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Old 08-29-2012, 03:54 PM   #31
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Attic catwalk design


So as an update, I went ahead and did the catwalk rather than wussing out and throwing down plywood to walk on later. Glad I did because I like the result, and I learned a few things about projects like this.

If I can figure out how to post a picture I will, but basically there are 2 sections....1 section is a 10 ft straight run that is parallel to the existing joists. For that, I used 18" lengths of 2x10, stood up perpendicular to the existing joists, and then used pieces of 2x4 attached at the very top in between each to keep them from flexing back and forth. For the top plank I am going to put down a single 10ft length of 2x10. I found 4 acceptable spots for my vertical risers and they are generally 36-40" apart. Yes, may be stretching it in theory but with the 2x4 brace and the single 2x10 on top, it is super solid in reality. In fact I can stand in the middle of just the 2x4 piece and it is rock solid even if I bounce up and down a little. That is just butted in between the risers and double screwed with #9 3 1/8 in screws.

For the second section it turns a corner so I basically constructed 2 "boxes" which consist of 2x10 sides connected with short lengths of 2x4. The 2x10 deck will bridge from box to box, landing on them like piers, with the second leg attaching to a large existing truss that runs across the whole attic and is already raised off the floor.

What I learned:

On the original section I used 4" right angle brackets to initially stand up the risers, before I added the 2x4 butting in between. For the boxes, they were much smaller and compact and stand up on their own, so instead of wasting a bracket I just used a 45 degree screw into the joist underneath on each corner. Seems to hold it down just fine.

Thanks to this forum I learned about TORX drive screws. Thanks! I already had a box of driver bits that I had bought on impulse once when they were on super sale at Menards, and luckily there are several T25 bits in there. They worked well and I was able to drive in 3 1/8 screws without any pre-drilling. Just make sure you're leaning into the drill so it doesn't slip. One of my bits got chewed up about 3/4 through the project so I had to toss it and use a second one. Perhaps because they are cheapo Stanley bits that I got on super sale, or maybe that is just the nature of the beast. If I were building a whole deck or doing lots of work, I can see going through several bits in a day (or spending money to buy stronger bits if that is an option).

I also learned to be creative, envision the project, draw it out and measure carefully. by the time I made it to the boxes I had the full design of those in my mind and actually built them in the garage where it was easy to saw, screw, etc. Doing so in the attic would have been more risky. I just carried the boxes up to the attic, set them on the joists and screwed them down. When they fit perfectly it was a great feeling.

I also learned that when you're doing the 45 degree screwdowns, it's easier to take a drill and pre-drill the hole to the angle you want, and also to pre-drill the screw all the way till it's just poking out. Then when you set it down you have 4 screws, all sitting there looking at you, and all you have to do is buzz them down 1, 2, 3, 4.

While my design may not be "engineered" to the official specs, I have no doubt that it is plenty solid and strong to withhold a 300 pound man let alone my 180 pounds.

Glad I did it myself because for <$50 in materials, plus some time, I was able to build something that works well and fits exactly in the areas I wanted it to go. I have a sense that if I asked the insulation contractor to do it it would have cost many hundreds of dollars (since they value their time at a much higher cost) and might have been something they hastily tacked down, and which I might have always looked at and regretted.

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Last edited by Hogan773; 08-29-2012 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 08-29-2012, 04:15 PM   #32
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Attic catwalk design


Thanks for coming back to post the results! Glad it went well. It will pay off the first time you have a tradesman up there to do work and he compliments you on your sweet attic.

After you've copied the pics to your computer somewhere, when you reply to this, scroll down a bit and a ways below the 'Submit Reply' button you should see an 'Additional Options' section with a 'Manage Attachments' button. From there you can Browse to the pics.

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