What is the REAL Cost to Board a Loft For Storage?

Do you need extra storage space in your home?

The quickest and cheapest way to get extra space is to lay boards along the flooring joists in the loft.

While this work can be done DIY, it’s vital that the boards are lifted above the insulation in the loft.

If the new boards press down on the insulation, it will reduce their effectiveness and your home won’t be as energy efficient – in other words, badly installed loft boards can bump up your heating bills.

A very badly installed loft board floor can also disrupt the airflow from the roof vents, this can create problems with condensation – in other words, all your items stored in the loft will get wet in the winter.

While those with good DIY skills should be able to board out a loft without any issues, it’s not a job for a complete novice.

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How Much Does it Cost For a Pro to Install Loft Boards?

You have two options.

The first is to raise the height of the joists by screwing extra timbers to them and then laying boards over the top.

The photo below gives you an idea of what this project looks like:

Extra support is needed for the loft boards and they should also be raised above the insulation

The second option is to use something like this, there are several different products on the market but they all do the same thing:

These stilts are called Loft Legs and can be purchased from Amazon and other retailers online.

Below is our price guide for a 30 square metre loft which is an average size for the UK:

Project:Price:
Raised boards with Loft Legs or similar£26 - £28 per sq metre +VAT if applicable
Raised boards supported by timber subframe£23 - £25 per square metre + VAT if applicable

Which option is best for you?

We believe the Loft Legs are the best option as they raise the flooring slightly higher, this gives you more room to put in extra insulation if you need it.

The cost of 100mm “top up” insulation is around £10 +VAT per square metre installed. So for a typical loft of 30 square metres, that will cost you an extra £300.

While this may seem like an expensive extra, do remember that with more insulation your bills will go down, so you’ll get your investment back – eventually.

Other Extra Costs

There are several other items you may wish to purchase or upgrade to:

Install a pull-down aluminium ladder – £325 +VAT (may require changing the hatch to a “drop-down” hatch, see below)

Modify the hatch to allow for drop down – £100 +VAT

Relocating the loft hatch to a new location, price includes plaster repair to fill old hole – £225 +VAT

Light bulb and switch installed – £75 +VAT

Removal of obstructions in the loft such as old water tanks – £50+VAT (items to be left in garden and disposed of by customer)

Add shelving – if loft boards don’t give you enough room you could install some shelves in the loft to maximise the storage space available. Expect to pay around £15 – £17 per square metre of shelving.

On a Tight Budget? Try a Partial Board Out

If you’re on a limited budget, you could install loft boards to just one area or side of the loft.

Obviously, you’ll have less storage space but it could be a viable option depending on your needs.

Most homeowners would either install this system themselves using Loft Legs and flooring boards or they would use the services of a local handyman.

Specialist loft boarding businesses would be a better option for larger projects but they might not be interested in small projects with only a few square metres.

DIY Cost

The DIY cost to purchase and install Loft Legs and 2400mm x 600mm flooring sheets is about £17 per square metre.

So for a 30 square metre loft, the materials will cost you about £510 – you need quite a few loft legs to support the boards. hence the high cost.

You could use timber joists and 18mm ply but you would need to cut it down to size so it fits through the loft hatch. If you have the tools to do this, then this would be a cheaper option.

How Long Does it Take to Install Loft Boards?

A 30 square metre loft can be raised boarded in about three-quarters of a day. We assume two workers on the job and any extra work will extend the time required.

Loft Legs are a great invention but they take a long time to install as each one needs to be drilled and then screwed into place. Thus, Loft Leg installation will add an hour or two to the project.

Conclusion

While at first thought, loft boarding may seem like a cheap and quick task, the insulation above the ceiling means that the joists may need to be raised and that adds a lot of extra work to the project.

For a pro to install loft boards to raised joists, you’ll be looking at prices from £25 per square metre +VAT

Loft Legs, extra insulation, new loft hatches, ladders and lights etc will all add to the cost.

Our prices assume you instruct a specialist loft boarding firm to do the work. There are however plenty of “handymen” type tradespeople that can do this work and they’ll probably be trading below the VAT threshold so won’t charge you the extra 20% tax.

Be sure to read this guide to legally avoiding VAT in the UK.

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