6 Tips on Attic Flooring Options

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attic flooringIn previous HIR posts we’ve discussed the remodeling and renovation of attics, both some of the considerations in getting the work done and some of the uses to which such a space can be applied. Whatever you decide to do with an attic, even if you just want to enhance it as a storage space, if you’re doing something with it, an important consideration will be having a good quality floor in place. Doing your attic floor the wrong way, though, could lead to weakening your home’s structure, compressing your insulation or with one foot busting through the sheetrock ceiling below! If you’re looking for advice on how to floor an attic for your attic remodel project, we hope these tips on attic flooring help with the solutions you need.

6 Tips on Attic Flooring Options

1. Remember that most attics were not designed as living or even storage space.  They are a part of the skeleton structure that holds a house together and protects it from the elements. Asking it to serve some other function, inevitably then entails some disturbance of it intended function. Thus, you have to be on the lookout for a few things.

Is your roof structure designed with prefabricated trusses? If that’s the case, you can be confident that your attic was definitely not designed for any storage or living uses. Adding weight to the top of the bottom 2×4 that makes up the truss is seriously counter-indicated. Do not do it. Roof trusses are designed to take the specific weight of the roof (and the snow, wind, rain, etc.) and distribute it downward and outward to the load-bearing exterior walls. Adding significant weight to any other part of this finely tuned structure risks weakening the entire roof system.

If your home was built with standard conventional lumber, there’s far less risk of causing structural damage to your home, but you still need to exercise good judgment. Ceiling joists, for the most part, were designed to support the ceiling and not a floor loaded with an Encyclopedia Britannica collection or a Jacuzzi.

2. A home’s energy efficiency often suffers when the attic is converted. Adding a floor tends to compress the insulation, which hinders the insulating ability of the fiberglass.

3. Many people assume that an attic floor has to be made of platforms composed of plywoord. This is not so; indeed, getting heavy, 4 x 8 sheets of plywood up to the attic can be an arduous task, which doesn’t necessarily even make sense. Make the job easier by cutting the plywood first into (2) 2×8 strips. This makes it much easier to handle.  Or, just skip the plywood altogether; 1 x 6 #3 spruce is a step up from pallet quality wood that is even good for storage uses.

4. If it’s storage particularly that you have in mind, remembering how laying a floor can interfere with the effectiveness of your insulation, only floor the part of the attic that you need. For instance, a small section around the attic opening may be all you need. Since homes tend to be colder the closer you get to the exterior walls, keep the floored area toward the center of the attic.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B000658MBI” locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51dYAc60YBL._SL160_.jpg” width=”160″]5. You might want to look into a product called “Attic Dek.” It is the registered trademark of a specially designed attic floor system composed of 16” or 24” squares that attach directly to the top of floors joists.  Theses sections are lightweight and easy to handle. They also provide plenty of ventilation for the optimum efficiency of insulation. They are assembled with just a few screws. [easyazon-cta align=”right” asin=”B000658MBI” height=”28″ key=”amazon-us-small-orange” locale=”us” width=”120″]

6. Finally, if your attic insulation is thicker than your ceiling joists, raise the height of the joists by attaching 2×3’s to their top edge before you attach the floor boards. This again of course prevents compression of the insulation and maintains the energy efficiency in your home.

We hope that if you’re looking for advice on how to floor an attic, for your attic remodel project, that these tips on attic flooring help you find the best solutions for your needs.