As with many DIY tasks, boarding your loft can be easy if you are fully prepared and have the necessary kit and tools to hand. Loft Leg produce various products to help create an energy efficient and useful loft. Here we look at the four simple steps needed to board your loft using Loft Legs.
1. Getting yourself prepared
Before you get started on the job in earnest, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got everything you need to hand. Your PPE - personal protective equipment - is by far the most important of these.
* Hooded disposable overalls
* A dust mask
* A tape measure
* Electric Screwdriver fitted with a magnetic bit
If you can, we’d also recommend setting up a temporary work platform using a flat piece of board across the ceiling joists. It’s safer, more stable and often more comfortable to work from one rather than precariously balancing on joists or trusses.
2. Assess the current insulation
This is one of the most important steps, and it’s one that’s tripped up a lot of homeowners in the past. Before you start to lay any boards, check the depth of your insulation. For it to be thermally effective, mineral wool insulation needs to be at the government recommended depth of 270mm.
This is generally 100mm between the joists/trusses, and a 170mm top up layer running perpendicular to the joists. We went into full details in a previous post about loft insulation, but in short: squashing it down can reduce its effectiveness by up to 50%, which translates into significant losses for you in terms of heating bills and wasted energy.
3. Estimating / Measuring
You’ll need to take a quick trip up to the loft to fully measure up the area you intend to board out. Simple enough in theory - you just need to multiply the width of your loft by its length. You will also need to measure the distance between your joists or trusses.
With your measurements to hand, you can now work out how many loft boards you’ll need. The “How many do I need?” section of the Loft Leg page will help you to work out the number of Loft Legs you’ll need.
Loft Legs are fitted in a grid , the dimensions of the grid will depend on the spacing of your ceiling joists or trusses and the size of the boards you are using. Loft boards typically come in two sizes:
1200mm x 320mm - these come in packs of three, and cover 1.17 square metres per pack (easy to get through small loft hatches and transport from the DIY store)
2400mm x 600mm - this size of board is sold separately, and covers 1.44 square metres each (much more efficient but requires a large loft hatch and sufficient head room to get into the loft space. Can also be tricky getting to the house from the DIY store)
Using the online calculator on www.loftleg.com/loftleg simply select the board size you are intending to use.
Then using your joist spacing information, and the number of sheets/approximate area work out how many boxes of legs you need.
Clicking on “View pdf” will reveal a floor plan of how to lay the boards and legs.
Loft boards generally have a tongue and groove construction which allows them to neatly slot together. Be carefully to not damage the edges as this will prevent the boards fitting correctly up to each other.
If required, pick up the insulation rolls and screws at the same time. The best screws to use are 4mmx30mm countersunk multi-purpose screws. We have specific recommended screws on our web-site. You will need approximately 6 screws for each Loft Leg you are fitting.
Before laying down boards its good practice to check that the ventilation in the loft is OK. Ensure that any eaves ventilation is left unobstructed
If you already have two layers of insulation in your loft you will have to roll back the top layer to the sides of the loft to reveal the joists/trusses before fitting Loft Legs. Loft Legs are screwed directly into the joists or trusses in a grid to raise the boards, the spacing of the Legs should correlate with the joints in the boards. A long straight edge or string line will help to position the first row of Legs correctly. It is recommended that the screws are loaded into the base of the Loft Legs before taking them into the loft (movie link here). This saves loads of time and lost screws. The distance to the second row will then depend on the width of the chipboard sheet. Remember that chipboard sheets ‘share’ the top platform of the Leg as you can see in the following photo.
Once all the legs are in place the top up layer can be rolled back. Wherever the insulation meets the top platform of a Loft Leg create a small slit in the quilt with a Stanley knife and push the insulation gently down around the Loft Leg to form a snug fit.
The loft boards should always be installed perpendicular to the joists or trusses. Lay the first board down and secure in place along the back edge. The front edge cannot be fixed until the next board is in place. A screw driven through the chipboard will self-tap into the top platform of the Loft Leg securely holding the board in place (movie link).
Continue laying and securing the remaining boards as you work across the loft.
The end result is a useful loft storage space while maintaining a comfortable, warm, energy efficient house.
Recent research suggests that only 1 in 10 of UK homes get the full benefit of their loft insulation, so when you’re undertaking the project it’s worth giving your insulation some careful attention too. We’ve designed our Loft Leg product to help you make sure your home is in that top 10%. Find out more about Loft Leg here, or feel free to give us a call on 01282 861001.