brand new house and need extra storage?
Now you can utilise your loft space for storage without having to squash or removing your loft insulation
Been told you
can't have loft boarding by your builder?
Got an older house with upgraded insulation?
Want to use your loft for storage but the insulation is to high?
How can I use my heavily insulated loft for storage?
The cheapest and simplest solution to the very common problem of storing items in a fully-insulated loft is to install a raised floor above the insulation.
The LoftZone Raised Loft StoreFloor is a lightweight, low cost, easy-to-install and very strong platform for storing items and walking on, while protecting the 270mm loft insulation and allowing it to save energy and cut fuel bills as intended.
StoreFloor protects the insulation underneath it, and provides a strong floor for safe access or storage.
Why it's important to insulate your loft
Most people know it is important to insulate your loft, because if you don't, 25% of your heating bills go out through your roof. The Government recommends that everyone insulates to a depth of 270mm if they use rolls of mineral wool insulation (this is the fluffy stuff you see in most DIY stores, and is the most cost-effective solution). It's cheap and relatively simple to do this, it will pay for itself rapidly, and it will help you to feel warmer in the winter and cooler at night in the summer.
Millions of people in the UK haven't yet insulated their lofts to 270mm, and the two main reasons for this are the need for storage and safe access.
I want to insulate my loft, but what can I do with all my stuff up there?
You're not alone - the vast majority of UK households use their lofts for storage. But the extra insulation required to cut fuel bills and save energy makes it very difficult to use the loft space for storage. Many people put boxes on top of the insulation or, even worse, put boards down on top of the joists. This is a major no-no as, in both cases, the insulation gets compressed. Squashed insulation doesn't perform very well! - the mineral wool loft insulation works because of the air trapped inside the insulation and if you compress it, the air gets squeezed out, making it much less effective.
The only way to use a loft with the full 270mm of insulation for storage is to install a raised loft floor above the insulation. This is a low cost but essential addition if you want to store items in your loft and get the full benefit of your insulation. The LoftZone StoreFloor is the only system to do this which is cheap, easy to install and safe.
Safety and safe access to your loft
How can I make my insulated loft safe to walk on? Another common problem with a fully-insulated loft is how to then safely access items stored or installed up there. It is not just your possessions you'll want to access: water tanks, boilers, solar inverters all require maintenance from time to time. But, once you have 270mm of insulation, you can no longer see the loft trusses and joists which means it is hard to safely walk or crawl in the loft: one wrong step and you could put your foot through the ceiling!
Adding an area of raised loft flooring provides a safe and convenient way for homeowners, engineers and surveyors to access items in their insulated loft.
What's the solution?
The cheapest and simplest solution to the very common problem of storing items in a fully-insulated loft is to install a raised floor above the insulation. The LoftZone StoreFloor is a lightweight, low cost, easy-to-install and very strong platform for storing items and walking on, while protecting the 270mm loft insulation and allowing it to save energy and cut fuel bills as intended.
The combined cost of insulation, the LoftZone StoreFloor and loft floor boards is still cheaper than the only other safe solution which is to lay rigid foam insulation on the loft floor and board above that. There is also no need to spend time cutting the foam to size nor worry about leaving air gaps.
Other products to raise the height of the loft floor don't work as well because loft joists are not evenly spaced, which means it can be difficult to secure the loft boards firmly on to them. Only StoreFloor has an adjustable beam which means that you can safely screw the boards down on to them, regardless of joist spacing. The beam also allows you to bridge over any obstructions in the loft too.
There is now a solution to meet Part L, Part K, CDM and Working at Height regulations relating to lofts
Like any part of a building, lofts can be dangerous places and there are therefore several regulations that architects, specifiers and builders need to meet.
The first thing is to consider the loading on the floor of the loft.
Lofts are designed primarily to support the roof, so if the loft is to be used for storage or access, then clearly the joists on the floor of the loft need to be strong enough for this.
For example, most new houses are constructed with truss roofs and the British Standard for these (BS5268) says that the joists must be able to carry a permanent load of at least 25kg per square metre (e.g. for storage) plus a temporary load of 180kg (assumed to be one person walking around). [ Read More ]
Every new house has to be built at least to this minimum legal standard, though many can in fact accommodate much greater loads.
Older properties vary as would be expected, some are much stronger than this, whilst others are not. If you are in doubt, please seek advice from a structural engineer.
If storage or access is required, it is also important to use a product that is strong enough and fit for purpose.
The industry-accepted standard for this is in Britain is accreditation by The British Board of Agrément (BBA). They test for the strength of the raised deck, ease of installation and other issues such as avoiding heat loss and condensation.
LoftZone’s StoreFloor product has passed all these tests and is due to be awarded a BBA certificate in Quarter 4 2015.
It will be the only product on the market to have this. In the past, it was traditional to raise decks above the insulation by using extra timber battens to lift the deck up.
Using timber is however now illegal under the 2013 Part L1A regulations for buildings, without altering the SAP score for the roof.
This is because the timber acts as a cold bridge for heat to escape through the insulation, causing a psi factor loss in heat.
According to a report by the Buildings Research Establishment, StoreFloor does not suffer from this psi factor as the plastic supports do not act as a cold bridge, so StoreFloor does not contravene this requirement. Of course, StoreFloor is also much lighter than timber, allowing more loading on the deck.
Finally, if items that require periodic maintenance (for example solar pumps and inverters, alarm systems, water tanks, mechanical ventilation systems or gas boilers) are installed in the loft, then several other regulations come into play:
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) require, in Clause 82, that the building is designed in a way that makes it safe for maintenance contractors and regular users of the building.
Therefore if items in the loft space need access, and the full depth of mineral wool is installed, this means that architects are mandated to provide a safe access platform above the insulation.
If a mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) unit is installed, as is common in many new houses, then the National House Building Council (NHBC) Good Practice Guidance states that the minimum access requirement is a walkway from the hatch to the unit plus a 1m2 working platform.
But if this is to avoid squashing the insulation, then the deck needs to be raised above it.
If a gas boiler is installed in the loft space, then it is also a requirement to have a safe access platform inside the loft, from the hatch to the boiler.
The British Plumbing Employers’ Council (BPEC) states this explicitly in their CEN1 guidance document. In general, working in a loft counts as Working at Heights from the perspective of the Working at Height Regulations 2005.
It is sadly all too common for people to fall from or through lofts, with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reporting hundreds of cases requiring hospital treatment every year.
Therefore any employer cannot legally send his or her staff into a loft to maintain equipment without a safe working access path.
Since a path screwed or laid on to the joists would compress the insulation, the only way to do this and maintain the required U-value of a loft insulated with mineral wool is to fit a raised access deck above the insulation.
.... Acknowledgment to LoftZone Ltd for this article
So how can I get this installed?
LoftZone has a network of installers covering most of
the UK. To find your nearest LoftZone approved installer
The Northwest of England has a manufacturer approved installer with certified fitters which is Loft Boarding NW and you can contact them from by calling their number directly 0161 6632651 www.loft-boarding-nw.co.uk
Loft Boarding NW are also members of the Safe Trader
Scheme run by LCC Trading Standards. For other areas
please call 0800 8799967 and they will put you in touch
with your local installer.
We would only recommend these products be installed by a LoftZone approved and certified installer.
Watch the video for an animated example of how the raised storage floor system is put together.
So how does it all go together?