Adding flooring to an attic space


Old 01-06-17, 04:18 PM
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Adding flooring to an attic space


I have some space in my attic that I'd like to make useful for storage. I have already installed a set of attic stairs. But it turns out that there are a whole bunch of wires & cables and a pipe or two running across the beams where I had hoped to just lay down some plywood for flooring. There's also a ceiling lamp socket from below sticking up a couple of inches above the top level of the beams.

I'm trying to think of the simplest way to gain usable floor space and thought I'd seek the opinions of some of you who have more experience with this than I do.

I could just lay some plywood planks down in various places, avoiding the wires and pipes. this would be simplest but least easy to use. We'd have to be careful when walking about up there when getting stuff out / putting things away.

Another thought I had was to run a set of 2 x 2s perpendicular to the current beams and then lay plywood flooring on that. It would be a harder job, but would result in a more usable space.

Is there a better option I haven't thought of? A friend suggested carefully lifting the wires and pipes up and placing the plywood flooring underneath, then walking around carefully, but I don't think that will work because there are too many places where the spaghetti of wires running over some pipes and then down into holes to the floors below will make getting the plywood under everything impossible.

I will post a pic or two as soon as I figure out how.
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Old 01-06-17, 04:22 PM
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Here is a pic of the attic space. The black pipe is for my solar water heater.

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Old 01-06-17, 04:34 PM
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Have you measured the structure to know that using this space for storage is a reasonable thing to do in the first place?
Old 01-06-17, 05:06 PM
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Yes, lay 2x2s (or 2x4's if you need the added height) perpendicular notch them as needed, then lay plywood with the long dimension perpendicular to the 2x2s. Generally attic trusses are only meant for very light loads, so don't overload it. If the bottom chords have splice plates, you don't want to put a lot of weight in that area... (like a 300lb man) Besides overloading, the biggest problem with turning attics into storage areas is that the area where the plywood is limits the amount of insulation that can be added.

We don't know where you live since your profile is incomplete (assuming HI from your name), but in the US, most places need R-49 or more. You might could use more. Only the original mfg of the trusses or a structural engineer can tell you if that space is designed for storage, and what the limit is per sq ft. But you could look for a tag on the rafters.
Old 01-06-17, 05:10 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I live in Hawaii so insulation is a consideration, but not a major concern.
Old 01-06-17, 05:15 PM
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Yes.... Hawaii is a correct guess.

I dunno. I have to be very careful working in attics like that due to my weight.
I'd say you need to be real careful of the weight you put up there.
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