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Boarding a Loft in a New Build Home: Will It Affect Your Warranty?

We frequently receive queries from homeowners asking if they can board their lofts in new build homes. The loft space can be incredibly useful for creating extra storage, especially in new builds where space can be at a premium. This blog aims to provide clarity on how loft boarding can be carried out without compromising your warranty.

Can I Get My Loft Boarded in My New Build House?

Yes, you can. One of the most common concerns is whether boarding a loft will invalidate the NHBC (National House Building Council) warranty. The good news is that correctly installed loft boarding will not affect your warranty. Here are some misconceptions and the facts:

  • It will compress the insulation – This is not true.
  • The roof structure isn’t strong enough to carry the extra weight – The roof structure is strong enough.
  • It will cause damp – This is not true for any home.
  • It will invalidate your NHBC warranty – Correctly fitting loft boards will not affect your warranty.

If the work is carried out correctly and airflow is maintained above the insulation, boarding your loft will not affect your warranty.

Regulatory Requirements for Loft Boarding

If you have maintainable equipment in your loft, such as mechanical ventilation, alarm systems, CCTV, solar panel controls, or a boiler, the Construction Design and Management (CDM) regulations of 2015 and the NHBC require boarding to be in place. This ensures a safe maintenance area and ease of access.

Myth-Busting: Facts About Boarding Lofts in New Builds

  • The NHBC states that boarding installed at the homeowner’s instruction does not invalidate the warranty. However, defects resulting from the installation, such as condensation or structural damage, would not be covered. This applies to any changes made to the building after the warranty period has begun.
  • The NHBC also confirms that loft space access and structural design account for occasional entry and maintenance. A nominal live load allowance is included for light, miscellaneous, and infrequently used items suitable for spreading across widely spaced joists.

Why Airflow Is Important in Your Loft

Modern houses have high levels of insulation, keeping heat in the rooms below, making the loft generally colder. Appliances like washing machines, tumble dryers, and showers increase humidity, which can slowly make its way into the roof space. This results in a cold area with a high amount of water vapour. Therefore, maintaining airflow is crucial.

Boarding directly onto joists or a platform that is not above the insulation level prevents the air from cooling fully before it hits the boarding, acting as a thermal bridge that gathers condensation. Over time, the boards may rot and become unsafe, potentially affecting the structural timbers.

A 50mm (2 inch) gap between the boards and the insulation is recommended to ensure good airflow. Chartered Structural Engineers confirm that trusses in new homes with a loft hatch should be designed to BS6399-1:1996 standards, which state that the truss must support a 25kg/m² storage load and a 90kg person accessing the loft.

We hope this provides the assurance you need to use that valuable space in your loft. Correctly installed and loaded raised loft storage systems will not invalidate the NHBC warranty. If your new house was constructed with a loft hatch, the trusses should support a storage load of 25kg/m² and a 90kg person.