A garage storage loft can add a great deal of usability to your garage because it makes use of what is otherwise wasted space above the hood of your car. The average storage loft is five or six feet deep and runs across the back wall of the garage at a height that easily clears your cars’ hood and windshield.
If your garage ceiling is fairly high (e.g. nine or ten feet) this simple addition can give you a huge amount of safe, dry storage space. In this article, we discuss the construction of garage storage lofts. Read on to learn more (+ videos below).
What You'll Learn Today
- Garage Storage Loft Q&A
- Is it hard to build a garage storage loft?
- How high should a garage storage loft be?
- How do you secure a garage storage loft?
- How do you provide support under the loft?
- Is support under the loft necessary?
- What’s the best way to access a garage storage loft?
- Manage Your Storage For Safety And Efficiency
Garage Storage Loft Q&A
Is it hard to build a garage storage loft?
The level of difficulty depends a great deal on the type of loft you decide to build. Basically, you would construct a garage storage loft the same way you would a deck with a few modifications.
When you build a deck, it’s normal to place the deck joists on the same plane as the house’s ledger board. Sometimes the joists even rest on this beam.
This isn’t a good idea for a garage loft, though. Doing it this way reduces the amount of head room you have under the beam. Instead, you should use joist hangers to secure the ends of each joist.
How high should a garage storage loft be?
In an ideal situation, you can build a loft that is high enough to allow you to walk under it easily. If you have enough height, you can add to your loft’s storage space by constructing a pipe storage rack underneath, using angle irons with holes.
Even if you are not able to get this amount of convenient height, though, it is well worth it to go ahead and build your loft. The amount of storage space and use you’ll gain will make it well worth the minor inconvenience of having to duck under it from time to time.
How do you secure a garage storage loft?
Once you’ve got the height marked on your garage‘s rear wall, you can install a 2X6 ledger board, using lag bolts (3/8 or ½ inch diameter).
You want to make certain that this board is securely installed, so the bolts should penetrate a minimum of two inches into wall studs. Take care not to tighten them too much because this might strip the wood and weaken the connection.
Next, use standard joist hangers and heavy duty joist hanger nails (not roofing nails) to install loft joists sixteen inches on center. They should project from the ledger at a ninety degree angle.
How do you provide support under the loft?
Support the floor joists with metal joist hanger attached to a sturdy beam running between the loft’s two front corners. This support beam can be made by doubling up a pair of 2x6s or a pair of 2x8s, depending upon the spacing between your 4×4 support posts. If there is a space larger than eight feet, you should use 2x8s.
Use 4×4 posts, running from floor to ceiling to support the structure. These should be securely bolted to the structure using through bolts (heavy duty bolts with threaded ends, nuts and washers) and secured to the concrete garage floor using metal post bases and expansion anchors.
Naturally, you’ll want to be cognizant of the normal positioning of your car when you place your support posts. You don’t want them to be in the way.
Is support under the loft necessary?
While you may be tempted to simply hang your loft from the garage roof, this is probably not a good idea because the roof is unlikely to have been designed to bear any significant load.
Always keep in mind that your loft may end up holding an awful lot of weight, and your garage was not really built to accommodate this.
That’s why you have to be sure you have ample support under your loft. Don’t count on the structure of the building to support it. If you are uncertain, or if you want to build an unusually large loft, get advice and help from a skilled carpenter.
What’s the best way to access a garage storage loft?
If you have enough space in your garage, you could build a staircase along one side wall for safe, easy access. If you don’t mind climbing up and down a ladder, you can simply use a strong, safe ladder to access your loft.
Be sure to use a ladder that reaches all the way into the loft, not a step ladder. Balancing on top of a step ladder is never recommended, and if you are stepping off and onto the ladder while carrying items in and out of storage, you’re just asking for trouble.
Garage Loft Storage Ideas
Manage Your Storage For Safety And Efficiency
Even if you are not able to make a loft that allows you to stand and move things about, you can still make one that provides you a lot of extra storage space. You can make the most of this storage space through careful management.
Generally speaking, it’s smart to use your garage loft to store off season items and equipment. With this arrangement, you can pretty well plan on going into the loft once each season to swap out storage.
Place items for storage in the loft in the safest and most logical manner. Because support will be strongest in the back (due to the ledger board) place heavier items near the rear of your loft.
DIY Overhead Garage Storage For $100
Don’t put all the heavy items in one place, though. Distribute them evenly across the rear of the loft, leaving space at the front of the loft for items you may need between seasons, such as hand tools, yard and garden tools and the like.