If you’re searching for extra storage in your home, the answer may be right above your head. While the attic space is mostly designed as a structural and insulating feature, there are ways to take advantage of the extra space up there.
Here is a comprehensive guide with all the information you need to know about attic flooring systems:
DIY Attic Flooring vs Professional Attic Flooring
Before you do anything, you need to know if your trusses can handle the load of any extra flooring as well as whatever you are planning to store up there, including people who will be up there from time to time. You’ll probably have to call a professional to let you know if this is going to be required or not, even if you ultimately intend to do the work yourself. A mistake here could seriously damage the home’s structure, and could be dangerous for those living in it.
When it comes to issues of safety in your home, sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re unsure about the structural safety of adding flooring to your attic, or any other details, you might be better off calling in wood flooring professionals who know how to get the job done right.
Floor reinforcements & insulation
One of the primary issues with putting flooring in an attic is that it squishes down the insulation, which makes the insulation less effective. This is most often an issue when the it is thicker than the height of the joists. A way to solve this issue is by adding planks of lumber to the joists to make them a bit higher. This helps the insulation to remain more efficient, while still allowing you to install flooring
If the attic is going to be used as a living space, you must also make sure that the roof is insulated before moving ahead with the rest of the work. Otherwise, anyone spending time up there is going to feel the elements, which will likely take away any comfort and coziness that space could provide.
If the trusses cannot handle any extra weight as they are, it doesn’t mean that no flooring can be added to the attic flooring systems. It just means some adjustments need to be made beforehand. The trusses, if too weak to handle extra weight, will need to be reinforced before the flooring is put in. One method of reinforcing is to add two-by-fours to help support them.
Contrary to what you’ve probably always been told, this is the one time where it’s okay to leave the job unfinished. By only installing flooring on part of the floor – say half, or even three quarters – you will allow for the insulation to continue doing its job efficiently, while still giving yourself a little extra storage space.
Attic Flooring Systems
These five different types of attic flooring systems are the most popular among homeowners:
Bamboo flooring systems
Certain attic flooring systems exist that are essentially bamboo mats which are light, fairly compact, and easy to install. They allow for air to get through to the insulation, which is important for maintaining its efficiency, but is still strong enough to support the items that will be stored up there and the weight of a person walking on it.
In addition, bamboo is an eco-friendly option because it grows significantly faster than the wood that would normally be used for flooring.
Attic Dek flooring systems
This is a specific type of flooring that is designed to let the insulation breathe, while still providing a sturdy surface to place things and to walk on. It is very easy to install, as it simply screws directly into the joists in three places. It’s a highly innovative solution to flooring in the attic.
Plywood flooring systems
Although plywood is a possibility when it comes to attic flooring, it isn’t the only option, and it may not be the best. People tend to like plywood, and many don’t realize there are other options. However, it is often difficult to get those big pieces of plywood into the attic. Access to the attic isn’t usually very large, and it can be awkward to try to get the wood up. That said, it is still a fine and commonly used option for attic flooring.
Carpet flooring systems
Up until now we’ve talked a lot about using attic spaces as additional storage spaces – these are the most common ways for people to use that extra area. However some people also do turn their attics into additional living spaces. If this is the case, carpet is a fantastic option because of its ability to maintain some insulation and make the space feel cozier and more homelike.
Hardwood flooring systems
Another great flooring option for attics that are being used for actual living spaces as opposed to just storage is hardwood. It will give the space a very sleek and luxurious look, and is a great alternative for people who aren’t into carpeting.