Building a loft is a simple and straightforward project that you can undertake to utilize unused space above a garage. Depending on the height of your ceiling, you can free up hundreds of cubic feet for studio space or storage. Let’s get started.
Take into account how much space you have at your disposal. The perfect loft will be low enough that you can stand up straight while on top of it, and high enough that you don’t have to duck when you walk underneath. Keep this in mind when setting out to design your loft. Think about what your plans are for your loft space. Storing some snow sleds will require much less space than a full-blown garage studio.
If your garage ceiling is low hanging, it’s time to make some tough choices. Do you lose feet in the loft space, in the garage underneath, or split the difference between the two?
After your design is finished, the next step is to create the frame. Connect a 2×6 ledger board to the garage’s back wall with 1/2 or 3/8-inch lag bolts. Make sure to get a minimum of 2 inches into the wall stud, using a single bolt for each stud. Be careful not to tighten the bolts too much or you may strip the wood, resulting in a shaky frame.
Next, install the joists using heavy-duty joist hanger nails and standard joist hangers. Double check that you have the right nails for the job. If the joists stick out from the ledger board at a 90-degree angle, you’ll know you did it right. Attach the joists at 16-inches on center.
After you have framed your addition, install your floor. For a durable loft floor, go with CDX plywood, 3/4-inches thick, or another standard sub-floor material. Fix your floor to 4×4 posts running from the ceiling to the floor.
With a tape measure, find an equivalent distance between each of the posts. With an expansion anchor drilled into the floor, you can connect the posts to a concrete floor using metal post bases.
Using two 2×8 or 2×6 boards, construct a beam that runs between the ends of the garage loft. Bolt the beam to the 4×4 posts. The beam will provide support for the metal joist hangers, thereby supporting the opposite ends of the floor joists.
Metal angle irons with holes can be used to hold a pipe storage rack underneath your loft.
Add a staircase with a handrails for safety and guardrails along the edge of the loft to make sure nothing falls.
A rug and a few futon chairs can transform your loft into a game room or reading area.