about Loftzone - I very much like the idea behind their system, easy to use etc. I was on a budget and decided to go with LoftLeg, it was a much cheaper option and tbh, imo gives exactly the same results albeit with a bit more work. Bought mine from wickes, every now and then they come on a deal also. http://www.wickes.co.uk/Loftleg-175mm-Loft-Legs-Pack-12/p/100412
     
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  4. stealthwolf

    stealthwolf

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    @Extooth thanks. Is there any way of knowing whether the joists are strong enough to take boarding?

    I'm worried about the ceiling below cracking or even collapsing.
     
  5. Extooth

    Extooth

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    Sorry for late reply:

    I can't really say, unless it is clearly not looking able to take weight i.e the wood doesn't appear sturdy, there are cracks or whatever then maybe not. I'm not an expert at it so might be worth to get a second opinion, or if you are worried maybe even some professional advice whether some more joists would benefit your situation. Based solely on your pictures, I would be happy to add boards and some storage.

    The thing to remember is to stay clear of placing all your weight on a single joist - use crawl boards to spread the weight across multiple joists whilst you are working up there. Obviously do not walk on the actual plasterboard of the ceiling as this will get damaged and you might even fall through :p

    The joists in most cases will be sturdy enough to hold boards, the problem is what you want to store up there. Don't overload the joists by placing a lot of weight in one area of the loft - i have seen horror pictures of antique furniture in some attics and it makes me cringe! The way i did it was use storage boxes from Wilkos or similar, spread out across the loft, not stacked. There is still lots of space and i'm positive the weight added is minimal as its spread out quite a bit across multiple joists.

    Can maybe get some pictures i have somewhere of me doing exactly what your doing, will try and upload.
     
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  6. stealthwolf

    stealthwolf

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    Thanks. A few of the boards already up there looked reasonably strong. I have walked across the middle of the loft, carefully placing all 90kg of me on there. Also had the missus up at one point but I was sitting on the loft floor.

    I was looking at buying loft storage boxes. Anything that would fit through the loft hatch, and could be easily passed up by the wife. The heaviest boxes would be textbooks and I was thinking of putting these closest to the party wall (it's a semi-detached house).
     
  7. Extooth

    Extooth

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    You will appreciate the end result, its a lot of work but satisfying to know one has a lot of space for storage - always comes in handy!

    (also forgot to mention - wear a dust mask if you aren't already.. The fibers from insulation are a real pain in the ass)

    Here are some pics from my project a few months back - at first i wanted to only do a little section for storage but yeah, DIY got the better of me!

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  8. stealthwolf

    stealthwolf

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  9. D4N1EL

    D4N1EL

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    I don't know about them loft stilt things but I have seen them in the shop and look quite expensive.

    When I done my loft, I screwed 2x2 to the joists and worked off that.

    I had just changed my upstairs ceiling so I had no insulation to mess about with while doing it.

    I screwed the 2x2 to the joist then insulted in between the joists with (I think) cavity wall insulation, it was a snug fit between the joists, 100mm thick and 1.2 meters long, so it didn't take long. I think it was £30 for 8 lengths, I looked on an online auction site and found someone selling it half price.

    I only boarded the centre 2meters of my loft from end to end, left about a 10mm gap at either end. I then put a 2nd layer of insulation over the rest of the loft what wasn't boarded.

    I used 8x4 sheets (was easy to get in while a ceiling was down) but was a pain to cut, especially in the loft.

    I then got 2 roof windows (in law is a roofer, he taken them out of a roof and into mine) ideal for letting loads of light in when up there twice a year.

    Loads of extra storage space, but if your other half is like mine, it's just more space to store crap.
     
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  11. D4N1EL

    D4N1EL

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    Put the heavy stuff over a supporting wall. I have 1 wall that goes from the floor right up and the ceiling joists sit on it. I don't have anything heavy in there but everything is around that wall area.
     
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  12. I would suspect you've actually got 4" joists, but with a lathe and plaster ceiling, the plaster pushes through the lathes, and reduces the depth. You can add 2x1 to build it up and then put down 100mm of insulation. You'd normally then put the next layer at 90 degrees, and use the loft legs, but I use 2 lots of 3x2 screwed to the joists, then add the extra insulation. I also use wood glue as I go, and that makes for a stronger joist for storing things up there.
     
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  13. amfisted

    amfisted

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    I probably need to do something similar with our loft.

    It was boarded out by the previous owners, and although they've done an excellent job on the boarding itself, the sheets are screwed directly on top of the joists, meaning that insulation thickness is minimal. They appear to have tried to compensate for that by adding great piles of insulation around the unboarded edges of the loft. There's no ventilation in the loft whatsoever, with insulation packed right up to the inner face of the closed soffits. So as discussed elsewhere on this forum, I intend to open up the soffits and add gable vents to get some air into the loft. Looking around the close at other bungalows I can't see evidence of any vents in soffits or gables, nor roof vents, so it looks like their lofts will be roasting in summer and dripping with condensation in winter, just like ours.

    Very interesting to read this thread, and I may decide to lift our boarding in a similar manner.
     
  14. stealthwolf

    stealthwolf

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    Rightio. SWMBO and I removed as much of the loft insulation as possible. It took two cars two trips to the tip to chuck it all. I've got some boards left to remove and take the underlying insulation away.

    The main concern I have is with the wiring and installing the insulation. I can put down the 100mm base layer inbetween the joists and ensure the wiring goes over it.

    I'm concerned about adding the 170mm layer because there's not enough slack for the wiring to lay over this second layer too.

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    Am going to wickes tomorrow to pick up the insulation and loftboards. I've pulled the trigger and ordered the loftzone flooring system.

    Any other advice would be welcome.
     
  15. Astra99

    Astra99

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    What are those rectangular metal things? Are they hoods for downlighters? If so, I would suggest they are kept free of insulation. As far as the cables go, 1.0mm² or 1.5mm² cable for the lighting circuit can usually be buried in insulation as the derating factor for the current-carrying capacity will (usually) still be greater than the overcurrent device. However, if you have any power circuits (2.5mm cable) in the loft, then whether those cables can be buried in insulation will depend on how they are connected to the CU, and what they are supplying. If in doubt, please obtain the services of an electrician.
    HTH
     
  16. stealthwolf

    stealthwolf

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    Yes they look light covers for downlighters, except there aren't any upstairs (there's one in the downstairs toilet that is under the staircase) and I changed all of the bulbs to LED ones last year.

    There's an electric shower and I'm keeping the insulation well away from there. Otherwise I was thinking of leavinn a small channel for the wiring to prevent overheating.
     
  17. stealthwolf

    stealthwolf

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    Right guys, I removed the old T&G chipboard which were screwed down but there are some boards that were nailed down.

    Is there a safe way to rip out the nails with minimal damage to joist? Or is it okay to use clawhammer or claw bar?
     
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