Inside every home, storage space is always necessary. That area is required for the space of childhood possessions, decorations, and other goods. You might have to look above if you’re looking for more storage space. You might come to wonder, is your attic suitable for storage? Even a tiny attic might offer suitable storage space.
After making savvy purchases and improvements, you can make a truss attic suitable storage. You’ll need to be building shelves in attic rafters in your truss attic to make it more usable as a storage space.
Although, before making changes, make sure that your truss attic can support the additional weight. No homeowner wants their attic space to go to waste. So, here in our guide, you can learn more about attic storage ideas with trusses.
By the end, you’ll have a better idea of this home improvement task for adding additional storage space, and what you need from adequate ventilation to seeking professional advice. (Find the Best Horizontal Storage Shed For Lawn Mower)
Can You Store Stuff In A Truss Attic?
A truss attic is identified by its truss, where the massive wooden structure beneath your roof is there to offer support for the roof and support the attic walls.
The truss inside an attic takes up a lot of space, and there can be wooden beams span open areas and can easily support floorboards.
So, you may think, is it impossible to convert a truss attic into storage space? It is possible, yet it takes plenty of planning and professional advice to avoid damage to your home and your new space.
If your neighbor has a truss attic conversion, remember that one attic can vary from another, so don’t assume you can follow suit.
Here are some things to do for home improvement before you consider weaving your way around your attic storage trusses as you make your new floor area.
Check for Roof or Truss Damage
Attic leaks aren’t always straightforward, yet damage to your roof may be extensive by discovering it.
To decide what to do with your truss attic dream space, you must assess the roof condition. Trusses are strong, yet when they get wet, they weaken.
If the truss is damaged, don’t use your attic for storage until you fix the weakened truss. A saturated truss cannot support the additional weight without compromising your home’s structure.
First, tackle the truss, which could mean adding more support beams or replacing the attic truss.
Lack of Flooring
Two things to consider before installing flooring. The truss’s strength and the attic’s insulation. Remember that trusses are built to support the roof. (Learn How To Cut Hardboard)
It is best to have an expert inspect your truss first. Also, they can inform you how much weight each beam supports, like floors. That means significant alterations inside your attic if the truss can’t do it.
Insulation must also be considered. For example, if you install attic flooring, you run risks of squeezing the insulation. In addition, compressed insulation is less effective in temperature regulation.
Many homeowners with truss attics live without flooring in some areas as they can’t install flooring across the entire attic space.
You must also consider the attic’s temperature and humidity level. The conditions inside will determine if you can use it as a storage space.
High humidity can damage objects, especially if exposed for a long time. For example, a humid attic is not suitable to store valuables. High temperatures are bad for a lot of things.
Checking the temperature and humidity in your attic before converting it might save you a lot of hassle. If it isn’t, you’ll have to move your storage or renovate your attic.
What You Need
The amount of lumber you need depends on your attic’s size and the storage space you want to create.
- OSB plywood
- 1 2×4 per piece of plywood
- 2×2 boards
- 3″ Spax screws
- 2″ screws
- Measuring tape
- Circular saw
Steps to Make Your Truss Attic Storage Suitable
1. Measure the Distance
The first step is to measure the distance. This will tell you how much plywood and 2x4s you’ll need. Measure from one rafter to the desired storage end.
Remember vertical distance when creating shelves. Pipes and air ducts can’t permanently be moved. So take note of the proportions from floor to ceiling.
2. Mark The Distance
Mark the rafters’ spacing on a 2×4. Then cut with a circular saw. Repeat this step as needed until you have enough pieces.
3. Screw Boards Into Place
Because attics are small, a drill is preferred over a hammer. There’s not much room to maneuver, and it becomes warm soon. Step three requires a drill and screws.
Replace the present insulation board with one of the cut-up 2x4s. Fix this component with one screw in each corner. Do this while descending the rafters. (Read 5 Toy Storage for Outside Ideas)
These are support boards that are straightforward to install. Put the screws in the correct location but do not fully make them. Use this board as a template for any other support boards.
4. Add More Support
Apply 2×2 pieces to the rafters in front of you. This step requires you to know how much shelving space you need.
If you want an 18-inch shelf, screw a 2×19 into the rafter. Then add another board to the rafter. Finally, install two more boards on each side of the rafter to complete this step.
This is optional, but you’ll want it if you plan to store heavy boxes on the shelves. When these boards are installed, they will resemble a rectangle base.
5. Measure & Screw the Plywood
Measure out plywood for the shelves’ flooring. After that, screw two-inch screws into the newly formed base. Rep this step for each new shelf space.
6. Add Items
Pack light because a truss attic isn’t built for storage. An example is a shelf with an empty suitcase or a basket of balls.
Also, space your storage evenly. You don’t want everything heavy on one end. Heavy things should be placed in the center of your shelving unit.
Alternative Truss Attic Storage Space
Different ways to make your truss attic into a functional storage area. Let’s discuss some of those ways in this section of the post.
Add Shelves between the Chords
The best and easiest way to convert a truss attic into storage space is to add shelves. The spaces between the chords (the roof beams) are often large enough for shelves.
You can make the shelves from plywood or buy them ready-made. The advantage of buying pre-made shelves comes with the necessary installation components. If you create your own shelves, use screws to secure them.
Add Flooring to Your Truss Attic
After a professional inspects your attic, you may have the green light to install flooring and floorboards.
This gives you options; you can install pre-made or make your floor panels out of natural materials.
Make your own plywood floor panels to save money, although making panels fit over insulation can be difficult. One way is to raise the floor to the same height as your insulation using dimensional lumber before adding your flooring.
Getting pre-made panels saves time. Some pre-made panels include support elements to prevent excessive weight on the insulation. You decide, but pre-made panels are easier to work with.
Add a Storage Platform
A dedicated platform can also be installed in your truss attic to add storage space. The platform must be linked to the truss; however, it can be supported by numerous beams.
Pre-made platforms create extra space in almost every truss attic. Even if the attic isn’t suitable for supporting flooring in an attic, the platform works.
The disadvantage of employing a storage platform is the lack of space. If you use a storage platform, you can only use the attic for a few objects.
Compare this to preparing an attic for storage space or living space. You need a full-scale staircase and 7 feet between the floor and the beams. There have to be at least 70 square feet of attic space. (Learn How Long Does Deck Stain Need To Dry Before Rain)
Can You Store Stuff On Trusses?
Your attic is unsuitable for storage not because of truss movement but because the bottom part of a conventional truss (known as a cord) is not designed to support a storage weight.
A typical truss will support its weight and the gypsum ceiling, insulation, and light fixtures beneath it.
You shouldn’t put anything in them unless you have “storage trusses” designed expressly for extra weight. They’re meant to support up your roof, not your trash.
What about attic conversion
In order to gain additional storage space, attic rafters can be replaced with A-shaped or horizontal beams. By replacing the typical W-shaped trusses with steel beams running the length of the floor, you may create a considerably larger and more functional attic space.
How much weight can attic trusses hold?
The minimum storage load capacity of a roof truss for non-sleeping areas, according to the IRC, should be roughly 40 pounds per square foot of floor framing area.
If it’s for sleeping places, the weight per square foot should be around 30 pounds.
How Do I Make Attic Space Usable For Storage?
Even while installing trusses to create storage space in an attic can be challenging, doing so is usually not too tough if you prepare ahead of time.
Here’s how to go about adding storage space to your attic.
Before deciding how to use your attic’s storage space, you must assess it for damage to the roof or trusses.
Here are some things to keep an eye out for:
Humidity and Temperature
Because you rarely use your attic, there may be a hidden leak, or the wood may not be strong enough to support any more weight.
Evaluating the trusses, flooring, and support beams can help you avoid serious injury or damage to yourself or your house.
Attics are prone to dramatic temperature variations in the summer and winter and are naturally humid, making them unsuitable for storing valuables.
Insulate and Ventilate
Before adding any structural elements, you must make how extra heat from below or outside will affect your attic’s environment. So new floor panels require underlayment made of polyfoam, silicone, or recyclable material.
Your attic will be unsafe without appropriate ventilation. Combining air vents or extractor fans with insulation can reduce humidity and the impacts of temperature variations. Mechanical ventilation draws in new air and exhausts stale, humid air.
The fan will start automatically when the temperature rises. But make sure it has sensors to switch it off when the temperature changes dramatically. Otherwise, the oxygenated air might stoke any potential attic flames.
After you’ve investigated your potential attic storage space, ask an expert if you can add some flooring to make it more accessible. Adding floor space will make space and provide additional storage.
Some people even live in their attics, so an ample, sturdy storage space in the attic is not outlandish.
You can also make your panels instead of buying them, although they may not be suitable for large furniture as this has too much weight for regular attic trusses to bear.
Can You Convert A Truss attic?
You can create additional space by adding new trusses.
This alternative requires a structural engineer’s opinion. For example, if you have a steeply pitched roof and employ regular roof trusses, you are wasting space because the trusses may run in a different direction and save up space.
You need an expert to work out how to modify the trusses without compromising their ability to support the weight of your roof and the modifications you’re building.
That said, cutting or changing trusses might result in damages that far surpass the costs of having a professional do it for you.
Understanding the Attic Structures: Conventional Framing vs. Trusses
In order to distribute the weight of the roof load to the exterior walls and finally to the ground, two forms of roof framing exist: conventional and truss.
Traditional framing is typical in older homes. In traditional framing, rafters and joists (typically 2×8, 2×10, or 2×12) form the roof and floor components.
Prefabricated trusses are used for attic framing. Trusses are a type of structural framework constructed of interconnected 2x4s.
After being created by engineers, a local crew lifts them in place and mounts them above the wall framing.
Unless your home has an attic truss, which provides an open area for access and storage, they are the most difficult to work around.
Because each truss element contributes to the overall structural integrity of the truss, they cannot be cut or changed.
Attic flooring Storage Space Above Trusses
Your attic was not designed for storage if your roof was built with prefabricated trusses. This is for numerous reasons.
Roof trusses distribute the weight of the roof structure (and snow, wind, rain, etc.) to the load-bearing exterior walls. The “chords” are a set of interconnected 2”x4” wood frame components.
The attic insulation is also thicker than the bottom 24 chord of the truss because it is on top of the drywall. Putting flooring and storage atop fiberglass insulation compresses it, pushing out trapped air and rendering it unusable.
However, by attaching supporting beams to the sidewalls of the trusses, you may establish a storage platform above the insulation. Using a prefabricated attic floor kit to raise the attic floor above the insulation is even easier.
Attic flooring Storage Space Above Framing
Your danger of causing structural imbalance is reduced if your home was built with traditional lumber, but you must still be cautious while installing an attic floor. Y
You’ll be installing flooring on top of ceiling joists that support the drywall ceiling in your attic. Ceiling joists support a drywall ceiling, not large furniture or gym equipment.
The ceiling joists would be floor joists and larger to make the attic living space. Ceiling joists are 2×8, while floor joists are 2×10 or 2×12. Even if the joist spacing is the same, the two frame types differ in size and strength.
Also, storage in the attic reduces your home’s energy efficiency. Insulation is always thicker than ceiling joists or trusses because a typical attic needs 16 inches or more of insulation.
Therefore, adding a floor can compress the insulation, diminishing its efficiency. If the ceiling joist structure is deep enough that your insulation does not protrude over the framing, you can floor directly on top of them, but note that adding more insulation later will be difficult.