11 November

Using your loft space in a safe way

It may be a convenient storage spot, but you should reconsider storing items in your loft.
Loft guidance

Lofts are a pretty common place to store all of your stuff. Between holiday decorations, out-of-season clothing, and even a few boxes of memorabilia, it's the prime free storage space for your home. However, there are some key points that need to be considered:

•    Loft boards and loft flooring in the loft or roof space must only be used to store lightweight items such as empty suitcases. Unless your loft or attic has been converted, it is not designed to carry loads heavier than this.

•    The horizontal rafter, or ceiling joist timbers in your loft are there purely to hold up the ceiling below, not carry weights beyond normal domestic storage items. Too many items stored in the loft could cause the ceiling to start bowing resulting in cracking which potentially could then result in the ceiling failing and collapsing.

•    When your house was built, the upstairs ceiling, which obviously forms the loft floor, was designed to be able to carry approx. 25kg per square metre. A 10 stone human being weighs 64kg. Conclusion, lofts are not designed for storage.

•    If accessing the loft / roof space, there is a risk of falling through the ceiling as it is very easy when moving around to miss the ceiling joists resulting in you standing on the actual ceiling which will not take the weight of a person. The result would be a fall to the lower floor level of some eight feet or more that can potentially be fatal. 

•    An untidy or cluttered loft could promote a pest infestation resulting in damage to your belongings, the fabric of the building, and difficulty in eradicating the issue. 

•    It is recommended that if lighting is to be installed in the roof space then an approved electrical contractor is used to complete the work to ensure the safety of your home and yourself.

•    Should the worse happen and you have a fire in the property then excessive items stored in your loft, if affected, will act as fuel and potentially allow the fire to spread quicker and cause more damage.

•    You will need permission from LiveWest and additional Building Regulation approval to convert your loft into anything other than a storage space.

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