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How can I go about adding a loft to my storage shed?

I recently purchased a 10 x 14 storage shed, with a 10.5 ft high gambel roof. I would like to add a loft to cover pretty much the entire area inside except for where the door opening is (which would is 6'L x 3' or 4' deep). I was hoping someone could give me an idea of how I can go about doing this? I'm a handy do-it-yourselfer... just never attempted anything like this.

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Posted 2011-01-23T15:32:13+0000  by adicrosta adicrosta

 HI, and welcome to the community.


   There are a couple of key questions to ask before moving ahead on this project. What will the space be used for: simple storage of boxes and items or moving about (living space)?


   If the need is only for storage and not for walking on, then the solution is a relatively simple. Just mount a 2x4 support on either side of the shed (at the height you need) by nailing into the wall studs or header. Connect 2x6 support beams from either side and nail down 3/4 inch plywood or pressboard.

                    Plywood - 1-3945.jpg               pressboard_texture.jpg




   If, however you will be walking on the structure, then I recommend instead of 2x4's on the sides - use 2x8's.

Shore those up on all four corners with a 4x4 beam for extra support. Use 2x10's as your support joists and place spacers between them running at the mid section. Depending on the amount of weight that the loft will be holding, you might want to install a couple more 4x4's in the middle.




I hope this helps you out with your plans. Stay safe, be wise and post pictures - we love pictures.



Posted 2011-01-23T18:19:57+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL

It will be used for storage only, but I would need to crawl around up there to move things around.

Would it still be ok to go with the 2x4 and 2x6 option?

And what would be the best way to secure the 2x6 support beams?

Posted 2011-01-26T15:26:50+0000  by adicrosta

Hello adicrosta,


To answer the post that PaintPro has already given, I would go to plan exactly as he stated to use since 2x4's would be risky if you were to it support your own weight up there, even if you were just dropping off boxes. As for the supports, we sell Simpson supports in our stores and they come in any different shapes and sizes, depending on what type of dimensional lumber you choose to put and place. Here are some samples of the product below.  Come down to your local store and our associates in the lumber and/or Pro Sales department will be more than happy to give you the proper supplies. Start out with telling them about your sizes:10 x 14 storage shed, with a 10.5 ft high gambel roof. Also let them know about what clearance you want away from the door but still get as much maximum space as necessary. Also, they can give you a list of products and accessories to use for your project.

tie strap.JPG

Posted 2011-02-01T19:48:25+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Hi! I am in the planning stages of building a 9x12 gambrel shed with a loft, and this post has a lot of relevance for my plans. In my case, however, supporting the loft below the top plate doesn't work; it interferes with windows and doors, and makes the overall shed too high. I plan on supporting the loft on the doubled top plate of my 6'3'' sidewalls (my husband is 6'2 and I want him to be able to walk under the rafters without knocking his hat off ;-) ) with  2x6s every 16", bolted to the gambrel trusses & bevelled to accomodate the angle of the roof.


However, 2x6's steal a couple inches of space from the loft; it's  going to be used as a playspace for children. I'd like to reduce the number of bumped heads while keeping it structurally sound. In other lofts such as I am planning, I've seen doubled, bolted together,  2x4's used instead of 2x6s. What is your opinion of the strength comparison between 2x6s and doubled 2x4s? Which is stronger?


Thanks, KH

Posted 2011-04-04T22:16:09+0000  by KayH

Hi there KayH and welcome to the community!


KayH, your husband is 6.2" and you are planning on raising a loft floor to a 6.3”?

I'd give him at least one more inch? :smileyhappy:


Double 2x4's instead of 2x6's?


Looking at the numbers two 2x4's joined together are stronger than one 2x6 joist but in practice bolting two 2x4s would actually reduce their bending limits.

In other words 2x4s are only 3-1/2” high and bolting them in the middle would split that on half.

This could be solved by staggering bolts but again being only 3-1/2 high there is really not enough room to do so.


That’s why there are limits when it comes to mechanical opening sizes you can be cutting in the floor joists.


I would recommend going with 2x6" every 12" on center, 2x6; 12" O.C at the 9' span would give you a 40lb of live load per square foot and 10 lbs of dead load per square foot with deflection limit of L240.


These numbers are for the #2BTR southern pine which we stock in our stores.

You can check these numbers yourself by visiting American Wood Council website and using a Maximum Span Calculator app.


Also please take a minute and read a  LIMITS OF USE.


And finally I would strongly recommend using a 23/32" or a 3/4" APA approved plywood for the floor sheathing being that above numbers only apply when used within.


Hope this helps.


Posted 2011-04-05T15:16:15+0000  by George_HD_CHI

Hi, and thanks for the welcome, George! That was a wealth of information and I did look at the info provided. I'm sure I'll have more questions as I go along in my plan.


Well, I didn't say I wanted to let my husband get all _comfortable_ out there; this shed is a studio for ME! :womanvery-happy: But I relented and in the plan I was drawing up last night, between the double top and bottom plates the height of the loft rafters comes in about 6'4  1/2 ".


That information on the doubled 2x4s vs. 2x6's was exactly what I needed to know.  I did not know putting a bolt through a joist would reduce its strength. Does that still apply if the bolts are only at the ends, where (they would be) attached to the gambrel rafters? (All resting on and secured to the top plate of course.)


The 2x6s every 12" would certainly support more load, but -- I'm wincing as I say this, as I know it's the lesser consideration -- it's going to look bad when the studs are 16" OC. And I hoped to have the loft rafters adding rigidity to the structure when attached to the gambrels. I'm afraid my technical knowledge amounts to a handy, can-do attitude and a stay in a Holiday In Express last night, so the load info was somewhat over my head... I need the loft to support 3 to 4 ~ 100lb giggling pre-teens. Am I there with 16'' oc loft joists? I will do the 12"oc if I must.


Forgive the many questions. As I'm still in the drawing stage I can change anything easily and I'm exploring all the different options.  


Kay H

Posted 2011-04-05T17:09:50+0000  by KayH

You are welcome Kay.


Well, bolting 2x4's just to the rafters it is not really going to work well being that you will have some of the plywood sheets joined at the same 2x4 joist.

And if two 2x4s are not bolted together along, than you really don’t have a double 2x4 you will  end up with one 2x4 supporting the load or a two sheets that are resting on two separate joists (2x4s).


Anyhow Key I would not use 2x4s for the support.


Going 12"O.C with 2x6’s you will get to tie first, fourth, eighth and twelfth rafter; which is sufficient.

12+12+12+12= 48

16+16+16 = 48....

And esthetically going with 12" O.C it’s really not going to make a big difference being that you are going to put the plywood up anyhow.

 If you really want your joists to be 16" O.C center than I would recommend doubling up third and sixth joist.


Posted 2011-04-05T20:28:42+0000  by George_HD_CHI

Thanks, George! Ok, the doubled 2x4s are totally out!


I love the idea of the doubled 2x6's. Since my loft is only ~6 1/2 feet starting at stud 4 of 9,  I sketched in doubles at studs 4, 6 and 9 and it appears there is no area greater than 10" between them. Solid! Wish I could show a picture.


The aesthetics are important because all woodwork will be painted but exposed; this is not so much a "shed" as a studio/girlfriend hangout. :smileyhappy: So it's gotta look great AND not fall in, too!


Thanks for the help.  The suggestions were just what I needed. I'm sure I'll be back!

Posted 2011-04-05T21:46:18+0000  by KayH

Key if you ever get a chance, I would love  to see a finished product picture!

Posted 2011-04-05T21:50:53+0000  by George_HD_CHI

Absolutely. Site prep begins this weekend, but building won't really start until mid-May.  Wish me luck; did I mention that those teen and preteen girls will be helping me? :womansurprised:


If there's a post here on how to upload photos, I'll put up one of my plans. The resolution probably won't be sufficient enough to comment on, but I'm just kinda proud of them! :womanvery-happy:

Posted 2011-04-06T14:21:25+0000  by KayH
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