How to Build a Loft for a Small Shed
Storage space has been an issue for homeowners for a long time. Many find that building a loft in a small shed is one way to add more room for storage. While this may be a simple project for the woodworking homeowner, care should be taken regarding the weight limits of the loft built.
Explore the weight limits of 2-by-4s and 2-by-6s when they are stretched across the width of the shed.
Things You Will Need
- 3/4-inch plywood
- Skill saw
- Variable speed drill
- Phillips head screw tip
- 1 1/2-inch deck screws
- Joist hangers
- 2-by-4s for narrow shed
- 2-by-6s for sheds 6 feet and wider
Locate the studs in the walls in the area where the loft will be built. Measure and cut a piece of plywood the desired length of the loft. Be certain it is 8 inches wide.
Secure the plywood to the wall studs with the deck screws. Next, secure the 2-by-4 joist hangers to the plywood with the deck screws. Keep them within 12 to 16-inches of each other. (Use 2-by-6s if the shed is wider than 6 feet.)
Place the 2-by-4s into the joist hangers and secure them to the hangers with the deck screws. These become ceiling joists at this point. (Use 2-by-6s if the shed is wider than 6 feet.)
Measure out from the walls of the shed to the desired width of the storage area and make a mark. If using the entire width of the shed, divide the width by three and mark the joists accordingly.
Measure down from the rafters to the bottom of the ceiling joists and cut twice the number of joists used. These are for braces and will be used to strengthen the ceiling joists allowing for more weight.
Secure the braces to the rafters and the ceiling joists with the deck screws. Be certain the braces are plumb as this will give the maximum strength possible.
Measure and cut a piece of 3/4-inch plywood to fit on top of the ceiling joists in the desired storage area. Secure it to the ceiling joists with the deck screws.
Allow enough space from the end of the plywood to the door of the shed to see what is being stored in the loft. Placing the ceiling joists closer together can eliminate the need for plywood flooring.
Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children.
Do not build a loft that is lower than 84 inches to prevent injury.
Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.