Very strong because we use purpose made 18mm tongue and groove particle board
which 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
To help achieve a safer more stronger platform we build a self
supporting sub-frame above your existing joists using internal walls and
purlins to strengthen the boarded area. Our timber framed 200mm self
supporting sub-frame does not rely upon your existing ceiling joists unlike other
companies who use inferior battening or 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.
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 200mm 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 270mm
raised LoftZone store 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 insulations
Compressing your loft insulation is a bad idea as it will reduce its efficiency considerably
and may 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 store floor link below for the ultimate loft storage system for lofts with tall insulation.
Can I Fit Loft Boarding Directly on to My Ceiling Joists?
especially with older properties with weaker ceilings, its 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,
levelling, 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 plaster boards or lathe plaster, so consideration
in to the correct type of sub-frame and support is crucial.
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 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 what ever 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 to store in.
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.
For older properties build 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. (see diagram below)
Do I need Planning Permission?
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 as support 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 sub-frame building to support the extra weight (see below for more information)
but some may also require a 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 work 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 storage, mini loft conversion or luxury loft storage and depending on where you are in the country, type of property (listed or other) and what you are having done this may or may not require a building regulations application to building control. No planning permission is required but a wildlife
license may be required if the work affects protected species like bats. This information is available by contacting your local building authority.
Normally we only board areas which are accessible by standing or kneeling but not lying down. Keeping your storage area central,
and at the most highest point will be most practical.
No point going to the unnecessary expense of boarding your eaves as
they are to 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
New build properties are completely different to older purlin style
roofs house 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
Can I board all of my loft ?
completely boarding your loft is not advisable as it 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. And as mentioned its just adding unnecessary expense boarding areas that you cant reach easily so therefore you wont use.
Any area can be boarded providing the
area in your loft will allow it and it can be made strong enough to allow boarding, this will be checked by our 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.
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 now do three types of Sub-frame. Standard Trussed, 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. Please if your boarding your own loft follow the advice given
on our website and if you choose another company to do it please 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
You must allow your insulation and loft to breathe. 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.
Using a unique system of steel joists and
strong plastic triangle shaped supports we can create a extra 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 is ideal for most new build and houses built circa 1960
with a trussed style roof.
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.
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 practice's have changed many many times and these hangers need
replacing with larger ones or additional supports. Its 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.
Trussed Roof Timber Sub-Frame System (Shallow Roof
Alternative/ Garages etc.)
This sort of sub-frame is best
suited for trussed roof systems where there is no ceiling plasterboard or
insulation, for example a garage roof void or a roof that is so shallow it
cant take the height of 270mm StoreFloor system. We can span timber across to
get the correct spacing, height and support to have loft boards placed down
as the fixing height can be variable.
LBNW Timber Supported Sub-Frame For Older Houses With Weaker
We come across a lot of weaker ceilings or ceilings with smaller joists than
normal and we advise not to just board direct tot he joists or batten and board
directly to the joists because the ceiling joists are to 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.
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.
But is it really necessary to build a 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 timber supported
sub-frame and feel confident that your ceilings will never be over loaded
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 our 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 and this is why your new
build developer and builder don't like to recommend using your loft for
storage because of the cowboys doing this from the past.
Aluminium Ladder Measurements & Requirements
(Off the shelf loft ladders)
2 Section Aluminium
(A) Minimum hatch opening width 562mm (22.28") length 726mm (28.58")
with fold down door (B) Minimum distance required behind hatch 1270mm (50") (C) Suitable for a floor to ceiling height maximum of' 2692mm (106") (D) Minimum height required in loft: 710mm (28")
* Width of ladder is 381mm (15")
* Weight maximum 150kg (23.6st)
3 Section Aluminium
(A) Minimum hatch opening width 562mm (22.28") length 726mm (28.58")
with fold down door (B) Minimum distance required behind hatch 1120mm (44") (C) Suitable for a floor to ceiling height maximum of 3000mm (118") (D) Minimum height required in loft: 710mm (28")
* Width of ladder is 381mm (15")
* Weight maximum 150kg (23.6st)
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 poor weak loft hatch will
just let it all through costing you £100's a year There is just 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)
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.
The door is unlocked by hand by sliding to open the catch mechanism. This door can also be used in conjunction with the aluminum, concertina or wood loft ladders.
Energy Efficient Loft Hatches
One for One straight swap no alterations required from £90
Have your existing loft opening made bigger from only £120 to
Build a completely new hatch in a new suitable area or room from just £190
Extra long wood hatch with wooden wide tread steps from only £350
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
Long Wood Loft Hatch & Ladder
With Wide Tread Steps
In some cases we come across customers who need a larger loft opening or may not have the space for an aluminum 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 wide, 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
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
Size / Details
Max Floor to Ceiling Height
3.51m (11ft 6in)
150kg (23.6 Stone)
Timber with Insulation
Yes (In rounded finish only)
Yes (Cut down to fit less than 2.8m)
Approx. Product Weight Kg
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
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
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
& Top Up Service
Heat rises, and in a home with just half of todays 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.
insulation (0 to 270mm)
dioxide savings (kgCO2/year)
Estimates taken from Energy Saving Trust website.
As part of our loft boarding packages we do loft insulation from as
little as £5.25 a square metre for 100mm and £6.99 a square metre for 200mm supplied and installed.
Please note: we can only supply and install insulation as part of a loft boarding package, we do not just install loft insulation.
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 fibre's. Wool fibre type loft insulation must be none compressed so air can circulate through it to be at it most effective.
Boarding directly on to insulation or squashing it down in between your joists will also reduce its efficiency considerably.
So you want to add more insulation and use your loft for storage?
There are now specialist products that allow you to create a raised loft storage floor consisting of sturdy tri and uni-support 270mm legs which support a metal cross beam section that allows you to board on to without compromising your insulation.
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, its a long way down and could be quite nasty so its worth considering installing a safety balustrade or railing.
can make and install simple wooden balustrades or we can install universal metal rail version which simply installs 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.
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 ladders 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 IEE wiring regulations and comply with building regulation Part P (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.
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 cant see to switch it on.
We install LED bulbs as standard nowadays or fluorescent tubes as an
LED bulbs are soon to be the norm, as everything is converting to LED
because its much cheaper to run than
the older incandescent bulbs and such like. A 6w LED bulb is equivalent to the old 40w
incandescent bulb which gave off around 470 lumens.
The choice is yours, cost wise there isn't really much between them and it really depends on how much area is boarded in your loft
to how much light you'll need.
We recommend 1 bulb per 14ft (4.5m) or 1 fluorescent tube per 24ft (7.3m)
When going for lighting the modern way is to chose is by Lumens not watts.
The more lumens then more light. Lumens are to light what litres are to milk
Fluorescent tube lighting is our most popular because it has a very high Lumens rating
(for the watts output) and spreads the light much further than a standard bulb.
If you plan to use your loft quite a lot for storage. eBay, hobby or study room then we recommend a tube light.
A 4ft tube light can give out as much light as 7 old 40w 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 your loft boarding requirements simply call our
central enquiries number for the Northwest 01254 370073 or e-mail us
- Remember we cover the Northwest