Lofty Ideals (or Ideal Lofts?)

The “I finally got round to insulating the loft” edition.

The previous owners of our house did a wonderful job making the downstairs look nice, but corners were cut elsewhere and basic jobs that should have been tackled early were ignored.

Energy prices are officially insane, and having a weedy 100mm of compressed wool insulation (boarded over) is no longer sufficient when the government guidance is for 270mm. Having the loft for storage is necessary when you have as much stuff as we do, so doing away with the boards entirely wasn’t going to be an option. The more realistic plan was to loft the loft. Raising the level of the floor with plastic loft legs allows a thick layer of insulation to be laid down while still having a platform to store things on. The resultant flooring isn’t as sturdy as boarding onto the joists, but we only require intermittent access to the space so it’s not a big deal.

The loft space after clearing the stuff out

The boards that previous owners had used were not fit for purpose. Most of them were chipboard, and too thin to be used to bear any amount of weight, and laid in-line with the joists which led to sagging in the middle. Boards (and the second layer of insulation) should be laid perpendicular to the joists.

The first job was insulating the sides and the area behind the water tank using the old boards as support, then removing the boards to fit the loft legs and insulation around them. Wickes provided the materials in exchange for money, a system that’s really catching on these days.

How many rolls of insulation must the blue Skoda store? (Before you call it a car)

Needless to say, it took two trips. I did manage to fit four rolls of glass mineral insulation in the car alongside three packs of loft boards. The Tetris-like abilities of the Skoda Fabia never cease to amaze me. Except when I flew too close to the sun and attempted to put a shelf through the windscreen.

Getting past the trusses was a (literal) pain

The loft is not the most forgiving space, particularly for a tall person, so I spent a lot of the time alternately destroying my shins and knees, and backing into bits of wood. I managed to get the first stage of insulation laid and start onto the main event – the storage floor itself. I’m planning on removing the cold water storage tank (left in the photo above) once the air source heat pump is installed.

Once all of the legs were in place, the boards were sat on top of them and screwed onto the top platform of each leg. It’s not the sturdiest construction ever, but it will be more than adequate for storing lightweight items. The key point is getting an additional 200mm layer of insulation while maintaining an air gap between it and the boards, reducing condensation and mould formation.

While I was up there, I decided to fix something that had been annoying me for quite some time. A little while back I had replaced the incandescent bulb in the attic fitting with an LED one, and added a WiFi plug to control it so I could have the light on without groping around in the darkness. Now it was time to do one better and replace the fitting entirely.

I bought a twin LED batten light which has made the space a lot brighter and easier to navigate, and taken some of the haunted feeling away. The next step will be to add shelving to the trusses, but after an extended weekend of crawling around up there, I’m not rushing back up that ladder.

There was one other thing. One weird thing, hiding behind the water tank. Something a little…Sinister?

We’ve been up to some other stuff too, namely replaying Resident Evil VII on easy because we’re too wimpy to try it on normal again. That, and watching The Sandman.

2 responses to “Lofty Ideals (or Ideal Lofts?)”

  1. Looks like you have been very busy Adam; reminds me of Doug Wagner with his 300mm insulation; building control laughed at him, saying “it was overkill”

    1. Now that and more is standard in new builds. The ideal would be to ultra-insulate everything and use reclaimed heat to keep the house warm. Maybe we’ll build a house to that spec one day!

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