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The Happy Handymen Guide to Loft Boarding

Hello and thank-you for downloading this guide. 

Having your loft converted can be a wonderfully freeing experience.  If access is straightforward and you have a light up there it makes the whole issue of storage so much more trouble free. 

So, let me take you through the issues

1. Access

If your loft hatch is not big enough to fit through then you will need it widened.  This will involve creating a larger hole in the ceiling and some making good afterwards.  Generally you should allow up to a day to get this done. 

If you want a ladder installed to get up there the starting point is to get your loft hatch opening downwards.  This can take a couple hours depending on what sort of loft hatch you have in place. 

Then installing the ladder is usually quite simple so long as there is space in the loft to store it so that it opens in the right direction to where you have space in your hallway.  Make sure that you order a ladder that is long enough to reach the floor. 

If there isn’t the space for a ladder to fit on the floor of the loft then there are solutions available where the ladder sits on the loft hatch itself. 

2. Lighting

This really makes a big difference to how comfortable you will feel going in and out of a loft.  For peace of mind we can get a light wired into your mains – so long as there is some power source in the loft (usually there is).  If there isn’t it can become quite expensive. 

But there are also lots of very inexpensive battery powered LED lights which can be supplied and fitted very easily.  They can last for years if you’re not up there too often. 

3. Tidying up

Often there are wires and pipes all over the loft and these need to be tidied up before we board.  With regard to the pipes you’ll need to decide if you want the whole loft boarded or whether to leave the areas with pipes alone.  We can cut grooves into the joists to hide any electrical wires and if possible we do the same for the pipes.  It is often necessary to build boxing around pipes as well. 

The other option is to cross batten the whole loft.  With this method all of the pipes and wires can usually be placed underneath the loft boards without any need for touching the joists.  This is relatively quick and clean way of doing things and we are happy to  recommend this method.  You only lose about 22mm of height. 

4. Insulation

Most people want some form of insulation.  It is important to know a couple of things

  1. the standard height of joists in a loft is 100mm or 10cm.
  2. The recommended amount of insulation is 275mm. 

So if we are insulating and then boarding we have three options. 

a) Just put in 100mm of insulation.  This will make a real difference.  It works out at about £3 per sqm. 

b) Cross batten the area to be boarded – this will raise the floor level by 100mm allowing 200mm of insulation.  This is a pretty good middle ground solution.  It also often means that less work needs to be done “Tidying Up” (see above)

b) Install loft legs which are 175mm high and they sit on top of the joists and the boards sit on top of them after you’ve put in the 275mm insulation.  You will need a lot of loft legs though and they are about £1 each.  So for a loft that is say 35sqm with 600mm gaps between the joists you will need 250 or so.  And they all need to be screwed in and the boards need to be screwed in to them.  It’s time consuming but they say it will pay for itself in saved energy costs.  You will be raising the level of your floor so you will loose some height. 

Just as an addendum it should be said that it is possible to use Celotex insulation but it isn’t particularly advisable for loft floors that aren’t new.  The boards will need to be sculpted so they fit over any wires and pipes that are in the floor and this makes it very time consuming.  We can do it though. 

5. The boards

We generally use smaller boards as these are easier to get into a loft and they are easier to manipulate in tight spaces.  Generally we use tongue and groove boards so that you will have a floating floor which saves on time and money.  You can still open these boards up if you need access for pipes and wires.  They cost about £8 per sqm and we can get 20 – 30 sqm done in a day. 

Once you’ve had a chance to read this document why not give us a call on 07419 73 42 73 and I’ll be able to work out an estimate for you. 


Happy Handymen

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