Most homeowners have at some point thought, “Should I use my attic for storage?” It’s an enticing prospect—after all, unused space is right there in your home. However, many experts, including roofers, would suggest caution.
The attic may not be the perfect storage solution it appears to be at first glance. If you’re considering using the attic space for storage, there are several key considerations you need to keep in mind.
Does the Attic Have Safe Access?
One of the first things to consider before you start loading stuff into your attic is the issue of access. A reliable attic ladder is a must, as it can make accessing the attic easy and safe. An attic adder easily attaches to an attic access door and unfolds or folds up effortlessly when the door is operated.
Check the Roof for Leaks
Turning your attic into a storage space starts with ensuring the structural integrity of your roof. Persistent leaks or moisture infiltration can cause serious problems with your home and whatever you store in your attic.
Inspect your attic for any visible signs of water entry, like water stains, damp patches, or bubbling paint. Leaks often form around chimneys, skylights, or other protrusions which need sealing against the elements.
Also, don’t forget to check for condensation. It can build up in an unfinished attic, particularly around areas with ventilation or ductwork. Moisture condensing from moist air from your bathroom or kitchen vents can be just as damaging as a leak, potentially leading to mold and mildew.
A dry attic is essential for a safe storage area. If you detect any signs of leaks or moisture, address these issues promptly. You may need to enlist the help of a professional roofer to ensure leaks are fixed properly.
Check the Floor Framing for Structural Safety
Turning your attic into a clean, safe storage area requires more than just clearing out old junk. You must check the structural soundness of your attic floor, which also serves as the ceiling for the room below.
The attic joists are designed to support the ceiling underneath, so be sure to only step on them when moving around the attic. The spaces between joists are often filled with insulation and cannot bear weight at all.
Consider reinforcing your attic floor if you plan to use your attic as a storage space. One way to do this is by adding a layer of plywood over the joists. This can help distribute the weight of stored items more evenly across the joists, reducing the risk of damage. Always use screws rather than nails to avoid damaging the ceiling below.
Before you start making structural modifications to your attic, consult with a structural engineer or building professional. They can assess your home’s specific needs and ensure any changes meet local building codes.
Make Sure There are no Rodent Infestations
Before you start storing items in the attic, ensure it’s not already occupied – by pests. Rodents love the dark, quiet seclusion of attics, and an infestation can harm stored items and pose health risks.
Signs You’ve Got Rodents in Your Attic
Signs of rodents in your attic can range from visible droppings, gnawed items, or shredded insulation to noises such as scratching or scurrying sounds. If you find signs of rodents, addressing the issue promptly is essential to prevent further damage.
Get Help with Professional Rodent Removal and Cleanup
Consider a professional rodent clean-up and prevention service if you suspect your attic is infested with pests. Trained experts can help with safe and effective rodent removal. They can also guide you on cleaning up afterward, which is important to eliminate any lingering health risks from droppings or urine.
The temperatures in an unfinished attic are extreme compared to the outside and the living spaces underneath because they are outside the home’s “thermal envelope.” Most attics can get exceptionally hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. Items stored under these conditions won’t fare well over the years.
Before using your attic for storage, consider what items you plan to store. Anything temperature-sensitive, like electronics or items that can warp, melt, or freeze, should be kept out of the attic. Additionally, dampness can be an issue in an attic, so avoid storing items that could be damaged by high humidity levels. For example, fabrics can absorb moisture and develop mold and mildew. Paper can also age rapidly when exposed to attic conditions.
Maximizing Attic Storage Space
Having decided to use your attic as storage, let’s look at some attic storage ideas to maximize its efficiency.
Make it Easy to Access
The ease of access is crucial in any storage space. As mentioned earlier, consider installing an attic ladder for safe and comfortable reach to your attic.
Rodent Proof the Attic
Keep the pests out by sealing any potential entrances, keeping the area clean, and using rodent deterrents. Regular inspections for signs of infestation can also help keep the problem in check.
Use Clear Storage Bins
Clear storage bins allow you to see what’s inside without opening them. It can make locating your items much easier. These bins can also be stacked, maximizing floor space.
In addition to using clear bins, labeling each box will make it easier to find what you need. No more rummaging through multiple boxes to find that one item.
Vacuum Seal Clothing
Vacuum sealing can greatly reduce the space needed for storing clothes and linens. It also offers protection against moisture, pests, and dust.
Insulating your attic makes it more energy efficient and can help regulate the temperature, making it more suitable for storage.
Keep Holiday Ornaments Organized
Use dedicated ornament boxes or create your own from used boxes. Labeling these can help you locate the right holiday decorations quickly during the holiday season.
Install an Attic Fan
An attic fan can help control the attic’s temperature and humidity levels, making it a more suitable place for storage.
Storing items in the attic can be a great way to free up space in your home. Just make sure to carefully consider what you plan to store there and take necessary precautions to protect both your belongings and your home’s structure.
If you need a professional attic clean-up service, don’t hesitate to contact Attic Pros. They offer top-notch services to make your attic a perfect storage space.