Attic Storage and Flooring project

About 1 1/2 years has gone by since putting up the attic ladder. It came time that we needed some additional storage space for kids stuff; things that have been outgrown and want to keep around for the next kid.

I spent some time looking up projects online and how others have performed the same task.

Research:
Initial Problems:
  • Rafters are not level with insulation
  • Blown insulation
Solution:
  • Install additional framing platform that is level with the insulation
  • Then put some sort of flooring on top of it

Also we were trying to keep the cost of the project down, so that ruled out some of the nice but very pricey solutions with raised supports that could go across the current 2×4 rafters.

I end up opting to use 10ft 2×6 boards to be the “flooring joists” that I would mount to the the sides of the rafter braces. This would provide an initial mounting location that would keep the spacing standard. I also added three support braces across the joists that used the rafter below as a support, trying to make sure the floor load is evenly spaced. I would say the bulk of the work in this installation is getting these joists put in place, it takes a while to measure out and make sure everything is level. I ended up using some of them across the insulation as platforms to make it easier to keep my balance and not fall through the drywall (that would be bad and more work). I installed the two opposite end joists first then I could put some of the boards on top of them to use as a seat to install the remaining ones.

Once all the framing was done it was time for the flooring. I originally thought I was going to cut more plywood like I did for the ladder platform / initial entrance way to the attic, but I really didn’t want to have to cut down large plywood sheets to the dimensions needed to get through the opening and be useful. I was contemplating using decking but then found a product, granted not cheap but worth while (especially how easy to install and perfect fit it was), called Attic Dek. The attic decking comes in multiple sizes based on standard rafter widths that have been required over time. The decking pieces fit perfectly through my attic opening (not one of the largest) and they are grooved to lock between the the joists along with keyed to go one direction to create a strong mounting edge. Another benefit of this flooring is it allows the insulation to breath so moisture doesn’t build up.

Attic Dek on DIY network

    (note: there is a short add that pre-rolls)

We originally decided we didn’t want to spend more than $200 to get this done, granted the flooring cost over that alone, but I was able to stack some giftcards that I bought with points and a 10% off coupon for Lowes.

  • Flooring actual costs:               $239.60
  • After 10%:                                $215.64
  • Then add MD Sales Tax (6%):  $12.94
  • After discounts and gift cards:  $73.58
  • Approximate cost of lumber:     $52.47
  • Total cost of parts:                $126.05
Other Items you will need:
  • Screws: I like using the Grip-Rite decking screws (2.5″)
  • Cordless Drill(s)
  • Level(s)
  • Possibly a light, additional light can help

I also had some left over pieces of lumber I used to finish off some of the project, moslty related to extending the entrance platform and putting the plywood flooring on that, it was not a standard width so the decking would not work there.

Warings and Saftey:
  • Buy respirator masks when dealing with blown insulation, it is floating everywhere in the attic and you don’t want to breath it
  • Make sure to minimized exposed skin, this stuff is irritating to the skin and itches, so get gloves, long sleeved shirts, long socks etc, and you might not itch too bad
  • Be careful when stepping around your attic, you don’t want to go through the drywall it cannot support your weight, step only on the rafters
  • If the access is in a bedroom like mine make sure things are covered up that you don’t want insulation particles getting on, going up and down and working stirs it up a bit

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