Hanging Attic Storage: Locating Support Beams

A darkly-lit attic full of antique junk.

Hanging storage can be an effective way to make the most of your attic storage capacity. There's a variety of hanging storage fixtures that can maximize the limited space found in many attics. When installed properly, they help protect and organize items like clothing, accessories, toys, and seasonal decorations.

Before installing any hanging shelves, racks, or rods, though, it is important to locate your attic's support beams. Here are some tips on finding these essential structures.

Why Find Your Attic's Support Beams?

Locating your attic's support beams, or rafters, prior to installing hanging storage is important for a few reasons. Beams that are weak or damaged may not be able to support the weight of a hanging storage fixture and its contents. Avoid installing hanging storage fixtures on beams that are cracked or sagging, or that appear damaged by water or insects. Take care not to cut support beams during the installation process, either.

Locating Support Beams in Your Attic

Attic rafters can usually be identified by their size, shape, and location. Look for long, prominent, wooden beams that extend, at a sloping angle, from the attic floor to near the roof. The number of support beams often varies depending on the design and style of a specific roof.