Loft Boarding Requirements

Things you should know

Loft Space Requirements

Two Section Loft LadderNot all lofts are the same hence the reason we carry out free surveys so we can inspect and advise of how your loft can be utilised for storage.

One of the first things to consider is how high your ceiling is, we need to measure from floor to ceiling height as some ladders may not reach.

We then have to measure your existing loft opening making sure it is of a comfortable accessible size to allow you, your ladder and what ever you carry up in to the loft.

Head height is important, we will need to measure the head height from the loft opening to the roof, its no good if you bang your head or have to lay down to get in to your loft.

After checking on these crucial details we must allow clearance for the fold away ladder.

Your ceiling joists will be measured to see if they are adequate enough for boarding, if not we will suggest strengthening these by fitting cross support joists (known as a sub-frame) on top of your existing joists to allow the weight to distribute more evenly, after all your house was built with joists to support a ceiling not to be walked on or stored on so this is very important. (see diagram below)

In some cases we have to install extra ceiling to roof supports to take away any flex in the ceiling and give it a more sturdy feel.
Once all this is taken in to consideration we can then prepare your quote.

Do I need Planning Permission?

Do you need planning permissionYou do not require planning permission to board a loft for storage. Planning permission is only required for major works or large attic / loft conversions for living extension purposes.

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 plasterboard ceiling and any extra weight must be considered before boarding.

In most cases the ceiling joists must be strengthened by introducing another set of joists either running side by side, opposite to the existing joists or to run across the roof truss without resting on the existing ceiling joists.

In most new houses the joist may only require a simple sub-frame building to support the extra weight (see below for more information)and may also require a raised sub-frame to be of a correct height to avoid loft insulation compression or removal.
Insulation has to comply to the relevant building regulations both when installed and when fitted retrospectively

Building Regulations & Building Control?

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 licence may be required if the work affects protected species like bats. This information is available by contacting your local building authority.

What Area Can I Board For Storage?

Best place to board a loftNormally 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.

Can I board all of my loft ?
Completely boarding your loft is not advisable as it can prevent air circulation in your loft and help prevent condensation build up, so best to leave the lower areas like the eaves free from boarding. Also its just adding unnecessary expense boarding an areas that you cant reach easily so therefor you wont use.

Any area can be boarded providing the ceiling joists are strong enough to allow boarding, this will be checked by our loft boarding surveyor.

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 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 do three types of Sub-frame. Standard, Trussed & StoreFloor

Any houses that have any insulation protruding above the joists will require a sub-frame before boarding.

Boarding directly on to your joists by removing or squashing insulation is bad practice nowadays.

You must allow your insulation and loft to breathe. Stopping air circulation in lofts by boarding all of your loft or blocking eaves and roof or soffit vents can caused problems like condensation build up. Do not squash insulation down, and if you use a sub-frame above your insulation do not box in the ends leave them so air can pass underneath your storage floor and insulation so it can work efficiently.


Raised Loft Storage Floor Solution

Using a unique system of steel joists and 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 loft insulation to sit neatly and correctly without compression in between your joists.

For lots more information on this product please click this link

     


Trussed Roof Sub-Frame System

Trussed Roof Sub-Frame


Supported Sub-Frame For Older Houses With Weaker Ceilings?

 

Installing the correct loft ladder

We come across quite a few weaker ceilings or ceilings with smaller joists than normal and we advise not to just board or batten and board (as some companies call it) as the ceiling joists need to be made stronger to allow the additional storage weight (load).

Mainly older terraced and detached houses pre WW2 and post 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 to support your ceiling they were never designed to take much extra weight on them so they must be strengthened correctly to allow boarding, storage items and you to walk about safely and adding more support will prevent problems in the future.

Insufficient strengthening will cause problems with weaker ceilings and unfortunately allot of "loft companies" out there are not aware how to create strong safe storage sub-frames (storage platform) in a loft. There is more to it than you think, see the picture below? this shows the extra work that goes in to creating a level, and almost self supporting storage platform. The sub-frame is hung in places where it cannot bear down for support, usually above the central area of a bedroom, near the light where there is no additional support.
Hangers must be fitted to the purling's to help support (Suspend in some cases) the sub-frame that is required before any boarding can be installed.

 

Suspended and Raised Timber Sub-frameIt is recommend (but optional) to get a load calculation done for your loft storage requirements before you have loft storage installed. But even without this the extra strengthening is recommended and would be silly to ignore as anyone can see adding more weight to a ceiling will require better support.

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.

The LoftZone raised loft floor system can be installed directly to a modern ceiling with a trussed roof to gain height above the insulation of 270mm so you can create a storage area without removing or squashing any insulation, which is not good build practice to do this just to save money on the cost of boarding your loft.

Cut price loft boarding can be dangerous and very unsafe to use, it's not worth the risk to save a few quid. Cutting prices means cutting corners!

 

 

How Strong Will Loft Boarding Be?

Using 18mm tongue and grove particle board gives a strong secure fit.

It's safe to walk on and store on distributing weight evenly over the boarded surface allows plenty safe storage.

To help achieve a safer more stronger platform we build additional joists (or sub-frame) on top of your existing joist which will help to reinforced the ceiling and distribute the weight more evenly as pictured above.

Tall loft insulation, can I still board my loft ?
Yes, depending on the height required to lift the floor above any cables light fittings pipes or loft insulation we use either 3"(76.2mm) or 4"(101.6mm) Wood sub-frame system or 10.62"(270mm) store floor system this raises the new storage floor to a more suitable level to avoid loft insulation compression.

Compressing your loft insulation is not a good idea as it will reduce its efficiency considerably. Removing it is not an option either as this will leave a area that will lose heat quicker and start to cost you money on your heating bills.

See LoftZone store floor link below for the ultimate loft storage system for lofts with tall insulation.

LoftZone StoreFloor More Information

Ladder Measurements & Requirements

Installing the correct loft ladder2 Section Aluminium
(A)
Minimum hatch opening width 562mm (22.28") length 726mm (28.58") with fold down door
(B) Minimum distance required behind hatch 1270mm (50")
(C) Suitable for a floor to ceiling height maximum of' 2692mm (106")
(D) Minimum height required in loft: 710mm (28")
* Width of ladder is 381mm (15")
* Weight maximum 150kg (23.6st)

 

 

3 Section Aluminium
(A)
Minimum hatch opening width 562mm (22.28") length 726mm (28.58") with fold down door
(B) Minimum distance required behind hatch 1120mm (44")
(C) Suitable for a floor to ceiling height maximum of 3000mm (118")
(D) Minimum height required in loft: 710mm (28")
* Width of ladder is 381mm (15")
* Weight maximum 150kg (23.6st)

Loft ladder information sheet available here

Loft Opening Not Big Enough ? Old Inefficient Wood Loft Off Hatch ?

Old hatches are not energy efficient

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 the Building Regulations.
Also your loft hatch needs to be a good size to allow items a ladder and yourself to pass through.

We can replace, make larger, move and improve your loft access door (All prices below are including fitting)

The revolutionary design of the multi-point catch mechanism means that this door (picture below) can maintain a more effective draught seal around the entire accessible opening, helping to meet the air leakage requirements of Part L of the Building Regulations and preventing the problem of moist warm air entering.

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.

Loft hatches - New Replaced or Relocated

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.


One for One straight swap no alterations required from £90

Have your existing loft opening made bigger from only £120

Build a completely new hatch in a new suitable area or room from just £190

Extra long wood hatch with wooden wide tread steps from only £350

726mm x 566mm Loft hatch information sheet available here


New Loft Hatch Benefits

Do I need a new loft hatch? Find Out Click Here
  • Low profile design with sleek, contemporary styling
  • The door and frame are fully draught sealed
  • Seals are supported by multiple perimeter catches
  • Sliding door mechanism is operated from a single point
  • Innovative hinge detail is hidden when the door is locked
  • The design allows for the door to be fully removed in seconds
  • All hinge, catch and fixing geometry outside of the door seals
  • Hinge pivot positioned to provide largest accessible opening
  • Insulated area on the back of the door is fully maximised

Wooden loft hatch and ladderExtra Long 1.15m Wood Loft Hatch & Ladder

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 and deep timber treads for comfort when climbing.

This kit is the complete loft-access solution, with an FSC-certified timber loft ladder
Measuring (H)1150mm x (W)545mm
with spring-assisted stowage and wide, sturdy treads for comfortable climbing.
This loft ladder is stored within the trapdoor so no loft floor space is used.

  • Suitable for heights up to 2.81m (9'2") (3.51m with extension)
  • A complete loft access solution including ladder
    Loft frame surround
    26mm insulated trapdoor and spring assisted stowage
  • Option plain or torus architrave (if available)
  • Uses no further loft floor space - ladder stores neatly within trap door
  • Wide and deep timber treads for comfort when climbing


Feature Size / Details
Max Floor to Ceiling Height 2.81mtr (9'2") 3.51m with extension
Load Capacity 150kg (23.6 Stone)
Tread Material Wood
Door Material Timber with Insulation
Frame Material Wood
Architrave Included Yes (In rounded or torus finish)
Adjustable Length Yes (Cut down to fit less than 2.8m)
Certifications EN14976
Approx. Product Weight Kg 19.6kg

Loft InsulationLoft Insulation & Top Up Service

Heat rises, and in a home with just half of todays recommended levels of insualtion a quarter of your heat is lost through the roof.
Insulating your loft, attic or flat roof is a simple and effective way to save that waste and reduce your heating bill.

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.
If everyone in the UK installed 270mm loft insulation, we could save nearly £210 million and almost 1 million tones of carbon dioxide every year, the equivalent of taking nearly 364,000 cars off the road.

Installing 270mm of loft insulation will save the average household around £187 a year.

Loft insulation
(0 to 270mm)

Detached house Semi detached house Mid terrace house Detached bungalow
Fuel bill savings (£/year) £240 £140 £135 £200
Typical installation cost* £395 £300 £285 £375
Carbon dioxide savings (kgCO2/year) 990 kg 580 kg 550 kg 820 kg

Estimates taken from Energy Saving Trust website.

As part of our loft boarding packages we do loft insulation from as little as £5.06 a square metre for 100mm and £8.90 a square metre for 200mm supplied and installed.

Please note: we can only supply and install insulation as part of a loft boarding package, we do not just install loft insulation.

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 fibres. 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 product 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 SafetyBalustrade and Safety Rails

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.

 


We can make and install simple wooden balustrades or we can installed universal metal rail version which simply install to your loft joists or flooring.

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

Balustrade and Safety Rails

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.

  1. A suitable loft hatch / opening must be provided of regulation size (726mm x 566mm) to allow a person and a secured ladder to pass through without any obstruction

  2. A strong purpose built stow away aluminium ladders must be fixed in place with lockable sections when pulled down to use.

  3. A safety rail must be provided to surround the hatch to protect anyone falling down the loft opening from inside the loft by walking backwards or stumbling towards the opening.

  4. A secure purpose built platform must be provided to allow a safe walkway and to surround the apparatus / equipment to be maintained. Several working areas can be provided which are accessed off the main walkway.

  5. Adequate fixed lighting must be installed correctly and be installed in accordance with IEE wiring regulations and comply with building regulation Part P (The light must be fixed and a switch must be placed in a safe but easy to reach location from the loft opening)

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
Working at Height download our PDF white paper http://www.loft-boarding-nw.co.uk/docs/Safety_in_lofts.pdf

Loft Lighting

Loft Lighting

Lighting is important for your loft, you need to see what you are doing and where you are standing.

We can install a simple light bulb and pull switch so you can immediately switch in the light before stepping off your ladder, no point having a switch further inside where you cant see to switch it on.

We have a choice of standard bulbs the new LED bulbs or fluorescent tubes fittings.

The choice is your, the cost is not to great between them and it really depends on how much area is boarded in your loft.

We recommend 1 bulb per 14ft (4.5m) or 1 fluorescent 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

Here is a incandescent bulb guide to convert watts to lumens

 

Lighting for lofts
WATTS LUMENS
40 450
60 800
75 1100
100 1600


Fluorescent tube lighting is our most popular because it has a very high Lumens rating and spreads the light much further than a standard bulb.

If you plan to use your loft quite a lot for storage. ebaying, hobby or study room then we recommend a tube light.

A 4ft tube light can give out as much light as 7 old 40w bulbs but uses less energy to do so as its equivalent to only 36w instead of 280w for 7 bulbs