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Old 06-07-2003, 04:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Attic, is it safe for storage?

Does anyone use their attic for storage? I recently added pull-down stairs into my attic and a floor. We’ve go tons of stuff in our crawl space, but we have to run a de-humidifier all year round to keep it dry. Do you think stuff can be stored safely in the attic with the high temps in the summer (there is an attic fan) and the cold temps in the winter?
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Old 06-07-2003, 06:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It all depends on what you're storing, I'd guess. I would love to use my attic as storage, but since I live in a townhome, I don't think that the roof joists would support the extra weight without reinforcement.
However, at my mother's house, we put in a floor and used the space to store things like Christmas decorations, older furniture (cheaper stuff), basically junk. I remember that the books I stored up there seemed to age much quicker because of the high summer temperatures, even with the attic fan working. Other than that, she didn't have too many problems.

One thing to consider: When you put a floor in the attic, you most likely compressed your insulation, reducing it's effectiveness. If you notice your utilities climbing, you might want to consider putting more insulation back into your attic. (ie, running insulation on the underside of the roof itself, using plastic sheeting to keep it in place) Keep in mind I'm not a professional...these are just things I've picked up here and there. I'd talk to an expert before sinking any serious money into the project.
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Old 06-07-2003, 06:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by fhqwhgads
One thing to consider: When you put a floor in the attic, you most likely compressed your insulation, reducing it's effectiveness. If you notice your utilities climbing, you might want to consider putting more insulation back into your attic. (ie, running insulation on the underside of the roof itself, using plastic sheeting to keep it in place) Keep in mind I'm not a professional...these are just things I've picked up here and there. I'd talk to an expert before sinking any serious money into the project.
I was also concerned about the insulation, but to add strength to the floor, I added 2x4s running the opposite direction to the joists, then laid the floor on that. This allowed enough space to keep from compressing the blown insulation. It also solved any problems with all the wires. Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 06-07-2003, 08:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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As long as you don't put anything up there that's particularly sensitive to heat, you should be fine. Hell, my parents store me up in the attic...
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Old 06-09-2003, 04:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Toronto
Quote:
Originally posted by wondash
I was also concerned about the insulation, but to add strength to the floor, I added 2x4s running the opposite direction to the joists, then laid the floor on that. This allowed enough space to keep from compressing the blown insulation. It also solved any problems with all the wires. Thanks for the feedback.
And exactly what are these 2 x 4's bearing on?

the original (lower) 2 x 4's????

That won't make a bit of difference to the capacity of the original 2 x 4's, unless they bridge the original 2 x 4's and bear on a load bearing wall.

If anything, you have just added more dead load to the already overloaded ceiling structure.

Joists, be they floor joists, ceiling joists, or roof joists are typically installed in the short direction since the stress developed in the member is a function of its length (Where Moment = (w x L^2)/8 for a simply supported member and Stress = M x C/I = M / S where S is the section modulus and is essentially a function of the geomtry of the member.) (W = Loading in pounds / linear foot, L = length, M = moment.)

Unless the aspect ratio, i.e. the Length of long member divided by the length of the short member is less than 2.0, only the short members will do any work whatsoever.

Even if the aspect ratio is less than 2.0, the long members will still require something to bear on other than the existing 2 x 4's (like another load bearing wall) And the long members will do less work than the short members regardless.

You would have been better off to fix your new 2 x 4's paralell to the tops of the original 2 x 4's with some sort of mechanical connection thereby making them into 2 x 8's effectively.

Now that would have worked.

Merely laying 2 x 4's on top of the original 2 x 4's at 90 degrees will do nothing for strength and will infact only make it worse.

I seriously recommend you rethink your strategy.
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Old 06-10-2003, 04:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
Psycho
 
james t kirk,
The roof of our house uses a toothpick type of construction (the roof structure is not prefab). The ceiling joists are all 2x10s as are the roof joists. The 2x4's I put down all span over multiple walls including the main bearing walls. Also, we don't plan on storing anything very heavy. I'm sure the new floor will support the load. If not, I'll post it here! Thanks for your info.
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Old 06-10-2003, 06:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Toronto
Quote:
Originally posted by wondash
james t kirk,
The roof of our house uses a toothpick type of construction (the roof structure is not prefab). The ceiling joists are all 2x10s as are the roof joists. The 2x4's I put down all span over multiple walls including the main bearing walls. Also, we don't plan on storing anything very heavy. I'm sure the new floor will support the load. If not, I'll post it here! Thanks for your info.
Sorry, i don't know why but i somehow assumed your ceiling joists were 2 x 4.

2 x 10's will obviously have a lot more strength.

It's all relative to the span anyway.

It all comes down to what load the ceiling system was designed to support.

My attic for example employs rough hewn 2 x 4's (true size) at 16" centres, and is pretty much designed to support just the dead load of the ceiling beneath.

I can walk up there, but only after putting down some plywood boards to distribute the load a bit.

I could never store anything up there cause i have R 42 fibre glass insulation and the ceiling system is just too light.

I wish when they built the place the designed the ceiling as a load bearing floor. Oh well.

cheers

Last edited by james t kirk; 06-10-2003 at 06:40 AM..
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Old 06-10-2003, 08:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
Psycho
 
When the house was built, I looked up in the attic and was amazed at how much space there was. It really could have been used as another room (had there been a staircase). The peak is about 12 feet high and aside from four posts, the area is entirely open. There's even a window in a small dormer.
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Old 06-21-2003, 06:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
Tilted
 
I you insulate the ceiling you better make sure there is an air space bertween the insul and the boards/plywood roof. If not then your shingles will be toast in 2 summers from overheating and its also possible to have ice buildup in the winter.
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Old 06-23-2003, 04:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Quote:
Originally posted by trialzin
I you insulate the ceiling you better make sure there is an air space bertween the insul and the boards/plywood roof. If not then your shingles will be toast in 2 summers from overheating and its also possible to have ice buildup in the winter.
I don't have any plans to insulate the roof, but that's a good tip. Thanks.
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Old 07-02-2003, 07:52 AM   #11 (permalink)
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make sure its well vented, with ridge vents, end vents and soffets.
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Old 07-10-2003, 11:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Location: Down South
You can easily use the existing attice space as long as you employ good common sense.

Don't overload the joists with weight. Disribute the weight over a larger space.

Test for water leaks with some paper or cardboard spread out over the storage area and re-check them after it rains to see if there are stains. Not all leaks are big but a little water can do a lot of damage.

Ventilate the area with an exhaust fan if possible to clear out the excess heat during the summer. Any simple timer can plug between the fan and the outlet anf only run during the hottest part of the day.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY.......
Cover, enclose or seal everything that can be damaged by insects and the elements. If storing clothes, fabric or such, vaccuum seal them in some of those cheap suction sealed bags that you can find about everywhere. Don't bother with the wooden or metal things.
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