Placing flooring in your attic offers a unique set of challenges that you won’t face anywhere else in your home. It’s often a good decision, though, because the attic makes a great place to store items that don’t fit elsewhere. Because of its special location in the house and the unusual needs it will have, it’s important that before you begin flooring your attic, you know what you’re getting yourself into.
First of all, familiarize yourself with your flooring options. The attic is no place to be laying tile! Because it is in a precarious position relative to the rest of your house, the attic will need to be floored with the lightest material possible. For unfinished attics, most homeowners’ material of choice is plywood. It can sometimes be difficult to move large plywood sheets into a small attic space, so dimensional lumber is a good second option. If you’re finishing your attic, you’ll still need to first put down a plywood or lumber base– once this is done, consider using carpet as your flooring solution. This will reduce noise throughout the top floor, which can become a disturbance to those in the rest of the house. Carpet is a superior choice to other options like wood because of the typical attic environment. There will likely be some amount of moisture present, and this can cause damage to wood flooring.
When you’re installing your plywood or lumber floor, be sure to secure the boards to the joists with strong screws. The last thing you want is a shifting floor underfoot. Screws are a better choice than nails because they can be easily removed if you ever need to reach the ceiling under the boards.
Begin laying the wood from the center of the room rather than from a corner. It may sound counterintuitive, but you’ll actually make more efficient use of the wood if you do it this way. When you’re done, install trim strips at the edge of the plywood (or along the wall, if you’re flooring the entire attic) to pull the whole look together. If you’re toying with the idea of flooring an unfinished attic, don’t feel like you have to floor the whole thing at once! If your budget is tight, consider putting in wood in just part of the attic for now, seeing if it’s a solution that works for you, and adding more later if needed.