Boarding out your own loft can be a daunting task.
This article provides you with everything you need to know about boarding out lofts. Details are also provided about insulation requirements when boarding out your loft space.
Why board out your loft?
- It is a great way of gaining extra storage space within your home.
- Boarding a loft makes it easier to access heating pipes and electrical connections. But only if boards are laid out carefully adjacent to the pipes.
- It makes your loft a safer place. Once boarded you will not have to worry about accidentally falling through your ceiling. You can also move around heavy boxes without constantly watching where you are treading.
Things to consider when boarding out your loft
- It is important to consider the type of insulation you will install, and how much.
- Ensure easy access to pipes and electrical cables when boarding your loft. Ideally board around pipes and cable if you can. If there is a leak or electrical fault, you need to make sure access is possible.
- Consider how you will access your loft. Loft flooring is usually raised these days due to thicker insulation being used. However, you do not want your floor raised too much around the loft access area. This will make it easier for you to access your loft via the step ladder.
How to board your loft – Step by step guide:
- Loft legs. These are plastic legs about 175mm in length. Loft boards are then screwed on top of these legs. It is necessary to raise the height of your loft floor as thicker insulation requirements are needed.
- Loft tongue and groove boards.
- Loft board screws.
- Drill with Pozi drive (enables rapid screwing)
- Quality dust mask.
- Disposable paper suit.
Step 1 – Location and size of loft boarding:
- Decide whether or not the whole loft needs to be boarded.
- Usually people only require a small storage space in the loft.
- Large areas of loft boarding can be very expensive.
- Try to place your loft boarding close to the loft hatch.
- Choose an area where there are no water pipes, or anything else you may need access too. If you board over such things it will be difficult to reach it.
- Loft legs raise your loft floor by 175mm, they can be purchased from local DIY stores. Therefore you may want to install a lower floor next to your loft entrance. This is usually done be placing wood directly on top of the joists.
Step 2 – Insulation height:
- Insulation requirements for homes have improved over the last few decades. Most older homes have an insulation thickness of 100mm only, between the joists. Loft boards were simply laid on top of the joists then screwed in.
- Current insulation requirements recommended by the Energy Saving Trust are 270mm. This figure is based on glass fibre wool insulation.
Step 3 – Insulation types:
- There are many types of insulation out there, all having different properties. The most common type is glass fibre. However, you can use PIR insulation boards. PIR foam board is more effective then glass wool by a factor of 2. This means 100mm of PIR board is equivalent to 200mm of glass fibre wool.
- Usually customers go for standard glass fibre insulation due to its cost effectiveness.
Step 4 – Installing insulation and loft legs:
If you have very old insulation, consider starting from scratch. Once all is removed you can vacuum between the joists. Remember to wear a mask when dealing with glass fibre insulation, as is releases tiny particles which are easy to breath in. Also look out for old nests or hives, ensure they are dealt with properly.
The following steps assume you have removed all your old insulation first:
- Lay 100mm of glass fibre wool between every loft joist. Cut the wool to the correct length and width.
- Now screw the loft leg bases into the joists, using 4 screws per leg. Spacing of the legs will depend upon the floor panel used. Space the legs about 30cm apart as a general rule of thumb.
- You are not ready for step 5.
Step 5 – Installing loft boards:
- Screw your first loft board down on top of your loft legs. First one should be installed furthest away from your loft hatch. Use 2 screws per loft leg. One board should have a total of 8 screws in it. Make sure the orientation of the loft board is correct. Tongue and groove boards are designed to slot together.
- Slide the second loft board into place, so that it joins to the first one. Now screw the board into the legs beneath it using 2 per leg.
- Repeat this process until you lay all of your loft boards.
- You have now completed the how to board your loft guide.
How to board your loft using different insulation:
Although expensive, you may want to consider using PIR boards to insulate your loft. It is twice as efficient then glass fibre wool. Maybe you would only consider this if your loft space is very low. The floor will only have to be raised 50mm if you were using 100mm PIR boards between joints. The 50mm gap is to ensure airflow, allowing any moisture to escape.