Structural Issues for storage in attic

Old 01-04-15, 08:58 PM
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Structural Issues for storage in attic


I currently live in a 1970's home with a attached ~20x20' 2 stall garage. We are in desperate need of more storage so i thought above the garage would be the perfect spot.

When i bought the home our inspector noted structural issues with the garage ceiling rafters. Above the garage there is a flat roof that mid way through transitions to a steep angle. At that transition point the builders put the load of the roof on the 2x6 ceiling rafters that span the entire 20 ft garage. Obviously the 20ft long 2x6 cant hold a large flat roof. It was evident by the cracking drywall. We insisted the issue be fixed without a pole in the garage. The hired contractor installed a 18"x6" 20 ft LVL from side to side. Then installed 2x12" LVL's running front to back. They put the load of the roof on the 18x6" and than lag bolted each existing 2x6 to the 2x12 using strapping essentially cutting the span of the 20ft long 2x6's in half.

With all this reinforcement i thought it would be no issue to install shelving and what not in the attic. I roughly closed off the area under the flat roof (approx 8x20) and built shelving. Well today we started loading up the shelves. After doing so i went in the garage and noticed the existing cracks that i had caulked and painted up were re-opened and ran further. They are perfectly straight so im sure its along the joints.

The million dollar question is: are the cracks just getting worse due to normal deflection? Since the drywall is just glued and nailed since it was broken before is it just opening up more? or do we have a more structural issue? Could i just re-drywall it with screws/glue and be good? Do i need more re-enforcement? could i just sister more 2x6's in?

Attached are some pictures & drawings to help understand whats there - shows pic of storage area.

#1 is where the 2x6's are lagged to the LVL. #2 is the vertial boards that take the weight of the flat roof to the LVL.
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Shows the garage roof line from outside.
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Whats your opinion on the fix? Of course with cost being low while being safe?

Old 01-04-15, 10:38 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Nice house

We're only seeing a limited view in your storage area picture. Did you build a floor on top of the garage ceiling and then put everything on top of that ?

So where your storage area is.... it's on top of 20' long 2x6's. If I have that correct.... you can't put much weight up there. That's a long span.
Old 01-05-15, 06:24 AM
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Did you have your repair engineered? If so did they they design for the weight of storage?

Without knowing more I would not use the attic for storage. Many think just because there is space in the attic that it is OK to load it up. It is not unusual for the bottom chord of a truss or ceiling joist to be designed to carry nothing more than the weight of the ceiling below. Unless designed and built to carry the additional load attics are generally not built for storage. It's one reason ceiling joists are often smaller than floor joists.
Old 01-05-15, 09:41 AM
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Im not sure if it was or not. I am assuming not since the floor deflects enough now to crack the drywall. I am just trying to figure out what i could do to fix the situation. sister 2x6's with blocking? run 2x10's?
Old 01-05-15, 10:55 AM
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I'm not sure where the deflection is occurring in relation to where those LVL beams are supporting, but any deflection from them and I would be seriously concerned.

Creating a storage area is often a design problem when the initial use is intended to be limited. Later in the life of the building it gets filled to the max as no one knew there was a limit. Thus, building codes usually require the initial conversion to meet a reasonably predictable maximum load.

Now, why it wasn't brought up to a higher level from the start I do not know, but would be inclined to ask.


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