Attics are useful areas that have significant potential to become fully functioning living spaces. However, it needs to adhere to local building standards to maintain the safety and longevity of the newly converted loft. Due to the nature of the attic, knowing the best types of woods for attic floors is essential in creating a comfortable space year-round.

Various kinds of wood are used in construction, but only a select few can tolerate the unique conditions of attics. By selecting the right wood material for your attic floorboards, you can overcome the environmental challenges of the roof and enjoy a safe, aesthetic, and long-lasting renovation.

Key Considerations when Installing Attic Floors

Installation of new attic flooring requires several key considerations. Before such a project begins, a thorough inspection is performed to examine the overall condition of the roof space, its compatibility with conversion, and the best plywood for attic floor storage. Below is a quick summary of the critical considerations to remember when installing new attic floors:

The Joists

The joists are wooden panels spanning the entire space, providing structural integrity to the attic. Contractors will first look at the joists of your loft before deciding on the next step in the flooring installation plan.

  • Joists that measure 2×6 or 2×8 cannot support attic floorings, which means they must be replaced or reinforced.
  • Measure the distance between the centre of one joist and the centre of the one next to it. If you measure 41 to 61cm, you need to adjust the joists.

Total Square Footage

An important aspect when planning flooring installation is determining whether the attic has enough floor space. The required area size will depend on the attic conversion type (e.g., bedroom, office, storage). There must also be enough room for a staircase or ladder.

If you have plans to increase the square footage of your home, also consider the size of the roof. The Attic Building Codes and Standards require a minimum of 2.4 metres of floor-to-ceiling height for 60% of the roof space.

Insulation

Despite being the key to a more comfortable attic living space, insulation is overlooked when assessing flooring requirements. Attics are positioned at the very top of homes, making them susceptible to fluctuating temperatures, moisture, and dust accumulation. These three factors make insulation an indispensable component for lofts. Below are commonly used insulation for converted attic spaces and their respective R-values:

 

Material

R-value
Foam Boards

5-10

Rock Wool

4

Fibreglass

3-4

Cellulose

3.5

 

Types of Woods for Attic Floors

Material choice is pivotal in the environment and functionality of a converted attic. Homeowners typically ask, “What is the best wood for attic flooring?” The option will depend on the purpose of the conversion, whether it’s for storage only or as a fully functional living space like a bedroom or office.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood – often referred to as composite wood, human-made wood, manufactured board, or mass timber – is a new class of building products made by binding real pieces of scrap wood, wood fibres, or sawdust with adhesives.

There are different types of engineered wood used for attic floors:

  • Particleboard – Also called chipboard, it is made of panels similar to plywood. Made of chips, sawdust, and synthetic resins, particleboards are low-cost and applicable for attics with less foot traffic, such as attic storages. This type of engineered wood is not as durable as other types.
  • Oriented Strand Board – Shortened to OBS, oriented strand boards are made of long wood strands. This makes OBS more durable but costlier than particleboards.
  • Engineered Wood Flooring – Possesses a surface of natural wood veneer backed by layers of pressed wood fibres or plywood. This type of engineered wood is resistant to warping and won’t separate.

Tongue-and-Groove Softwood

Tongue-and-wood softwood attic flooring is made of interlocking panels that are easy and affordable to install. However, temperature fluctuations can cause them to contract and expand, resulting in the formation of gaps—this type of wood attic flooring benefits from enhanced insulation capable of combatting sudden changes in temperature.

Laminate Wood Flooring

If you ask contractors, “What flooring is best for an attic?” you’ll likely get laminate as the answer. The reason why is simple: it is durable, has increased strength and resistance, and is aesthetically pleasing. Laminate attic flooring imitates the appearance of genuine wood but can withstand scratches, moisture, and other factors that easily damage real timber.

Other Flooring Options

What kind of flooring for attic conversion is not made of wood?

Besides wood and wood composite materials, attics can use carpet and vinyl floors for conversions. These attic flooring options have qualities that are often not found on most wood and wood-adjacent floors.

Carpet Attic Floors

Carpets are easily one of the most affordable and practical flooring options for attics. Carpet attic flooring can provide insulation and an effective sound barrier, making it ideal for busy rooms like children’s playrooms. Unfortunately, carpets can degrade quickly over time.

Luxury Vinyl Plank

Another recommended flooring type for attics is luxury vinyl plank (LVP). LVP flooring is thicker than standard vinyl and is designed to mimic a variety of building materials, including stone, tiles, and wood. LVP floors are durable, waterproof, easy to install, and budget-friendly.

How Thick of Plywood for Attic Flooring?

Having wood floors is great for many attics. They are stylish and durable and can significantly increase the value of your home. However, when installing plywood panels for the floors, you need to consider the appropriate thickness.

“What thickness plywood for attic storage?” “Can I settle for 1/2 measurements for my attic bedroom conversion?” These are the questions people ask when planning how to floor an attic storage. There are two main factors when deciding the density of the plywood: the distance between the joists and the weight capacity.

Attics whose joists have 16-inch centres can manage 1/2 plywood for attic floor. This is considering that not much weight will be placed on the floors. This is the choice for attics used solely for light storage.

Meanwhile, 3/4 plywood for attic floor is the recommended dimension regardless of the joist centre measurements and weight requirements. While 1/2 plywood is cheap, the support of 3/4 plywood floors gives long-term cost savings by preventing premature damage.

Professional Attic Conversion by Attic Plus

Transforming your attic into a smarter storage space or a fully functioning living area requires the advice and expertise of professional converters. Flooring, in particular, is influenced by the overall attic conditions, your preference, and your available budget.

For cheap attic floor flooring ideas and quality, trusted conversion services, don’t hesitate to contact Attic Plus – one of Australia’s fastest-growing attic companies.

Types of Woods for Attic Floors Infographic Image