How to Install an Attic Floor

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required
  • Hand saw
  • Mallet
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
Materials Required
  • 2x4 panels
  • 8D ring shank nails
  • Knee pads

Before You Begin

End Closet Clutter

This is how to install an attic floor. Most houses with attic space that has been floored over is designed to carry the weight of items stored there. Since this project is adding new flooring to the attic you should check that the attic floor joists or more importantly, the ceilings of the rooms below, to be sure they are strong enough to support the extra weight you plan to put up there. Generally if the ceiling joists are at least 2x6 boards spaced on 16-inch centers they will support a 4-by-8 foot storage pad. Ceiling joists of 2-by-8 or more will support larger storage pads. Two-by-four ceiling joists are too small to support attic storage.

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  • Step 1 : Measure and layout the space

    Determine how much storage area you can create in the attic based on what's most easily accessible from the stairs. Measure the floor space and figure the new storage area will be covered in 2-by-4-foot panels. If needed, you can cut them to fit using a hand saw.

  • Step 2 : Clear the space

    Clear the space

    Remove all boxes and items from the area so everything is cleared off the ceiling joists. Use one of the panels to kneel on and be careful not to put your foot through the ceiling below. The panels are small enough to fit easily through typical pull-down stairways leading to attic space.

  • Step 3 : Install the panels

    Install the panel

    Now you're ready to install an attic floor. Lay down the panels and fit them together by installing them perpendicular to the floor with adjacent rows staggered. Use a mallet to gently push the tongue-and-groove edges together.

  • Step 4 : Fasten with nails

    Fasten with nails

    Fasten the panels to the joists using 8D ring shank nails or 1 5/8-inch screws per joist. Sink the nail head below the surface with a nail set. The new area is ready for boxes and storage items.

    Illlustrations courtesy of Isobord Storage Bords