Boarding out the loft is a good DIY job because, with the right equipment and tools, it is relatively simple to do. Once you have your basic OSB Loft Boards, a few basic tools and some protective gear, you are ready to go. Let’s look at how to board a loft.
The first step is always preparation, and, in this case, that means having some protective equipment alongside the boards and tools. That’s because there’s likely insulation in the loft and those fibres can be dangerous. A dust mask, gloves and probably disposable overalls would be best.
Next, you need to assess the depth of the loft insulation. This needs to be at least 270mm as per current government recommendations to ensure it insulates the property correctly. You want to avoid squashing it as this can reduce its effectiveness.
Measuring the loft
The final preparation step is to measure up. You will need the width by the length of the loft and also the gap between trusses or joints. Then you will need to start buying the loft panels and also the legs to lift them over the insulation (that’s where that insulation depth comes in).
Installing the loft boards
Before you start to lay the boards, check for ventilation and make sure this isn’t going to be obstructed by where you place the boards.
Peel back the insulation and install the legs or other support you are using to lift the loft boards over it. Aim to have the legs on the joints of the boards and use a string line to make sure they are in the same place. Place the next one so the first and second boards ‘share’ the leg.
Adding the boards
Once the legs or supports are in place, you are ready to put the insulation back and start with the boards.Start with the first board and secure in place along the back edge. Then lay the next board and secure the two together into the leg or support. Make sure that boards run perpendicular to any trusses or joists in the roof. Continue to lay boards until you have completed a row then start the next section and repeat.
Why are legs or supports needed?
You need some way to raise the boards over the insulation for two reasons. One is as mentioned – squashed insulation doesn’t work as well. The second is that if the boards are tight on the insulation, it can cause interstitial condensation where moisture builds on the underside of the boards and causes damp.
If there is any wiring in the loft, this will need to be handled. It is best to use wire clips to attach it to the top of the boards where possible so that the wires can be seen. Also, this keeps it away from the insulation and reduces the remote chance of a fire.
If there are any light fixture fittings visible, it is worth creating a section of the board that can be lifted to gain access to these in case of any problems. If they are recessed types, you may want to add a heat diffuser to separate them from the insulation as these can build up quite a lot of heat.