How to Board a Loft
Boarding your loft is a fantastic way to enhance the usability of your loft space. Accessing your loft won’t just be safer and more convenient, you’ll also gain a considerable amount of space in your home. Perfect for storing all those belongings you just can’t find a place for, or even undertaking a full loft conversion. No matter how you use it, adding extra space to your home is always a winner when it comes to property value. What’s more, boarding your loft correctly has also been shown to improve both thermal and acoustic insulation, which will make your home a more comfortable place to live and save on energy bills.
Learning how to board a loft is a simple and straightforward process, which can easily be done by a homeowner looking to save on labour costs. That’s why we’ve written this helpful guide, to take you through the process of boarding a loft step-by-step, so you can achieve the best results possible. Why not take a look at our great range of loft boards at the same time? We’ve got tongue and groove chipboard sheets, along with 18mm structural plywood, OSB boards, and more.
Table of Contents
- How Much Does It Cost to Board a Loft?
- Things to Consider Before You Start
- Measuring Your Loft Space
- Tools & Equipment
- Loft Legs & Supports
- How to Lay Loft Boards
How Much Does It Cost to Board a Loft?
The exact cost of boarding a loft will vary depending on a number of factors. These include the area of your loft space, the boarding you choose, and whether or not you hire a professional. What you plan on using your loft for in future also plays a role, as you may choose only to board a small section for added storage, rather than boarding and insulating the entire space.
If doing the job yourself, you can expect to pay around £300 for materials. However, this doesn’t take into consideration any insulation you may require, or complications you may run into such as repairs. Hiring a carpenter to board your loft for you will cost around £100-£150 per day, depending on where you live. Depending on your loft size this could raise the cost of boarding it up to around £1000.
Things to Consider Before You Start
Before starting the boarding process, there are a few points you should consider.
Space & Accessibility
First, think about the pitch and construction of your roof. Some homes will feature loft spaces large enough to stand in, while others will be little more than a crawl space. Depending on your reasons for boarding up your loft, you may only want to board up certain parts. Be sure to carefully evaluate the amount of space you have before purchasing materials, and decide how much boarding is truly practical for the loft you’ve got.
Another key point to check is the strength of your ceiling joists. Weak, or compromised joists can pose a serious risk to health and safety, especially if required to manage the extra weight of loft boards, insulation, stored items, or footfall. This problem is especially prominent in older properties, so it’s vital to ensure your ceiling and roof structure is capable of supporting you and the project you envision.
Before laying any loft boards, you should also evaluate your current loft insulation. For it to be thermally effective, building regulations state that it must be at least 270mm deep. Compressing insulation significantly affects its ability to manage heat and moisture levels, so you must ensure that there is a gap between the insulation and your loft boards to regulate air flow, prevent condensation and moisture build-up.
Wires & Light Fittings
It's quite likely that wires may be positioned where you plan on installing loft boards. If the wires have enough slack, they could simply be run directly underneath the boarding. If you opt for this method, be sure to notch the joist, and create a marking on the board showing where you’ve positioned the wire. This will help you avoid trapping it before you fix the boards down. If the wires have no slack in them, you could disconnect the cable at the source and use a junction box along with additional lengths of wire.
You may also run into light fittings whilst installing boards in your loft. Thankfully, the fix for this is rather simple. We’d suggest cutting the panel to gain access to the fitting, creating an infill panel if the light fitting is sat in the centre of the board. One point of safety to note, is that light fittings generate heat, so insulation should be positioned away from any light fixtures in order to prevent potential fire hazards.
Measuring Your Loft Space
Before you purchase any materials, it’s vital to double-check the measurements you’ve taken for your loft area to avoid any mistakes that could cost you time and money. Once you’ve thoroughly evaluated the space, and decided which areas of the loft to board, measure the space, multiplying the width of your loft by the length. It’s also important to take down the distance between joists.
Standard loft boards generally come in two sizes which are 2400mm x 600m and 1220mm x 320mm with either a 18mm or 22mm thickness. Adding at least 20% on top of the metre measurements you have made can allow leeway for tricky cuts if your loft space is a more awkward size. You should also measure the size of your loft hatch entrance to ensure that the boards can fit through.
Tools & Equipment
To ensure high-quality results as well as optimum safety, it is key to ensure you utilise the correct tools for the job. Here is a checklist of what you will need for your roofing boarding project.
- Tape Measure
- Dust Mask
- Protective (Hooded) Overalls
- Appropriate Footwear
- Electric Screwdriver
- Jigsaw & Work Bench (if your boards need to be cut to size)
Loft Legs & Supports
As mentioned previously, when fitting loft boards, it is crucial to ensure that your insulation does not get squashed. If your insulation lies above the joists, then before fitting your loft boards, your floor will need raising. This is where loft legs and supports come in handy. Supports such as these can be attached to your joists, spaced evenly 1m apart along the joist, with the loft boards then fitted on top. This method creates a gap between your insulation and loft boards, reducing the risk of condensation and moisture-build up.
How to Lay Loft Boards
Step 1: Before beginning the installation, make sure you are wearing your full protective clothing, facemask, and gloves. Place a temporary board between your ceiling joists to create a platform to work from. Start placing the board onto the joists. If the board overhangs, create a marking in the middle of the last joist that it crosses over and make a cut using your jigsaw.
Step 2: After setting the first board in place, measure a second board to butt up to its end, again measuring to ensure the board ends in the centre of a joist. Fix two or three screws into the surface of the board, close to the end. When drilling, make sure you are fixing the screws into the ceiling joist. You can also drill a screw into the centre of the board for extra reliability.
Step 3: Next, you can lay out another board, sliding into position along with the first board. The tongue-and-groove should fully link to form a smooth join. Then, use two or three screws to fix along the join. As you continue to fit, the boards should be laid in a staggered pattern with the joints not aligning to prevent any weak spots and ensure optimum strength. You can measure and cut pieces to infill as you go but saving cut pieces for the start or ends of the row will reduce the number of cuts you create and make the installation process simpler.
When done correctly and safely, boarding your loft is a brilliant way to make the most of your loft space. With no expensive specialist tools needed, the loft board installation process can be relatively hassle-free with the appropriate tips and knowledge under your belt. Before beginning a project such as this, it is vitally important to consider and evaluate each step fully to ensure you understand the process completely.
If you have any more questions about how to board your loft, get in touch with our award winning customer service team. They can be reached via telephone on 01295 565 565 or the live chat on our website.