Wednesday, 18 March 2015

So what exactly do I need to create a storage area in my loft ?

If you have never thought about extra home storage in your loft before then you might want to know what it involves and how much it will cost.
The most common questions I get asked will be answered right here.
Using your loft for storage isn't a new idea, a small percentage of us have been using our lofts for many years by placing down old broken down kitchen cupboards and any old lengths of wood we could find.
Most DIYers will simply lay them down on the existing joists by removing or squashing the insulation so they can be fastened down. Or worst still, just laying them perched on top of the insulation with good intentions of fastening them down one day.
What we didn't know back in the day was that loft insulation was going to get thicker and taller and require air flow and zero compression to work at 100% efficiency.
How times have changed, with thicker insulation, building regulations, government recommended this and that its hard to keep up with it all.
These days we can no longer just lay boards on to joists, we have to raise this boarded level higher than the insulation to avoid any compression or worst of all, having to remove what we put down to save on our heating bills. (Gain storage but loose money day after day on rising heating bills).
Now you dont have to remove the insulation or squash it as we have specialist equipment to raise the boarded level above the insulation, so no compression and no removal, keep your insulation down un-squashed and still save on your heating bills by using a system called LoftZone Raised Loft StoreFloor.
Very clever system consisting of 3 components, a tri-support stilt and a uni-support stilt all combined with a steel box section cross beam. All this put together will create a very strong, and safe raised boarded storage area in your loft above the insulation.

So what do you need to create a loft storage area?

If you have never had a loft made in to a storage area before then this bit is essential reading.

The differences between a new house and an older house can change things slightly but as a pointer an older house may need a loft hatch if it doesn't hinged and fold down, it will need to be changed, and it has to be big enough to get you, a ladder and things through.

1. Ladders... A fixed stowaway ladder is a must, it not only makes things easier getting in to the loft but its also very safe and wont wobble or move like a step ladder. Never balance on a step ladder or use an unsecured ladder to gain access to your loft a fall can be fatal.
A starting point for ladders is a good quality aluminum sliding fold away ladder that fixes to the loft floor sub-frame and stows away neatly in to the loft using a reach pole to push it in.
There are various ladders on the market for various jobs including concertina and wood options.
Our surveyor will suggest what is best for your loft.

2. Loft Hatch... You need to get in and out of your loft as easily as possible so the right size is very important. No point squeezing though a tiny hole as you will not get much up there to start with. The standard size today is a 726mm long by 566mm wide plastic draft seal and insulated hinged and folding down loft hatch. a British standard and building regulations accepted hatch used commonly in new build houses throughout the UK.
Most new houses over the past 3 years or so will have suitable loft hatches already installed but if its a lift up plastic or wood then it will need to be changed. The reason for this is not just because of the size of the opening its because the ladder wont operate in the hatch if its to narrow and the hatch lid wont lift up enough to get it off because the new ladders sits right above the hatch door. This is not a big job for professionals like us, but could be for a DIYer.

3. Lighting... You have to be able to see what your doing up there so a light is important. Never use a portable electric light that plugs in on your landing socket as these can be lethal if the cable rubs on the metal ladder (which often does). It must be a fixed permanently wired in to the existing lighting circuit. A choice of a bulb or a tube light is available, the tube being a lot brighter than a bulb.

4. Boarding... All loft boarding must be laid down on a sub-frame. A sub-frame is either an additional set of wood joists laid at right angles to the existing joists or a stilt and beam system (LoftZone Raised loft floor). Either is good providing it is above the insulation and will not compress the insulation when the boards go down. (Remember there must also be an air gap under the boards to allow good air circulation)
Having chosen the correct sub-frame we then install interlocking high density loft panels (or boards) these are specially designed for loft boarding and are of a suitable 18mm thick and very strong when installed correctly.
So how much boarding will you need? well that is entirely up to you and your budget and also what will fit.
We always say go for the higher central area of your loft, if its a trussed roof like in most brand new builds it would go down the centre of the A part of the frame. If its a terraced or a detached then up to the main purlings is usually sufficient storage around 12 to 15 m²
Never completely board your loft out as it is a loft space and it needs air circulation to work so keep the eaves free at least.

So that is it really, unless you want safety rails, roof dust sheets or a mini loft conversion (luxury loft room) there is nothing else to consider.

The cost for basic new build 4m² storage area with ladder and light start from £330
The cost for a terraced or detached 4m² storage area with ladder, light and hatch start from £499

These are only examples and vary depending on the amount of boarding you need.

1. Suitable strong fixed ladder
2: Suitable sized and hinged loft hatch
3: Good fixed lighting
4: sub-frame and boarding central area

Now all you need to do is call us for a FREE no obligation fixed instant quote
0800 8799967 and ask for Andrea

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Designing Spaces TV: Versa Lift Attic Storage System

Came across this brilliant device, a loft lift, to help you get your things up into your loft storage space without any carrying up the loft ladders.

What a great idea for less able bodied people.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

See what we can do to make your loft space in to a usable storage area

For more information please contact 0800 8799967

We cover the Northwest of England

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Last week I removed some loft boards and found mouldy insulation underneath

I was asked to survey a loft last week by a customer who wanted a new loft hatch and some additional boarding.
They already had some boarding three years ago by another company.

We always obliged with customers requests but I did mention that the existing boarding would have to be up to scratch for us to be able to build next to or attach in some way.

There could be a height difference as the way we do it we always raise our loft floors above the insulation with an air gap, and in my experience not many companies actually care about this and either remove or squash insulation down.

I arrived at the house and greeted by a nice couple who guide me upstairs to the tiny old wood hatch. As I looked up I noticed the hatch was not going to be right for the job as it needed to be bigger and hinged downwards so you can access the ladder and be able to use it safely correctly.

I climbed in to the loft and immediately noticed the existing boarding. Oh dear, I said as I glanced at the nailed down boards attached to the existing joists.

I explained to the customer what I was looking at and I asked them, Have you ever noticed a funny smell up here?. The husband said he had when he had been in the loft. Smells like damp I said, yes thats it the customer replied.

I asked if I could remove some boards to investigate, which I did and I found that the underside of the boards had black mould spots and the insulation was damp and also mouldy and it stunk.

This had been caused by not leaving an air gap underneath the boards and that the boards had been compressing the insulation so much it couldnt breath and its efficiency was very poor so instead of collecting air as it circulated it was like a sponge collecting moisture instead.

The solution was to remove all the old mouldy boarding and the mouldy insulation and replace with some new 200mm rock wool insulation and then create a raised boarded storage area over the top of the insulation allowing an air gap for circul

As I always say, anyone can board a loft for storage but its how its boarded that matters.

You must always allow room under the boarding for air to flow, this allows good loft air circulation preventing damp and condensation and for your insulation to work at its most efficient. The combination of all of these things will save you money on your fuel bills when its done right.

I have seen incorrect boarding time and time again.
I advise you get an expert loft storage company in that knows what they are doing. See what sort of products they use to raise up a storage floor, if they even bother. Sometimes just a bit of battening is no where near enough height to allow good air circulation under the boards.

The only product we would recommend and use is the LoftZone 270mm high raised loft floor solutions. 
ation, a total height of 270mm.

Thinking of Using Your Loft For Storage?

Loft Space Requirements.

Not all lofts are the same hence the reason we carry out free surveys so we can inspect and advise of how your loft can be utilised for storage.

One of the first things to consider 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 what ever you carry up in to the loft.

Head height is important, we will need to measure the head height from the loft opening to the roof, its 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.

Your ceiling joists will be measured to see if they are adequate enough for boarding, if not we will suggest strengthening these by fitting cross support joists (known as a sub-frame) on top of your existing joists to allow the weight to distribute more evenly, 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. (see diagram below)

In some cases we have to install extra ceiling to roof supports to take away any flex in the ceiling and give it a more sturdy feel.
Once all this is taken in to consideration we can then prepare your quote.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

BEWARE! Dodgy loft boarders in your area once again. Cowboy Builders!!

I have concern that a few of our new customers have expressed to us before choosing us to do the work.
Something I wasn't aware of until now is that some loft boarding companies are going around quoting for work then passing on to another company or contractor to do without advising the customer who will be doing the work. It was only because of a few vigilant customers that this was discovered when phoning the company back and asking who will be installing the boarding, being told it was another company who will be doing it, but would not say who or given any contact details.. !!!!!!
This to me is just not good practice if the company you call to quote doesnt actually do the work, then the customers should be informed and it should be clear in writing on the quote and all the facts attached!!!

But who are these contractors? are they odd job men? are they qualified? approved? insured? a guy down the pub? who guarantees the work?

Not only that I have also heard jobs being passed on down the line to 3 or 4 so called installers before one of them chose the work, mmm maybe its who will do it the cheapest?

This is a disaster just waiting to happen to someone.

I would advice anyone who has any doubts to get the quote on a proper letter headed quote, with full address, land-line phone number and VAT registration number if applicable.

Also when getting a quote ask questions about the company, ask, do you employ your own installers? are they trained, qualified, accessed, approved, certified, insured? If the answer to any of these questions is NO then think twice about who they are. Are they a real business or just in it for the money until they get caught?

Here today gone tomorrow! with no contact details, or guarantee.

Please check out any company beyond questions, if they are of any good standing within the building world they will be registered with some authority like Safe Trader run by Lancashire County Council Trading Standards. Not the likes of Rated People, My Builder, unfortunately these companies only sell leads to them they don't access the companies work or credibility, even the feedback they have can be fraudulently made up. Ask for references from others who have had work done, even ask to speak to existing customers, we always have customers who are willing to vouch for us.

Loft Boarding NW answer YES to all the questions above and we are a member of LCC Safe Trader who keep a check on what we do and how we do it 24/7.
We only employ our own certified approved and trained installers and we give a 5 year guarantee on the equipment we install.

Remember: Anyone can install loft boarding, but its how its installed that really matters.

Please be vigilant, watch out, there are cowboys and fly-by-nights in every trade.