Owning a house comes with a lot of benefits that owning an apartment doesn’t have. For instance, a house allows you to own a garage as well, which comes with additional storage space. Most people who live in apartments don’t have an alternative to getting rid of items they are no longer using, but if you have a garage, your attic is a great resource. Garage attics provide enough room for storage, but they can also be fragile, which makes them a little dangerous. You need to factor in potential problems that may occur if you convert the attic into a storage area to ensure that safety is maintained in the garage.
So, can I use my garage attic for storage? The short answer is yes, garage attic storage is possible, but if it’s not done carefully, it may lead to accidents and damage to the property. Standard trusses, typically used in garage attics, are not designed for heavy storage.
One of the main problems associated with garage attic storage is structural support. The roof system used in garages, also known as truss, isn’t always strong enough to carry additional weight other than the roof above the ceiling’s weight. Their primary function is to provide support for the roofing above the ceiling and, therefore, weaker for storage. Your solution is to redesign the truss to make it stronger so it can hold the additional weight effectively. This can be simple or challenging, depending on the type of house.
Another common problem with garage attic storage is heat and ultraviolet absorption. Attics tend to get warmer, but the heat can be extreme during some seasons like summer. Some places also experience more heat than others, which means that your items will not be safe in the attic. This is usually a result of compact insulation on the ceiling area in a bid to enhance the home’s energy efficiency. This problem can also be solved by remodeling. Failure to do that could lead to damage to your stored property, especially those that are likely to fade or crack under heat. You will have to look for a roofing contractor to remodel the whole area and improve the insulation on the attic.
Creating a garage attic for storage
After addressing the above problems, your next step is to create the attic to create the storage space. Start by confirming that the attic can handle your storage needs. Check the property’s blueprints, if you have them, to confirm the number of trusses available — then compare their capacity with the weight of the items you want to store. Always check the building regulations in your local area and only add trusses if the regulations allow. It would help if you also worked with a qualified roofing contractor who will give you expert advice and deliver quality services.
Creating the entrance
After securing the truss and confirming that it can deliver as you expect it, you can create the attic. You can do it by yourself, or you can hire a professional to do it. You will need a way to access the attic to create the storage space, which you can do by cutting a square on the garage ceiling. You will need a loft ladder kit to create a hatch for the entrance as well as floorboards to install over joints.
Install a ladder
You also have to install a ladder that you will use to get to the attic when you need to. An attic frame hatch will help you install the stairs, but you will have to choose the most appropriate type of stairs from the available options, which are pull-down ladders and folding ladders. Pull down ladders are installed on the hatch door from where they descend when necessary. The hatch door has to be rectangular to allow the ladder to fit, which makes its installation more difficult. They are however, more stable than folding ladders which fold up to fit onto the hatch and are therefore smaller. They can be made with aluminum instead of wood, but their lightweight nature may not give you eth sturdiness you need in a ladder.
Remember to check whether your local building authorities allow the building of attic ladders because some of them may have fire laws that prohibit such installation. You should also confirm that the ladder dimensions are from the garage floor to the attic floor and not the garage ceiling.
The floorboards should be the first things you install after gaining access to the attic. Measure the joists and use plywood that goes directly over them. You will need assistance with floorboard installation to ensure that they are installed correctly in a straight manner. Your floor must be level; otherwise, the garage attic storage will not work.
When done with your hatch, ladder, and the flooring, you can proceed to install the storage spaces. If you want to install shelves, you must first measure the items you want to store to get the right length, width, and height measurements of the shelves. Use the shelves for smaller so that you can install them underneath the windows to maximize the usage of space.
You can also hang items as a storage option. For instance, you can install S-hooks to store some items, like bikes, and leave space on the floor for other items. You can install overhead shelves at the center to maximize the storage space. You can then place large boxes under the shelves, especially if they don’t contain items you use frequently. Remember to use plastic storage boxes instead of cardboard boxes for enhanced safety. Rodents are likely to chew through cardboard than plastic.
Always test the strength of the attic floor to find out whether it can hold all your storage items. The floor also acts as the framing for the garage ceiling, which means that it has joists. As such, it may be able to hold some items but not others. Walk around the attic floor to check whether there is sagging or weakening of any kind. Please pay attention to the spaces between the joists as they could be weaker. You can add plywood to the floor to strengthen it. Remember to use screws because nails could damage the plaster and end up making the ceiling below ugly.
Use the size of joists as a guide to the amount of weight you can store in the garage attic. The size of the joists is usually an indication of the amount of pressure they can handle, which means that the bigger they are, the more weight they can hold. For instance, if the joists are 2×4, they are likely to hold lighter items, for instance, Christmas decoration materials. However, if they are 2×8, then they may be able to hold heavier objects like furniture. Either way, remember to confirm their ability before storing anything up there.
To minimize the frequency with which you walk around the garage attic, label each section of storage. Walking around could put additional pressure on the attic and cause it to break. Make sure to place the items you frequently use near the entrance where they will be easy to access — and seasonal items at the furthest. Use masking tape to create labels. It’s also advisable that you mark a path that you can use to access the items stores further from the entrance. Put tape along the joists to give you a clear path away from the boards.
Regularly inspecting your garage attic storage is of utmost importance because it allows you to spot damages before they get worse. Leaks are the most common problems, and they are dangerous because they cannot only destroy your stored items. They can also damage the ceiling above and the garage by extension. Look for stains on the ceiling underneath the attic as well as around the vent pipes or chimneys. Stains below the sheathing are a sign of water damage as well as the condensation on windows and framing.
You should always check the temperature of the attic storage even if you have improved the insulation. Sometimes the attic still gets too warm and may destroy sensitive items like electronics. The cold can also be a problem, especially if cold air manages to seep through the vents during winter. Regular temperature inspection will let you know whether your vents are still working properly and reassure you that your stored items are all safe.
Garage attic storage is possible, but if not done carefully, it may lead to accidents and damage to the property. If you’re not sure that you can handle the job on your own, then hire a professional to install for you. Make sure to check their reputation before hiring them because you need someone who will be thorough and follow all the processes.