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Articles
Useful Space: Attic Space Above a Garage

For so many homeowners, it seems that there is just never enough storage space, particularly in the garage. Garages seem to fill up so quickly with holiday decorations, bikes, mowers, and other lawn care equipment that it can become very easy to no longer have space for the car. If you feel as though you are running out of space in the garage, look up. Do you have attic space above the garage? If so, consider yourself very lucky, and consider using that space immediately.

Before putting anything in the garage attic space, you should inspect the attic for safety. Is the floor finished? Are there exposed wooden joists? If the joists are exposed and there is no flooring between them, putting boxes between them will likely result in the boxes falling through the flooring, so be careful. Take caution also when walking in the garage space – stay on the wooden joists, not in between. You will fall through.

Presuming that the joists are exposed, as they are in most attic spaces that are over garages, you will want to purchase wooden plants to go between the joists so that you can store boxes, etc. on top of them. In other words, plan to build a floor.

To do this, first measure the distance between the joists. Once you know how much space you’re talking about, you can go to the a lumber yard or construction store to purchase flat pieces of wood. It’s a good idea to speak to a professional about how much weight each of these wooden slabs can take, though.

Before actually beginning construction on your floor, you should check with your town to verify whether you will need any sort of permit to do the type of work you are planning to do. If a permit is required, fill out the necessary paperwork and pay the necessary fees.

Using the plywood sheets or wooden planks that you purchased, you may construct your floor using the exposed joists. You should make sure to leave at least a quarter of an inch of space between the flooring and the attic walls. As a general rule of thumb, 2.5 inch deck screws every eight inches or so on the joists will do the trick. When drilling, it’s important to make sure that you avoid any damage to plumbing pipes or electrical wiring.

With your floor completed, it’s time to move the items you are currently storing in your garage up into the attic space. Because the attic is not nearly as well traveled as the rest of the home, you may want to consider using plastic or metal boxes over cardboard. Cardboard is inefficient at keeping spiders and vermin out of the box.

Garages are more exposed to temperature than the rest of the house, since they are rarely insulated and are therefore not temperature controlled. For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep anything that would be affected by large temperature changes outside of the attic space.



 
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