Having an attic walkway can be an important part of protecting your safety, and the safety of your family, and can even save you money. Attics are often where the crucial mechanical systems that make your house run smoothly are kept.
When You Need One
However, many attics are unfinished and have raw, exposed fiberglass insulation that can make maintaining the units in your attic inconvenient at best, and damaging or dangerous at worst. If you have ever found yourself wanting to check on your furnace, your heater, your central air conditioning unit, or anything else stored in your attic, but have encountered insulation on the bottom of your attic instead of a solid, well-built floor, there is no need to live with the problem. Constructing a simple attic walkway can help you overcome the design flaw so that you can attend to the systems that are at the heart of your home.
Why You Need an Attic Walkway
In many houses, the attic is where the major systems like the furnace, air conditioning unit, and sometimes even the water heater is kept. These kinds of systems need regular maintenance and checkups in order to function without problems. If you can keep an eye on your furnace or A/C unit with ease, you are more likely to maintain it, which means that you can save money on costly repairs that are often a result of negligence.
An attic walkway will allow you to make your way through your attic to check on any unit installed in this area of your home. By having a secure catwalk that will let you access these kinds of units, you will make it easy for you, prospective buyers, and any professional maintenance or repair workers to make sure that your heat, A/C, and water are running smoothly, and if there is a problem an attic catwalk will let you diagnose and solve the problem with relative ease.
All you need in order to build a simple, functional attic walkway is a few 2x boards, some plywood, (See Different Types of Plywood) sturdy deck screws, and some heavy duty construction adhesive. Choose 2x stock that will easily extend above your attic insulation when you sit the wood on top of the bottom chords of the horizontal trusses that run across your attic.
In addition, you will need some gloves to protect your hands from the fiberglass, and enough plywood to build a few gussets and to cover your 2x foundation boards.
Prepping Your Wood And Your Attic
Your catwalk will sit on the horizontal chords, which can bear a heavy load as long as you do not cut or damage them. Start by sawing your plywood into pieces that will match and support your 2x stock, then use your plywood scraps to construct a few basic gussets.
You will need one gusset for each chord, and they should be big enough to reach from the chords bottom up to about an inch below the top edge of the boards that will make your attic walkway. Wearing your gloves, take a few moments to push the insulation surrounding the chords back so that the chord surface is clean and exposed, then move on to installation.
Installing Your Walkway
To complete your attic walkway, run glue along a side and along the top of every cord, then securely fasten your 2x stock and gussets to the chords, using both glue and screws so that you will not have any slippage. For extra traction, place your screws in a multi-directional criss-cross pattern so that no single side of the gusset will bear the full weight.
Using multiple screws, attach the plywood cover pieces to your 2x foundation structure. Now, wearing gloves again, carefully replace the insulation, and enjoy your new attic catwalk.