Without proper measures in place, your loft is not a safe storage location. Its primary purpose isn’t for storing stuff, and there’s the risk you — or heavy items — could fall through the ceiling.
So, putting some solid flooring down for safety and practical reasons makes sense, but how much does it cost to board a loft in the UK?
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Reasons Why You Might Want to Board Your Loft
Aside from having somewhere practical to keep seasonal decorations and items you don’t currently need, what are the other benefits of boarding your loft?
- Declutter Your Living Space — Minimalism is hip right now. If you want to declutter your space of stuff you rarely use but still want to keep, a well-boarded loft is a perfect place to keep treasures that you might wish to access in the future.
- Better Insulation — Boarding out your loft can help improve your home’s insulation, stopping the heat from escaping through your roof and saving on your heating bills.
- Extra Space — Boarding out your loft can provide you with much-needed extra space. However, if it’s extra living space you’re after, you’ll need a full loft conversion that is much more involved.
Boarding Your Loft: What You Need to Consider
For insulation, building regulations recommend a depth of 250–270mm. You don’t need planning permission or building regulations approval if laying simple boarding in a small section. However, if you want to use it as a living area, you probably won’t need planning permission, but you will need to get building regulations approval to meet certain requirements.
Insulation and Condensation
Boarding your loft improperly can defeat the purpose of improving your insulation. Also, reduced airflow can cause condensation, damaging your carefully stored possessions.
As well as being unsafe, loft areas can be dusty, and there’s a risk of irritation from insulation fibres (glass fibre insulation especially — I speak from experience!). Wear suitable protective gear such as a mask, goggles, overalls and gloves if you do it yourself.
Also, you should ensure the area is clear from hazardous obstacles such as loose cables or floorboards and have a dedicated workspace by laying a temporary board across the joists.
Boarding a Loft: Can You Do It Yourself?
Depending on your time, skills and experience, you can do this job yourself. Here are three popular options to consider:
- You could lay the decking boards directly onto the joists. Avoid compressing your loft insulation; this will reduce the recommended depth and effectiveness, resulting in higher heating bills.
- You could install extra timbers or ‘loft legs’ on the joists before laying the boards. This option should allow for any extra insulation if required while leaving a gap for airflow to combat condensation.
- You can purchase and install purpose-made loft insulation boards on the joists. Insulation boards are more expensive than insulation fibres, so bear this in mind if you are on a budget.
If boarding the full loft, it’s important to leave space between the boards and the eaves to ensure the air from the vents can still circulate.
The website ‘Homebuilding and Renovating’ has a useful step-by-step guide to boarding your loft, a list of tools you’ll need, and a section on adding loft legs for a raised loft floor.
For a visual aid, check out the video below from Wickes. It details everything you need and includes a step-by-step guide to fitting a raised floor with loft boards and legs.
How Much to Board a Loft — Calculating Costs in 2023
Costs to Consider
To work out a budget, you must first decide how much space you need. Are you boarding a small section or the full length of your loft?
From the loft-boarding options above, which is the better solution for you? Once you decide which option is best, you can determine whether you must purchase insulation, timber or loft legs in addition to the boards.
Another question is whether you need a pull-down ladder or a new access hatch to accommodate it.
If you’re going down the DIY route, remember to include any other costs you might incur through purchasing or hiring tools & equipment.
Typical Material Cost
You can pick up a pack of 3 x 18mm chipboard loft panels measuring 320mm x 1220mm from Wickes for around £8 or larger chipboard flooring measuring 600mm x 2400mm for around £10, depending on your requirements.
Loft roll insulation prices range from £12 – £26, depending on your chosen brand and the top-up depth requirement.
Loft legs are around £10 per pack of 12.
Typical Labour Cost
The table below provides an example of what you might pay when hiring a professional. If this sounds like a better option for you due to time restraints, etc., contact a trusted professional at Rated People to obtain full quotations. Ensure you obtain at least three quotations, and ask for testimonials.
|Job||Description||Time to Complete||Material Cost||Labour Cost||Material/Labour Split (%)|
|Partial||Boarding a partial area around the loft hatch. Chipboard flooring. No added insulation.||4 hours||£100||£120||45/55|
|Full||Full boarding of the loft with chipboard flooring. No added insulation.||1 day||£220||£245||47/53|
|Full + Insulation||Full boarding across the loft. Raising the floor height and adding extra insulation.||1.5 days||£550||£320||63/37|
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How Much to Board a Loft — Final Thoughts
For a simple storage solution, you can see that it’s not beyond the scope of a confident and capable DIYer to board a loft, and the materials are not hugely expensive.
But in addition to reading this guide, do your research, and remember – safety first. Alternatively, hire a professional to get the job done for you, which you can do through Rated People.