Convert an Empty Loft to Storage Space

There is a lot of unused space in a loft that can be converted into extra space, and your loft is a great place for seasonal items such as decorations for holidays. Lofts are a readily available source for storage, but in most homes, they are just filled with cobwebs and junk. However, you can convert your loft into tidy accessible storage space that is easy to access without spending a fortune.  One cost-effective way to convert your loft for those on a budget is to add a floor. Accomplish this with plywood or loft decking. Having a floor is the most important feature in converting your loft for storage space.

First you will have to measure the distance between floor joists in your loft. Floor joists should be 16 inches apart, but they vary in older homes. Note the distance or write it down. Measure the width and length of your loft; divide the width by three, and the length by eight; multiply the two numbers together. This is the number of sections you’ll need for your floor. You will most likely have to cut the length of the final section to fit.

Cut your plywood into 3-foot-wide sections. You do not need to cut the length until you get to the final row. Plywood comes in 4-foot by 8-foot sections. Your loft entrance will allow for a 3-foot-wide section to pass through.

Take several sections up to your loft so that you do not need to make multiple trips. This will allow you to spread enough sections across the loft to give you a secure path to your starting point. You will begin installing your planks furthest away from the loft entrance and work your way back to the entrance.

Secure your flooring sections to the floor joists, using your compressor and framing nail gun. You should have a minimum of 12 nails in each section; four nails down the length of each side and four nails going down the centre.

Place the next section up tight against the first and nail it into place. Repeat this pattern across the width of your loft.

Start your next row with the top edge of the plywood section on the same joist as the end of the first section. Place the ends of the first row of flooring to only cover 1/2 or 1 inch of the floor joist so that there is room to place the top of the next section. Continue this pattern until you have completed your floor. Trim the length of the final row to fit.

Bonus Tips

  • You can cut 2-inch by 4-inch boards and install them between wall studs in your loft for shelves
  • Before you overload your loft, contact a builder to assess how much weight your loft can hold.
  • Do not install flooring over wiring. Cut notches in your floor sections or tie it up off the floor if possible.

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