Cutting an Opening for Attic Storage Space
LESLIE: Ruth in Arkansas has a question about an attic. What can we do for you today?
RUTH: We built our house a couple of years ago and we have a sheetrock ceiling. And we failed to have an opening for an attic and I feel like we’re losing storage space.
TOM: When you built your roof, do you know then if it was stick-built or is it built with trusses?
RUTH: It’s trusses.
TOM: It’s trusses. OK. And do you know if they’re attic trusses?
TOM: OK, do you know what an attic truss is, Ruth? It has a flat area for storage where you can put boards and create like a floor. It’s a special kind of truss.
RUTH: Oh, OK. Well, it is flat on top. [You know what I mean] (ph).
TOM: Alright, let me explain this to you. You can put an opening in by cutting the sheetrock under two of the trusses; they’re probably 24 inches apart. And so you can cut the drywall out into the size that you need for the opening. It depends on whether you’re putting a hatch or a staircase. But you would cut it to fit whatever type of opening you want.
But the issue is that, with respect to the trusses, you can’t cut any of the pieces of the trusses away because they’re designed to work as one, continuous unit. And if you cut any piece of that truss, you’re going to make the roof structure weak. So you may not have storage up there, is what I’m telling you, unless you have a specially-designed attic truss which has a flat floor section sort of built into it that you can put some plywood down and some storage.
If your builder did not provide an attic truss with room for storage, you’re not going to be able to create it now. That attic may not be storable.
RUTH: OK. I’ll have to check with my contractor for sure, that put the trusses in.
TOM: Good. That’s a good place to start.
RUTH: Yes. OK, well thank you so much.
TOM: Alright, Ruth. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.