Frequently Asked Questions

How Strong Will Loft Boarding Be?

Very strong because we use purpose made 18mm thick, tongue and groove particle board, which is made from various recyclable particle materials held together with super strong glue, this gives a strong secure fit. It's safe to walk on and store on distributing weight evenly over the sub-frame (the frame work we build underneath the boards) surface allows really safe strong storage.

To help achieve a safer, stronger platform we build a supporting sub-frame above your existing joists using internal walls and purlins to strengthen the boarded area. Our timber framed self-supporting sub-frame does not rely upon your existing ceiling joists unlike other methods used by most companies who use inferior battening like 3x2 laid directly on to your existing ceiling joists which will weaken them. Your ceiling joists are only meant to hold up the plaster ceiling, it is not a floor and therefore a bespoke sub-frame must be built above the existing joists and self-supported to make it strong and safe to use for storage purposes.

I have Tall loft insulation, can I still board my loft?

Yes, depending on the height required to build the sub-frame storage floor above any cables, light fittings, pipes or loft insulation we use either a timber raised double self-supporting sub-frame, which is mainly for houses 50+ years with a purlin style roof or for more modern properties (Within the last 50 years) with a truss styled roof we use a either LOFT-E or LoftZone raised storage floor system. This raises the new storage floor to a more suitable level to avoid loft insulation compression, especially in new build properties with government recommended insulation levels being 270mm high.

Compressing your loft insulation is a bad idea. It will reduce your homes energy efficiency considerably and may even cause damp and condensation issues. Removing it is not an option either as this will leave an area that will lose heat quicker and start to cost you money on your heating bills.
See LoftZone or the LOFT-E page for lofts with tall insulation.

Can I Fit Loft Boarding Directly on to My Ceiling Joists?

No, especially with older properties that have weaker ceilings, it’s just not worth the risk cutting corners to save a few quid on materials when it can be done properly.

Doing it properly includes strengthening, installing supports, leveling, making safe and future proofing so as not to cause damage to your ceilings. Especially with all the weight stored up there in the years to come, and for a little more money why risk a cheap alternative? Seriously, many people have regretted it.

Ceilings are not meant to hold any more weight than for holding up your ceiling, so consideration in to the correct type of sub-frame and support is crucial.

Never board directly to your ceiling joists

Not all lofts are the same hence the reason we carry out free surveys so we can inspect and advise on how your loft can be utilised for storage and what the best sub-frame flooring system will be to give strength and excellent energy efficiency.

One of the first things to consider apart from the ceiling joist strength 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 whatever you carry up in to the loft.

In some cases, especially on older properties with old lift off wood hatches, a new energy efficient hatch will need to be installed so you can safely access your loft with a loft ladder so you can use it for storage.

Head height in the loft is important, we will need to measure the head height from the loft opening to the roof. It's 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, so not all ladders will work for every loft.

For older properties built before 1960 with a purling style roof, your ceiling joists will need strengthening by fitting an extra self-supporting sub-frame on top of your supporting walls and hung from the roof purlins to allow the weight to be taken independently and away from the existing ceiling joists, 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.

Do I need Planning Permission?

No Planning Permission Required

You 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 joists to allow the loft to be boarded. Most ceilings are only designed to take the weight of the plaster ceiling and any extra weight must not be put directly on to the existing ceiling joists.

In most cases with older properties approximately 50+ years, the ceiling joists must not be used to support extra weight, so a self-supporting sub-frame needs to be built above the existing ceiling joists.

In Most new houses, the joists may only require a simple 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 conform 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 comes to building work.

So, if you decide to have your loft boarded for more than just storage, like a  mini loft conversion or luxury loft storage room and depending on where you are in the country and type of property (listed or other) this may or may not require an application to building control.

No planning permission is required, but a wildlife license may be required if the work affects protected species like bats etc. This information is available by contacting your local building authority.

a truss roof part l compliance

What is Part L of the Building regulations and does it affect my home?

Part L of the building regulations governs the conservation of fuel and power used by buildings. This affects brand new properties and older existing properties. All energy efficient products work to a U value, which is the heat loss measurement.The lower the U value the better the energy efficiency will be.

What we at Loft Boarding do is never decrease the energy efficiency of a property, in fact we actually increase it by suggesting replacing old loft hatches and topping up insulation levels.

What Area Can I Board for Storage?

Normally, we only board areas which are accessible by standing or kneeling but not lying down. Keeping your storage area central, and at the highest point will be most practical.

There is no point going to the unnecessary expense of boarding your eaves, as they are too low and not really that accessible. Plus you need to keep these areas clear so as to allow airflow around your loft, this is very important.

New build properties are completely different to older purlin style roofed houses, such as Pre-war terraced and detached. Timber self-supporting sub-frames are required in these houses to add support and strength so as not to rely upon the existing ceiling joists so a much safe stronger area can be gained.

Can I board all of my loft?

NO! Completely boarding your loft is not advisable. If done incorrectly can prevent air circulation in your loft and lead to condensation build up, so best to leave the lower outer areas like the eaves free from boarding. As mentioned, it’s just adding unnecessary expense boarding areas that you can’t reach easily so therefore you won’t use.

Boarding more than 3/4 of your loft space will not conform to current building regulation part L (The conservation of fuel and power). Air flow is very important in a loft space, so it must never be compromised.

Any area can be boarded, providing the area in your loft will allow it and it can be made strong enough to allow boarding, and that the airflow of your loft is not compromised at all. This will be checked by a 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.

loft-measure

What is a Sub-Frame For?

Sub-frames are basically a supporting frame under the boarding to allow the boarded area to be raised above the insulation and / 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 offer the following types of Sub-frame. Standard Trussed, LOFT-E, LoftZone StoreFloor, and LBNW Timber Raised and Supported.

Any loft that has any insulation protruding above the joists, will require a sub-frame of some kind to suit the joist type before boarding.

Boarding directly on to your joists by removing or squashing insulation is bad practice nowadays. If you're boarding your own loft, follow the advice given on our website and if you choose another company to do it, make sure they are doing as advised here. If you are not confident in what another company describes or proposes to do, contact us for free advice on 01254 370073

Your insulation and loft needs to have airflow. Stopping air circulation in lofts by boarding all of your loft or blocking eaves, roof or soffit vents can cause problems like condensation build up, which may lead to damp ceilings and loft timbers.Do not squash insulation down, and if you use a sub-frame above your insulation, do not box in the ends leave the end so air can pass underneath your storage floor and through the insulation so it can work efficiently.

Raised Loft Storage Floor Solution (LOFT-E)

This unique loft leg system, constructed of 100% recyclable steel, will allow you to use your loft as an extra storage space without compromising for weight.

This system was designed and built to last a life time and can very easily be removed and refit if you want to take it with you if you move house.

Using solid steel. and timber joists, we can create a super strong raised floor for storage in your loft.

This raised system sits above your insulation level up to 285mm to avoid compression. For more information please click here

lofte1
lofte2
lofte3

Raised Loft Storage Floor Solution
(LoftZone - StoreFloor)

Using a unique system of steel joists and strong plastic triangle shaped supports we can create a 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 joist level for loft insulation to sit neatly and correctly without compression in between this system.

This is ideal for most new build, and houses built circa 1960 with a trussed style roof. For more information on this product please click here

storefloor1
storefloor2
storefloor3

Timber Supported Sub-Frame

LBNW Timber Supported Sub-Frame is ideal for older houses with weaker ceilings.

We come across a lot of weaker ceilings or ceilings with smaller joists than normal, and we advise not to just board directly onto the joists or batten and board directly to the joists because the ceiling joists are too weak to allow the additional boarding & storage weight (load).

Mainly older terraced and detached houses pre-WW2 and after 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 (in most cases) to support your ceiling only, they were never designed to take any extra weight on them so they must be strengthened or built above correctly to allow boarding, storage items and you to walk about safely and by adding more support this will prevent problems in the future.

Timber sub-frame

Insufficient strengthening or supporting of a storage floor will cause problems with weaker ceilings and, unfortunately a lot of "loft companies" out there are not aware of how to create strong, safe storage sub-frames (storage platforms) in a loft. Installing directly or on some 3x2 batten only increases the load on the existing ceiling and will not strengthen it. Add your storage items, you and someone else and without the correct extra support and your ceiling could essentially be dangerously overloaded.

There is more to it than you think, see the pictures below? This shows the extra work that goes in to creating a level self-supporting storage platform. The sub-frame is hung in places where it cannot bear down on your existing joists 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 purlins to help support and suspend the sub-frame in most cases as this is required before any boarding can be installed.

Cutting corners to falsely reduce quotes for loft boarding is common place in this industry, so this means using inadequate materials and will not conform to any regulations. We will not cut corners just to falsely reduce costs like others do.

Is it really necessary to build a sub-frame?

sub-frame

You can get a load calculation done for your loft storage requirements before you have loft boarding installed, but this is not required and can be quite costly. We do however, highly recommend extra strengthening and it would be silly to ignore as anyone can see, adding more weight to a ceiling without support can and will damage a ceiling beyond repair. Get a LBNW solid timber supported sub-frame, and feel confident that your ceilings will never be over loaded and is ideal for older Victorian/Edwardian properties.

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. So either our heavy duty LOFT-E or LoftZone raised loft floor system can be installed directly to this type of ceiling, to gain height above the insulation of 270mm so you can create a storage area without removing or squashing any insulation. It is bad practice to remove or squash installation down to board your loft for storage, this is why your new build developers and builders don't like to recommend using your loft for storage because of the cowboys doing this from the past.

timber supported
NO-CEILING-LOAD.jpg

What are the typical types of roof supports?

Purlin

Purlin style roofs are usually supported by large wood beams or steel RSJ's, which span across the rafters supported sometimes by central walls and outer wall or party walls.

Purlins are usually found in older Victorian / Edwardian properties and were used commonly for many years, until around 1960 when they started to change to Trussed style supported roofs.

Trussed

Trussed Style roofs are the most popular roof support for all standard and common new builds you see today. They can vary with different web configurations, but the most common is shown in the photo below.

They started building with trussed roofs circa 1960, which is a very clever design being that the ceiling joists are built in to the roofs structure, so giving excellent ceiling support every 600mm or so.

It was an improvement from the old style purlin roof, which had to take its ceiling support from additional rafter hangers. Although when they were built this was quite adequate, but building practices have changed many times and these hangers need replacing with larger ones or additional supports. It’s not ideal to board your loft for storage directly or by some timber batten resting onto a weak ceiling. See more info below on the methods we use to get over the weak ceiling problem of older terraced or detached houses.

purlin vs truss

what about loft ladders?

ALUMINIUM LOFT LADDERS

We do various standard stowaway, aluminium loft ladders for various ceiling heights. The floor to ceiling reach maximum needs to be about 2.69m to 3.0m and come complete with an operating pole to reach and stow the loft ladder in your loft space. With non-slip 'D' rungs and load capacity 150kg (23.5st), these ladders are super strong and safe to use, passing BS certification EN14975. They only weigh from about 4.3kg so they aren't hard to put to use.
We only install the best top quality branded aluminium stowaway loft ladders. We do not use alternative cheap imports which have not been tested for safety or use in the UK.

They do not come as standard with a handrail, so they may need to be ordered separately if you need one. But not all aluminium ladders can have a handrail as they may not make one for it, so please speak to a surveyor.
All our ladders are installed by qualified approved fitters, with a 10-year parts and labour guarantee, which replaces the manufacturer guarantee of 1 year parts only.
These ladders do not include a loft hatch, this is a separate item that may or may not be required and is priced separately.
All ladder and hatch options do require a survey to make sure they will fit.

Metal loft ladders

Combined Timber Loft Hatch & Ladder

In some cases, we come across customers who need a larger loft opening, or may not have the space for an aluminium ladder to stow away, so the alternative is to install a larger, more convenient loft ladder complete with framed hatch. Wide 84mm and deep timber treads for comfort when climbing. This kit is the complete loft-access solution, with a timber loft ladder measuring (H)900 to 1200 x (W)545cm with spring-assisted stowage and sturdy wide treads, for comfortable climbing. This loft ladder is stored within the trapdoor, so no loft floor space is used.

  • Suitable for heights from 2.81m (9ft 2in) to 3.51m (11ft 6in) With extension
  • A complete loft access solution including ladder
  • Loft frame surround
  • 30mm insulated trapdoor and spring assisted stowage
  • Free architrave included
  • Uses no further loft floor space - ladder stores neatly within trap door
  • Wide and deep timber treads for comfort when climbing

wooden fold down
Feature Size / Details
Max Floor to Ceiling Height 3.51m (11ft 6in)
Load Capacity 150kg (23.6 Stone)
Tread Material Wood
Door Material Timber with Insulation
Frame Material Wood
Architrave Included Yes (In rounded finish only)
Adjustable Length Yes (Cut down to fit less than 2.8m)
Certifications EN14976
Approx. Product Weight 19.6kg

Automated Loft Ladders

If you struggle to operate a loft ladder, but still want to use your loft for storage, how about a semi-automated timber loft ladder with extra-long loft hatch?

  • Semi-automatic electric timber loft hatch with manual ladder
  • Remote control operated door.
  • Insulated door and features a draught seal, this ensures the trapdoor is airtight
  • Solid timber construction grade frame and steps sourced from managed forests
  • Even work in a power cut with a battery backup system
  • Intelligent safety awareness, by constantly measuring its progress the system can recognise when something is jamming or pulling on the trapdoor.
  • Extra-large trapdoor openings or for tight spaces where walls obstruct normal folding ladders
  • Reach height from 2.44m to 3.81m measured floor to ceiling
  • Width all 560mm & Length from 1048mm to 1990mm
  • Class BS EN14975 (Max Load 150 kg)
  • This item can be installed as part of a package or on its own
  • Price range from £1200 to £1550 installed

Loft Opening Not Big Enough? Old Wood Hatch?

Having updated your insulation level to the government recommended 270mm, but what about your badly sealed and inefficient out of date 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 bad loft hatch will just let it all through, costing you £100's a year There is just no 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 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).

heat loss hatch

New Loft Hatch Benefits

Do I need a new loft hatch? Find Out Here

  • Building regulations specifications
  • Energy efficient design and build
  • 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

The door is unlocked by hand by sliding to open the catch mechanism. This door can also be used in conjunction with the aluminium and concertina ladders.

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.

new pvc hatch

Do you provide a loft insulation top Up Service?

Yes we do, it's important that your insulation is up to the latest standards as heat rises, and in a home with just half of today's recommended levels of insulation, 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 tonnes 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.

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

Storing items in your loft incorrectly can compromise the efficiency of your loft insulation. Putting boxes and suitcases 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 impossible 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 most effective. Boarding directly on to insulation or squashing it down in between your joists will also reduce its efficiency considerably.

Can I add more insulation and use my loft for storage?

There are now specialist products like LoftZone StoreFloor and LOFT-E™ that allow you to create a raised loft storage floor, consisting of sturdy 270mm legs/stilts, which support a metal or timber cross beam section that allows you to board on to, without compromising your insulation level. For lots more information on these products please click this link

Will loft boarding make my loft safe to use?

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. It’s a long way down and could be quite nasty, so it’s worth considering installing a safety balustrade or railing.

We can make and install simple wooden balustrades, or we can install universal metal rail versions, 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.

What about Contractor Safety Work Access?

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.

  • 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
  • A strong, purpose built, stow away aluminium ladder must be fixed in place with lockable sections when pulled down to use.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Adequate fixed lighting must be installed correctly and be installed in accordance with regulations (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.

balustrades

boiler access

Do you do 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 LED light bulb and pull switch, so you can immediately switch on the light before stepping off your ladder. No point having a switch further inside where you can’t see to switch it on.

We install LED bulbs as standard nowadays or LED tubes as an alternative.

LED bulbs are now the norm, as everything is converting to LED because it's much cheaper to run than the older incandescent bulbs and last considerably longer. A 6w LED bulb is equivalent to the old 40w incandescent bulb, which gave off around 470 lumen's.

We recommend 1 bulb per 14ft (4.5m) or 1 LED tube per 24ft (7.3m)

When going for lighting, the modern way is to choose is by Lumens not watts. The more lumens, the brighter the light. Lumens are to light, what litres are to milk

LED tube lighting is our most popular type of lighting because they are energy saving, and have a very high lumen rating (for the watts output), and spread the light much further than a standard bulb. If you plan to use your loft quite a lot for storage, hobby or study room then we recommend a tube light. A 4ft LED tube light can give out as much light as 7 bulbs, but uses less energy to do so as its equivalent to only 36w instead of 280w for 7 bulbs,

If you require a quote for loft boarding simply call our FREE to call number 0800 8799967, or send us a message.