February 6th to 27th, Our House, Derby
With the LAN trunking upgrade done I moved on to the next phase in my yearlong attempt to tidy our loft. Originally I planned to upgrade the LAN cabling before raising the loft floor. However, I’ve decided to tackle this in a different order. I’m going to raise the floor first and then upgrade the wiring.
Thinking ahead and clearing the decks
The main reason for the change is to future proof the new raised floor.
Right now the loft floor is screwed down. Combine that with the tongue and groove joints on the boards themselves and it’s extremely difficult to access any wiring, for ceiling lights etc, underneath.
I’ve run into this problem before when wanting to move some wires in what was the Not So Little Rs bedroom. I had to forcibly rip up the boards, causing quite a lot of damage to tongue and groove joints, to access the wiring underneath.
The new floor will have access panels positioned at key areas around the loft. Those panels will have their tongue and groove joins removed but will still be screwed into place. When I need access I can just unscrew the panel and lift it out of the way. Underneath the insulation will be cut so it can be easily removed.
But before any of that could happen I had to clear yet more space. I moved all of the remaining clutter from the front side of the loft completing the job I’d started when installing the living room cable trays.
With all the clutter carefully balanced at the rear of the loft I now had access to the entire floor space at the front. Measuring approx 5m by 2m this 10m² floor space will be the first to be raised.
To do the actual lifting I’m using loft legs. Coming in boxes of 12 I ordered 8 boxes giving me more than enough to raise this part of the floor.
These legs are secured to the joists using 4 screws at the base. The loft boards are screwed to the top with 4 more. With 96 legs to fit I’m going to need a lot of screws.
If all goes well the new raised floor will look better than the current one which was compromised by some of the beams in the loft, particularly around the water tank in the middle. The loft legs will raise the floor above all these problem areas so the finished floor should look much neater.
Raising the floor
I began by unscrewing the boards fitted in the front part of the loft. With the screws gone I moved the boards out of the way to access the joists below. It’s these joists the loft legs will be screwed into.
I spent a lot of time considering the location of the legs, in particular round the base of the rafters where they don’t easily fit. Next I used a combination of a square and a jig, made from scrap board, to line up and position enough legs to cover an area approx 2m².
With everything lined up I decided to test fit a loft board and get an idea of how it would look.
It’s here I came to my first problem area. I wasn’t able to fit any loft legs to the joist near the water tank as it ran underneath the platform the tank sat on.
To get round this I used some spare wood to create a bracket to hold up this side of the floor. It’s a complete fluke the piece of wood left over from my LAN trunking upgrade was not only the right height, it was also the right length.
I secured it place using some 6.0 x 80mm screws. The boards themselves once cut to the right length were screwed to the bracket using the same 4.0 x 30mm screws I’m using to fix the loft legs.
Unlike the original flooring this time I’m staggering the position of the boards rather than placing them side by side. This will increase rigidity making the floor stronger.
This does mean more cutting because I’ll be fitting half boards where a full board once sat but, with boards now sitting 170mm above the joists they were once screwed into, it will be worth it for the extra strength this will provide.
The first half board I dealt with also needed to be an access panel as it was positioned right over some cabling. To create the panel I removed the tongue and groove edging from the board. Only the screws into the loft legs would hold this in place. If I ever need access I can simply unscrew it and remove it.
With the central part of the flooring in place I began to reach places, like at the base of the rafters, where the loft legs wouldn’t fit. Here it took two boards widths to span the gap to the next loft leg position. This is where my careful measuring at the beginning paid off.
Just like I did near the water tank I added some brackets to the rafters to provide support where, once I’d made cut outs to get around the rafters, the two boards spanning the gap would sit.
Then it was a simple process of fitting more loft legs, cutting, laying and screwing down the broads to complete the rest of the floor on the left hand side of the loft.
That’s the process I repeated on the right hand side the loft which, once complete, meant I’d raised approx. 8m² of the floor so far.
It was at this point I decided to stop. I hadn’t yet purchased the insulation I needed to fit underneath the raised floor. I didn’t want to go too much further without having that to hand to fit. So next on the list is to buy that insulation.
Total Cost and what was left
All of the loft boarding used so far was already installed in the loft. All of the wood I’m using for brackets is from off cuts made as I reposition the loft boards into their new home. That means the spend to date totals £146. £114 of that was on the Loft Legs themselves as I purchased 8 boxes each with 12 legs. The remaining £32 was spent on screws and other hardware.
So far I haven’t used up all of the screws I bought, nor have I used all of the Loft Legs. That’s ok as I use what’s left up as I continue raising the floor.