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Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement
Attics can serve as a great storage area under proper
conditions. Certain homes offer excellent attic space, while others
provide dormers, alleys, small crawl spaces or no space at all.
Newer homes usually offer the least amount of attic space. However,
before you can even think of using your attic space for storage, you
must first consider proper ventilation and insulation.
Ventilation and insulation are essential for providing a dry space
with consistent temperatures. Without these two features, the high
levels of humidity that form in attic spaces will make it an unsafe
space for storing items. However, it is possible to store items that
are not affected by changes in temperature in the attic without
proper insulation. Ventilation is a must have either way though.
If your attic is equipped with the necessary vents, ventilation can
happen naturally. Cool air will enter through the vents located near
the eaves and warm air will escape through convection in or around
the roof. You can also ventilate the attic with electrical fans.
Electric attic fans are used to draw in cool air and suck out warm
air. When the attic reaches a certain temperature, usually 100
degrees, the fan will automatically start working. It is always a
good idea to check for fire stat or automatic shutoff features with
electric fans because such devices can trigger off attic fires.
Insulation provides a barrier between the interior of your home and
the natural elements. The main reason for insulation in the attic is
to lessen the transfer of heat from the main floor to the upper
levels. For this reason, attics should be insulated between floor
joists. Long term storage may require additional insulation.
Insulation is rated with its R-value. Higher R-values represent
better insulation and greater resistance to heat flow.
Aside from proper ventilation and insulation, you will also want to
consider the ceiling joists and attic access. If you do not have
ceiling joists that can handle a weight-bearing floor than you will
not be able to safely use this area for storage. You can always
install a floor, but you will need to make some adjustments to the
joists. Also, if you do not have a staircase leading to your attic,
you may want to consider constructing a fixed staircase or
installing a fold-down ladder.
During the storage process take these suggestions into mind:
• Consider constructing a knee-wall with the under eave wall space.
They are great for providing a level shelf space to support boxes.
Also, shelving can be added to this space.
• Consider installing hanging shelves from the rafters.
• Refrain from stacking boxes. Not only will stacking weaken the
furniture joints, but it also makes it harder to search for pests
and hidden damage to your structure or wiring.
• Always check for proper ventilation. Make sure vents are
functioning correctly and if you use an electric attic fan, make
regular checks to make sure it is turning on and off when its