When it comes to determining the extent to which an attic in a home can be used for storage, it is important to consider the style of the home. The best uses of space are often found in homes that were built in the Victorian style as well as the pre-1970s Colonial homes. This is because these style homes have the steepest pitched roofs, underneath which the storage space is found. When it comes to the least amount of storage space, we find two-story homes that are newer, as well as ranch-style homes. This is because these styles of houses use roof trusses that will compromise the pitch of the roof. When a newer style home is built using these trusses, there will usually be only a small crawlspace that can be used for storage.
Even though Cape Cod homes and bungalow-style homes do not have traditional attic or third story storage space, they still have opportunities for second-story storage space. The area that is created where the roof extends beyond the dominant roofline is called a shed dormer. If these spaces are utilized in the right manner, they can provide as much space as a large closet or a small room.
Also, in these types of homes, we find many cases of storage alleys that are quite common. These are known as knee-walls, and they run along the exterior wall. They are found here, beneath the dormer, and a homeowner will access this space by use of a small door that is cut into it. The problem with these spaces, however, is that the ceiling is angled so steeply that there is little or no headroom. Even with this drawback, a homeowner can use these spaces to stack shelves or to put boxes in. A homeowner can also construct a shed dormer with the intent of lessening the way a ceiling slope and making the storage capabilities of a room much greater.
Safety Concerns when it comes to Storage
When it comes to storage, it is important to keep in mind that no room is suitable for storage unless it has proper ventilation. It also must be insulated. Both of these things must be present to create ideal areas for storage. Ventilation and insulation will work to prevent humidity and to keep temperatures at a level for which storage is ideal. During the winter and the summer, it is important that you keep these factors in mind, as it is usually in these drastic months that changes in temperatures will damage the items you are storing.
If you are looking to store goods that are not affected by temperature, you can use an uninsulated attic. However, all attic storerooms should be properly ventilated. This will prevent excesses in heat and humidity build-up. This isn’t something that a homeowner has to create, because it can be created naturally. When vents are put into the storage space, natural ventilation occurs. Cool air will enter the attic by the way of the vents that a homeowner has installed near the eaves. The vents in or around the roof area will allow hotter air to escape, and this will create warm-air convection.
If a homeowner wishes, they can create a ventilation system using an electric fan. These types of mechanical ventilation systems will bring fresh air in and suck out the stale air. Fans like this will operate automatically whenever the temperature in an attic or storage space will reach 100 degrees. These ventilation systems are good things to have, however, a homeowner should be sure that they also install a firestat (check on Amazon), or an automatic shutoff feature, which will help to ensure that the fan operates without danger of fire. It is important to have this feature because many times house fires are caused by the attic fans, which will fuel the fire. A shutoff sensor will kick in whenever a temperature increases dramatically. This will make sure that the fan shuts off in the event of a house fire, and it will not make the fire any worse. It will also help to make sure that the fan does not contribute to the fire.
The reason that insulation is important when it comes to an attic storage room is that it acts as a buffer by changing the rates of the heat transfers between the second story and the attic in a home. Most o the time, there is already insulation between the floor joists, but if you are going to use the attic for long term storage, it is important that you add insulation to the attic. When it comes to insulation, it is rated for efficiency. This is called the R-value, and you should take care that you tailor the insulation rates to the needs for your storage space in the region where your home is. In most climates, a big concern as far as insulation goes is moisture. If you want to make sure that your home does not have a problem with moisture, some ways to get rid of it are vapor barriers, air space, or venting the attic space.
It is also important to remember that in order to have a fully-functioning storage space, the ceiling joists above the second story must be built so that they can sustain the weight of whatever you are storing in the attic. You can install a floor if there isn’t one already, but make sure that you make the floor and the joists strong enough. If you can only get into your attic from a hatch in the ceiling, it will become important to install a staircase or a fold-down ladder.
Using the Space in your attic
Because of the interesting architecture of an attic, there are many options for wall storage. The fact that the walls are gabled means that there is a large surface area, on which a homeowner can build shelves or cabinets. You can also make knee walls by using the under-eave wall space. The knee wall is constructed by building out from the exterior wall and cutting off the angular slopes of the eaves. These walls can provide shelf spaces or areas to store boxes that cannot be seen from the main room. You can either put shelves on the exterior wall, or you can even hang a wardrobe bag from the rafter beams. You can hang shelves or compartments from these rafters as well to store smaller goods.
Keep in mind, when organizing the attic, that heavy boxes should not be stacked on top of furniture. This will weaken the furniture joints. If there are many boxes stacked, it will be difficult to check for animals or other things that aren’t supposed to be in there. You should always create a map of inventory for your storage space, no matter what size or where it is located.