It’s hardly a secret that the loft is one of the most under-utilised spaces in the average home. You’ve likely already been up there to fetch your Christmas decorations, which is when many people realise they could be making better use of the space. We developed our innovative Loft Leg product for exactly this scenario - it’s primarily designed to help customers board their lofts effectively, maintaining the correct insulation levels and helping them to make the most of this little-used room. Now, there are already all sorts of articles out there which detail the best ways to arrange loft conversions, but if you just want to keep your loft as a storage option, we’ve got five top tips that will help you to maximise the space available.
Prepare the loft
Before you get started on anything, it’s good to make sure you’ve got the absolute basics to hand. First of all you need to ensure you’ve got a decent loft ladder, giving you easy and obstructed access to the space. Some people make do with fetching in a garden ladder when they need to reach their lofts, which is not only inconvenient, but can be dangerously unsafe. Your space should also have a good amount of loft lighting, so that you can more easily see what you’ve got up there, and you’re not going to go sprawling over anything. A quick note needs to be made here: a table lamp and an extension cord is not the answer! You’ll need bright, permanently installed lighting to ensure the appropriate degree of safety – and you may find our very own Loft Light very helpful in that regard. Once it’s safe to access and easy to move around the loft, we can move on!
Board your loft correctly
Boarding your loft is an absolutely essential step, giving it a sturdy surface so that you can use to store occasional-use items up there (such as suitcases and Christmas decorations), without affecting the quality of the insulation. If you know your loft is already boarded, you’ll need to check that there’s 270mm of uncompressed insulation under the boards. If there is, you can skip this step - and if you need a little help in that respect, don’t worry. We’re working on a post explaining the process in more detail, due for publication very soon!
One of the reasons why boarding your loft correctly with Loft Legs is so vital is that it prevents the weight of the storage items compressing your insulation.
Compressing insulation can reduce its effectiveness by 50%, which likely means you’ll be spending a lot more on energy bills throughout winter to avoid losing valuable heat through your loft. Loft Leg has been designed with this in mind - it provides much-needed support upon which to lay your boards, preventing it from squashing the insulation underneath. This way, it increases the utility of your loft without affecting the quality of the insulation. (You can click here to learn more about it!)
Shelve and optimise the space
Creating shelving in the loft is a great way of organising the new space, and this is where our Loft Ledge product is designed to shine. Normally, the space between trusses in the loft is unused, with the result being many homeowners have to resort to piling boxes haphazardly in the available floor space around them. However, each Loft Ledge provides a spacious, sturdy surface which you can use to greatly expanding the amount of usable storage space in your loft.
Also, if there’s anything that can be deconstructed or broken down, make sure to do that well in advance. It’s far easier to store, say, a small IKEA cupboard in its component pieces then it is if you’re trying to fit it up there in a completed state.
Storage boxes and containers
You might be surprised at how much space and hassle you can save yourself by choosing your containers selectively. As the loft can be dusty and dirty, closed containers with lids are recommended. It’s also worth taking the time to ensure that they are the best size and shape for the space they are being left in.
Speaking of containers, if you’re handy enough with DIY skills and tools, you might even want to consider making some of your own. Plastic crates can be useful in many cases, but can occasionally limit your options in the awkward space provided by low ceiling and sloping eaves. However, creating bespoke storage to fit around your loft means allows you to eliminate those awkward gaps which don’t really accommodate anything, allowing you to maximise the space on offer.
Organising and Labelling
This might sound obvious, but it’s one of those things which can be easy to forget until you’re halfway through the job. For anything you know you’re not going to use for a long time - say, Christmas decorations or suitcases - or particularly bulky items, it’s a good idea to store these on the outer fringes of your space, and label them clearly. Anything you think you might be retrieving sooner, such as electrical goods you plan to recycle or stacks of DVDs you might be planning to sell, can go in boxes closer to the middle of the space, or nearer to the loft hatch. This way, you can save yourself a lot more time and hassle because you’re wading through the minimum of clutter each time to get to the stuff you want.
Of course, it goes without saying that before you store the heavier boxes, you need to be absolutely sure that your loft can take the weight. As a general rule we recommend storing no more than 50Kg per square metre to avoid overloading the roof structure. As we’ve touched upon above, this is why boarding it is so important!
We’ll be explaining how best to do that in a future post. In the meantime, you can click here to learn more about our products, or just give us a quick call on 01282 861001!