Roof storage

My wife loves decorations and after overflowing with storage boxes, I decided to do something about it, roof storage.

Roof storage or attics are uncommon in Australia. I assume it is to do with our low pitched roof space. In most places, we don’t have the issue of snow collecting on our roofs, so the pitch is lower. The low roof makes it difficult to move around.

Stairs

The first part of roof storage is the stairs.
My local hardware store sells a number of options of pre-made stairs. I picked up a timber set similar to this one https://www.bunnings.com.au/rhino-2-1-3-05m-aluminium-attic-ladder_p0860794 
It appears they no longer sell the timber model. I wonder if there is an issue with mine, or if they were just unpopular.

DSC00048The next part was to get into the cutting of the hole. This was easy using a plasterboard cutting saw. Getting the hole to the exact size was not needed as any slack would be covered with timber trim.

I had made a nice hole and got myself covered with dust. Right in the middle of the hole was a beam that needed to go. I was told that it is usually safe to cut through these small beams as they are there to hold the plasterboard rather than for structural strength. However, don’t go cutting through these if you are unsure, and definitely do not ever cut through the structural beams!

Before cutting through the beam, I started constructing a box out of similar sized pieces of timber. These were screwed between the existing beams and to either side of the timber to be cut. This box is what the frame of the stairs gets screwed into which also adds strength.

DSC00049After the box was in, and some extra screws were added, I started cutting. At this point, I was very nervous. As I cut through the timber I watched for any movement. I got all the way through without anything moving and cut through the other side.

Now was the difficult task of lifting the stairs in place. I used a rope over the beams to help with some of the weight, along with having my dad on the ladder below. We raised it into place and I quickly screwed it into place.

Ducting

IMG_0900Now I had stairs into the roof space, but there were big ducts in the way for the evaporative cooling. It was difficult to tell what size ducts are in the roof, so I measured and ordered a small length. Unfortunately, it was the wrong size. Lucky for me, the company allowed me to exchange them for the right size. Success, it fits! After some fumbling around standing on timber beams, I managed to move the pipes to the other side of some large timber beams creating a nice space for storage.

Flooring

I couldn’t go and put the boxes on the ceiling itself, as the plasterboard would not be able to handle this.

I started putting down some tongue and groove floorboards, nailing them to the beams. After a few, I realised that they were not going to be strong enough.

Back to the hardware store and I got some thick “yellow tongue” chipboard flooring. I measured the area, cut the board and dragged it up the latter.

It was at the top of the ladder, holding a 20kg board, that I realised I had missed something, the board would not fit into the hole as it hit the metal roof.

Somehow I managed to get it down, without falling down, cut the board in half, and went back up into the roof with it. This was much better and provided a much more sturdy flooring.

It is important to find out how much weight your roof can handle when putting in roof storage. There are guidelines but the key thing is, don’t go putting heavy things up there. The roof space is not designed to handle a heavy load. A structural engineer is the best person to get advice.

Skylight and Vent

Once I had storage, I needed light. I didn’t want to spend $150+ on getting a light installed by an electrician and I still needed a vent. I remembered seeing skylights that double as a vent. Again, my local hardware store provided the solution.

Windmaster 250mm Clear Turbobeam Whirly Bird
https://www.bunnings.com.au/windmaster-250mm-clear-turbobeam-whirly-bird_p0819184

Skylight and spinning vent. One product for two functions.

 

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