Things You Need To Know About Loft Boarding
How Strong Will Loft Boarding Be?
Very strong because we use purpose made18mm tongue and grove particle board
which gives a strong secure fit.
See LoftZone store floor link below for the ultimate loft storage system for lofts with tall insulation.
Loft Space Requirements
In some case especially on older properties with old lift off wood
hatches a new energy efficient hatch will need to be installed so you can
safely access your loft with a loft ladder to store in.
Do I need Planning Permission?
However in some homes the timber joists may not be adequate in strength to support a "load" or storage weight.
This is why we must do a survey to determine if your loft has adequate ceiling joist to allow the loft to be boarded. Most ceilings are only designed to take the weight of the plaster ceiling and any extra weight must not be put directly on to the existing ceiling joists.
In most cases with older properties approximately 50+ years the ceiling joists must not be used as support so a self supporting sub-frame needs to be build above the existing ceiling joists.
In most new houses the joists may only require a simple sub-frame building to support the extra weight (see below for more information)
but some may also require a raised sub-frame to be of a correct height to avoid loft insulation compression or removal.
Although we always work to building regulations where applicable, and always make sure your existing joists are supported or strengthened building control can be a grey area sometimes when it come to building work, so if you decide to have your loft boarded for storage, mini loft conversion or luxury loft storage and depending on where you are in the country, type of property (listed or other) and what you are having done this may or may not require a building regulations application to building control. No planning permission is required but a wildlife license may be required if the work affects protected species like bats. This information is available by contacting your local building authority.What is Part L of the Building regulations and does it affect my home?
Part L of the building regulations govern the conservation of fuel and power used by buildings. This affects brand new properties and older existing properties. All energy efficient products work to a U value, which is the heat loss measurement.
Normally we only board areas which are accessible by standing or kneeling but not lying down. Keeping your storage area central highest point will be most practical.
No point going to the unnecessary expense of boarding your eaves as they are to low and not really that accessible, plus you need to keep these areas clear so as to allow airflow around your loft, this is very important.
New build properties are completely different to older purlin style
roofs house such as Pre-war terraced and detached. Timber self supporting sub-frames are
required in these houses to add support and strength so as not to rely
upon the exiting ceiling joists so a much safe stronger area can be
Below are examples of different systems we use to create a safe, strong storage floor in your loft.
This will give you a better idea of how we professionally construct your loft floor to make it strong to walk and store on.
What is a Sub-Frame For?
Sub-frames are basically a supporting frame under the boarding to allow the boarded area to be raised above the insulation and / or for adding better support and strength.
See examples below of different sub-frames we use to create a safe, strong storage floor in your loft.
We now do three types of Sub-frame. Standard Trussed, LoftZone StoreFloor, and
LBNW Timber Raised and Supported
You must allow your insulation and loft to breathe. Stopping air circulation in lofts by boarding all of your loft or blocking eaves, roof or soffit vents can caused problems like condensation build up
which may lead to damp ceilings and loft timbers.
Using a unique system of steel joists and strong plastic triangle shaped supports we can create a extra strong and safe professionally raised floor for storage in your loft without the need for major work.
We can give you an additional height of 270mm above your joist level for loft insulation to sit neatly and correctly without compression in between this system.
This is ideal for most new build and houses built circa 1960 with a trussed style roof.
For lots more information on this product please click this link
Typical Types of Roof Supports
Purlin style roofs are usually support by large wood beams or steel RSJ's which spam
across the rafters supported sometimes by central walls and outer wall or party walls.
Trussed Roof Timber Sub-Frame System (Shallow Roof
Alternative/ Garages etc.)
This sort of sub-frame is best
suited for trussed roof systems where there is no ceiling plasterboard or
insulation, for example a garage roof void or a roof that is so shallow it
cant take the height of 270mm StoreFloor system.
We come across allot of weaker ceilings or ceilings with smaller joists than normal and we advise not to just board direct tot he joists or batten and board directly to the joists because the ceiling joists are to weak to allow the additional boarding & storage weight (load).
Mainly older terraced and detached houses pre WW2 and after WW2 when we started building again we had a short supply of materials so houses were built to a very minimal specification. Although your ceiling joists are adequate (in most cases) to support your ceiling only they were never designed to take any extra weight on them so they must be strengthened or built above correctly to allow boarding, storage items and you to walk about safely and by adding more support this will prevent problems in the future.
Insufficient strengthening or supporting of a storage floor will cause problems with weaker ceilings and
unfortunately allot of "loft companies" out there are not aware of how to
create strong safe storage sub-frames (storage platforms) in a loft.
Installing directly or on some 3x2 batten only increases the load on the
existing ceiling and will not strengthen it. Add your storage items, you
and someone else and without the correct extra support and your ceiling
could essentially be dangerously overloaded.
But is it really necessary to build a sub-frame?
Newer built properties however (with a truss roof in the past 50 years
or so) are a little different as they have support from a web truss frame
that is installed in your loft every 600mm and supports the roof and
ceiling all in one.
Link to LoftZone StoreFloor Page this system is suitable for more modern houses with a trussed roof
Aluminium Ladder Measurements & Requirements
3 Section Aluminium
Having updated your insulation level to the government recommended 270mm, but what about you badly seal and in efficient out dated loft hatch? The most important part of retaining heat in your home is to heavily insulate the ceiling area at the top of your landing and update the old loft hatch to a more efficient modern building regulation spec hatch. Your upstairs landing is where most of the down stairs heat ends up and a poor weak loft hatch will just let it all through costing you £100's a year There is just no point having a heavily insulated loft and leaving in the old inefficient loft hatch.
Reverse hinging an old wood loft hatch is no longer seen as good practice as it does not comply with air leakage requirements of Part L of Building Regulations.
This loft door has been independently tested by the BRE to BS EN 13141-1:2004, and easily surpasses the requirements for air leakage which are outlined in the current building standards, certification is available.
The door is unlocked by hand by sliding to open the catch mechanism. This door can also be used in conjunction with the aluminum, concertina or wood loft ladders.
Energy Efficient Loft Hatches
One for One straight swap no alterations required from £90
Have your existing loft opening made bigger from only £120 to £190
Build a completely new hatch in a new suitable area or room from just £190 - £250
Extra long wood hatch with wooden wide tread steps from only £350 - £490
New building regulation specification energy efficient loft hatch
(726mm Long x 566mm Wide)
Do I need a new loft hatch? Find Out Click Here
Extra Long 1.15m Wood Loft Hatch & Ladder With Wide Tread Steps
In some cases we come across customers who need a larger loft opening or may not have the space for a aluminum floor mounted ladder to stow away, so the alternative is to install a larger more convenient loft ladder complete with framed hatch. Wide 84mm and deep timber treads for comfort when climbing.
This kit is the complete loft-access solution, with an timber loft ladder
Measuring (H)1150 x (W)545cm
with spring-assisted stowage and wide, sturdy wide treads for comfortable climbing.
This loft ladder is stored within the trapdoor so no loft floor space is used.
Automated Loft Ladders
If you struggle to operate a loft ladder but still want to use your loft for storage how about a semi automated timber loft ladder with extra long loft hatch.
Loft Insulation & Top Up Service
Heat rises, and in a home with just half of todays recommended levels of
insulation a quarter of your heat is lost through the roof.
Loft insulation is effective for at least 40 years, and it will pay for itself over and over again in that time.
If your loft is already insulated, it's worth checking that you've got enough insulation to get the maximum saving.
Installing 270mm of loft insulation will save the average household around £187 a year.
Estimates taken from Energy Saving Trust website.
As part of our loft boarding packages we do loft insulation from as
little as £5.25 a square metre for 100mm and £6.99 a square metre for 200mm supplied and installed.
Storing items in your loft incorrectly can compromise the efficiency of your loft insulation. Putting boxes and suitcase away in your loft directly on to your insulation will start to cost you more money on your heating bills because you are effectively making it possible to breath and circulate air through the fibre's. Wool fibre type loft insulation must be none compressed so air can circulate through it to be at it most effective.
Boarding directly on to insulation or squashing it down in between your joists will also reduce it efficiency considerably.
So you want to add more insulation and use your loft for storage?
There are now specialist products that allow you to create a raise loft storage floor consisting of sturdy tri and uni-support 270mm legs which support a metal cross beam section that allows you to board on to without compromising your insulation.
For lots more information on this product please click this link
Loft safety is very important, accidents can happen and helping prevent them especially in lofts is very important. The most common accidents in lofts are falling through the ceiling and falling down the loft hatch opening.
In both cases we can help prevent this from happening by installing good quality strong flooring in the areas you want to access and install a rail or balustrade around the opening of the hatch to stop anyone from walking backwards or stumbling toward the loft hatch, its a long way down and could be quite nasty so its worth considering installing a safety balustrade or railing.
If you need a helping hand getting in to your loft why not have installed a hand grab rail to assist your balance when climbing the ladder in to the loft area.
We can also create a safety balustrade around the edge of the boarding to prevent stepping off the safe boarded area on to the plaster board ceiling.
Contractor Safety Work Access
We often get asked to create a working platform, stage or walkway for any contractors who may need to access your loft to work on Boilers, Solar panel equipment, TV or networking equipment, pipe work or electric cables. A contractor can refuse to do this work if there is no safe area to walk on or if the access to your loft is bad.
We can help provide easy safe access to your equipment in your loft by providing what is recommend for working at height safety requirements.
The walkway / boarding must be constructed by using a raised sub-frame system to avoid compression of any existing loft insulation. Any insulation compression will diminish the effectiveness of the insulation considerably.
More information and white paper on Loft Safety
LED Loft Lighting
Lighting is important for your loft, you need to see what you are doing and where you are standing.
Lets make your loft lighting safe. We can install a simple LED light bulb and pull switch so you can immediately switch on the light before stepping off your ladder, no point having a switch further inside where you cant see to switch it on.
We install LED bulbs as standard nowadays and that including 4ft batten tubes lights (See info below) .
LED bulbs have now become the norm. Almost everything
has been converted to LED
because its much cheaper to run than
the older incandescent bulbs and such like.
The choice is your, the cost is not really much between them and it really depends on how much area is boarded in your loft to how much light you'll need.
We recommend 1 LED bulb per 14ft (4.5m) or 1 LED tube per 24ft (7.3m)
When going for lighting the modern way is to chose is by Lumens not watts.
"The more lumens then more light. Lumens are to light what litres are to milk"
LED tube lighting is our most popular because they are energy saving and has a very high lumens rating (for the watts output) and spreads the light much further than a standard bulb.
If you plan to use your loft quite a lot for storage. eBay, hobby or study room then we recommend a tube light.
A 4ft LED tube light can give out as much light as 7 bulbs but uses less energy to do so as its equivalent to only 27w instead of 280w for 7 old style bulbs