Thinking of fitting solar panels with a battery in Warwickshire and Worcestershire? Why you’ll need loft boarding and good loft access

Having solar PV panels fitted used to be a rarity, but these days it is a common step for people wanting to bring down their energy bills and take a positive step in tackling climate change. Increasing numbers of households are pairing a solar PV system with battery storage so that they can harness green energy during the day and power their homes in the evening.

If you are planning to house the system’s inverter or battery in your loft, it is essential that you ensure safe and easy loft access. A job this week by our team in Bidford-On-Avon, Warwickshire, illustrated this perfectly.

Loft boarding for Solar PV battery in Bidford-On-Avon

The customer was having solar PV panels installed on the roof of his 3-bedroom semi-detached property. With a plan to store excess energy via a battery in the loft, he needed to ensure a safe and stable walkway for taking meter readings and servicing the system. He booked Stu’s Loft Ladders to board the loft, ahead of installation to ensure that the job could be carried out safely. 

Before we boarded the loft

Creating a larger loft opening

As a further requirement, we were asked to move the existing loft hatch, which was too small to accommodate the battery. We boarded and plastered up the existing hatch and created a new, larger loft opening in one of the bedrooms.

Strengthening the loft structure

Concerned about the weight of the battery, the customer also requested that we increase the load bearing capacity in the loft, which we did by adding timbers to strengthen the structure. 

“If you are thinking about solar PV systems, then you will need to ensure good loft access, with a stable walkway and a fixed ladder,” explains Stuart Dyson of Stu’s Loft Ladders. “It is not a large cost compared to the system itself, but one that people need to factor in when thinking about the total project cost. You may also need to look at enlarging the loft opening itself.”

For advice and a no-obligation quote, contact us now through the website or call 07712 327889.

Can you board the loft of an older or period property? A popular question in Warwickshire and Worcestershire!

New build to Victorian or even older, we have boarded properties from all these ages of construction. In fact, the oldest loft we have boarded was in a 300-year-old cottage for a customer who was delighted with the space we created for her.

Loft boarding must accommodate the quirks of an older property

Boarding an older property is not without its challenges. The older the property, the bigger the challenges, but they can all be overcome.

Visit a modern housing development and you will see rows of houses built to repeated designs. Older properties come in all shapes and sizes, with extensions and add-ons over the decades or centuries that have changed the shape of the roof space. Joists may be in awkward spaces and often there are water tanks, old pipes and other obstacles to work around. In these cases, boarding may take longer than usual as each board must be cut to accommodate the quirks and angles of the building.

Raised loft boarding can protect timbers and allow for increased insulation

Whilst owners of new-build properties are very cautious about any boarding method that might invalidate their NHBC warranty, owners of period properties should also think about protecting roof timbers. Condensation may be an issue, and we might suggest raising the level of the boarding to protect the timbers or allow for additional insulation. Insulation is important as older buildings may not be as heat efficient and existing insulation may not meet current regulations. When quoting, we would look at the head room in the loft. If this were an issue, and we needed to raise the boarding, we might advise sticking to boarding a central section.

Fitting a new loft hatch can radically improve heat retention

In an older property, the loft opening might not be in the right position, possibly under the shallowest part of the roof line.  We can move the loft opening entirely or change its orientation. In addition, fitting a new loft hatch can radically reduce draughts and improve heat retention on the floor below.

This is where you will get the benefit of employing a professional loft improvement company. We have been boarding lofts and fitting loft ladders for more than a decade in Warwickshire and Worcestershire, and in that time have boarded thousands of older and period properties. We are always happy to talk through the installation when quoting. Contact us now or visit our Facebook page to see photos of our recent work.

Does boarding your loft add value to your home in Worcestershire and Warwickshire?

When planning any home improvement, most of us want to know if the outlay will be worth it in terms of property value.

The important thing to point out is that loft improvements, such as boarding and fitting a fixed ladder, are not the same as a loft conversion. By boarding you are not creating habitable space, even if you install lighting or a window. Loft conversions have to abide by building regulations and therefore are in a different category.

Loft boarding = useable space

However, whilst boarding the loft might not count towards the overall floorspace of the property in estate agent terms, it does give you useable space and makes your home more attractive to potential buyers.

Additional selling point

Boarding the loft is a job most people like to have done and is an additional selling point, particularly over a similar property which does not offer it.

Showcase features

Furthermore, boarding the loft enables you to declutter living areas, creating the illusion of more space when showcasing rooms in marketing materials. If a house looks too busy with belongings, estate agents will often advise the seller to move some items to storage to better showcase their property. Desirable features such as fireplaces and windows stand out more when there is not so much clutter detracting from them.

Perhaps the greatest bonus of loft boarding is that you will have the benefit of it whilst you live in the property. It is very common for homeowners to prepare their home to sell by decluttering and decorating only to fall in love with it all over again. Having storage space creates room to rethink and play with how you use the living areas. 

Loft boarding might be cheaper than you think

As with most things in life, the answer to whether improving the loft adds value is multifaceted. It is unlikely to be a job that you will regret having done as it might be better value than you think.  Contact us now for a quotation.

How negative space is a design positive for your home – creating calm interiors by boarding lofts in Warwickshire and Worcestershire

Now that we can have friends round again, we may be looking at our homes with fresh eyes. Suddenly the piles of paperwork on the kitchen counter or overflowing bookshelves seem untidy. You may want your home to look more like the examples you see online – more inspirational and less, well, lived in!

Whilst we need to be realistic about how busy homes actually look compared to publicity shots, there is a professional design technique that we can copy to give our interiors the wow factor – the creation of negative space.

Negative space features in all design disciplines, from graphics to architecture and involves creating an empty area to better emphasise certain features. It may be that you have a gorgeous armchair hidden behind a coffee table piled high with magazines or in-front of a busy shelving unit. By taking out the surrounding visual distractions, the eye will be drawn to the shape of the chair making it a central feature of your design. The same might be true for a picture you love, or a light fixture – by imitating the techniques of the professionals you can create impact with the items you really love.

Negative space not only draws the eye to certain features in our home, but can also create a calm and harmonious space. If not every square inch is taken up with possessions, there is mentally room to breath and a sense of order in busy lives. 

Loft Boarding Installation
Think of what you could store when you create space like this

Of course we are going to suggest that loft storage is the answer as boarding lofts and fitting loft ladders is our stock-in-trade. Genuinely, we hear time and again from customers who have fallen back in love with their homes by creating proper storage. Suddenly there is an accessible place to put the items that they don’t want cluttering up their living areas. Sometimes this can be keeping a few favourite ornaments on shelves whilst storing the rest, or putting CD collections that have been digitised out of sight. After all, we don’t always want to part with items or need a “holding bay”until we are sure.

So if the lifting of restrictions and the prospect of visitors is making you reappraise your home, then give us a call. We are always happy to provide a no-obligation quote so you can see what good value boarding the loft provides. Contact us now.

Wooden or aluminium loft ladder – Stratford and Chipping Campden jobs show that the right choice depends on the customer

We are often asked by customers which ladder they should go for.  Without wishing to sound non-committal, we can honestly say that it depends on the job! Two recent installations in the same week show that, whilst timber is right for one customer, aluminium is perfect for another.

Wooden ladder for comfort and aesthetics in Stratford-upon-Avon

Customers choose wooden loft ladders for strength, durability and the way they look. Aesthetics aside,  if you are going to be carrying heavy boxes up to the loft then a timber ladder is able to bear the extra weight you will be handling. For these reasons, our customer last week in Stratford-upon-Avon chose a wooden ladder.

You will see on the photo that this ladder stows in three sections within the loft hatch so that no extra clearance or loft space is required. We only use trade quality ladders, so unfolding and refolding is a cinch. Our timber ladders also feature wide comfortable treads – this can be an important consideration, particularly for older customers or those who may be negotiating awkward bulky items into the loft.

Light and easy to manoeuvre – aluminium ladder is right choice in Chipping Campden

If space is tight or the ladder is for light use, then aluminium is the way to go. The owner of this four-bedroom new build detached home did not need to carry heavy items up to the loft and chose aluminium as the best value option.

Aluminium loft ladders also offer the advantage of being light, making them easy to manoeuvre in and out of position. For some customers, this is an important consideration.