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Old 09-17-2017, 03:03 AM   #1
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Constructing attic walkway


I want to build a walkway in my attic 24 inches wide. It will run perpendicular to the ceiling joists. I don't need it elevated or anything. I also don't plan to store anything on it. Can I just lay down two 2x6's, screw them to each joist and then screw plywood on top of them? Would that be strong enough or should I use 2x8's?
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:50 AM   #2
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Re: Constructing attic walkway


The omnipresent question is "why"? After a while you will be storing things up there that shouldn't be up there. If it is truly for human transport from one end to the other, you could lay down strips of 3/4" plywood and not bother with the dimension lumber. Just make sure it doesn't compress your insulation and doesn't press on wiring, pipes, etc.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:51 AM   #3
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Re: Constructing attic walkway


That will work fine.

I have 4 2X4 sheets of 1/2 inch plywood up in mine.

Not attached, but mobile, so whomever is up there has something to walk on, and can move them along with themselves to go farther away from the access door,

The 1/2 inch supports a 265 pound person well, so your plan is going to be as strong or stronger.

You realize that 2 - 2X6's are not 12 inches, more like 11.5 inches?


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Old 09-17-2017, 07:17 AM   #4
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Re: Constructing attic walkway


Hi diddy,
I don't see your location to judge your climate and no mention as to whether those are 2x4 or 2x6 ceiling joists. Even if 2x6 the minimum insulation would probably be twice the 5.5" depth, and insulation is usually the reason for elevating a walkway.

At 24" there is minimal risk of condensation below especially if you omit the plywood and leave a space between the 2x?. Before you add them review air sealing to eliminate any leaks that will be covered.

IMO, 3 2x6's with a 1/2" space between (16" joist spacing) will be sufficient to walk on. However, if you have 2x4's and or 24" spacing then maybe something extra, maybe an elevated walkway. 2x6's on edge running perpendicular to the joists will also distributed the load across more joists.

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Old 09-17-2017, 07:27 AM   #5
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They are 2x6 joists and the walkway would be very close to the large double 2x10 or 12 beam they all connect to. The purpose is to give me easier access to the main run of duct work. I want to eventually go up there and mastic everything up really good. It will also be nice to have easier access to the light fixture boxes for future improvements. For the insulation, it was flush with the joists when I moved it. I added 9 inch rolls on top of it. I was planning to just buy a couple rolls of the plastic wrapped stuff and put them on top of the walkway when it's not in use.
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:07 AM   #6
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Re: Constructing attic walkway


I don't understand the purpose of putting down 2xs first. When I did mine over a three car gagagge I went to HD, had them rip two sheets of plywood in half. Gave me 32' of walkway 2' wide.
Had a lot of blown insulation in attic. Took a garden rake up and pulled the insulation back of install the ply over the bottom cord of the truss. When do, I raked the insulation back in place over the walkway.
Takes a few minuets to move the insulation out of the way if you ever need to go up there. Only used it once a year for inspection.
I did store my extra corrugated drain pipe up there since it is light and you can never find a good place to store that stuff out of the way
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:29 AM   #7
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Re: Constructing attic walkway


You didn't mention climate region, Texas, Florida, or Montana. Ducts need to be insulated as well as air sealed. Lighting in the ceiling often leaks air, depending upon original product and installation.

Just laying plastic covered batts on top of the new walk is close to useless. Neatness counts with insulation and any gaps greatly reduce the effectiveness. Thus the elevated method where all can be tucked in neatly and left there. I've seen many of well intentioned attics where that insulation gets tossed aside and never tucked neatly back in place, especially if "stuff" has found its way up there.

A walkway is good, built a few and loved them, but elevated is better.

As a note, as insulation depths have increased the occasional 2x6 left up there when built becomes hard to find and the consequences of missing a joist is an expensive ceiling repair. I watched a co-worker go right down through a ceiling years ago, boss wasn't happy.

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Old 09-17-2017, 10:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZTMAN View Post
I don't understand the purpose of putting down 2xs first. When I did mine over a three car gagagge I went to HD, had them rip two sheets of plywood in half. Gave me 32' of walkway 2' wide.
I just wasn't sure if the plywood would sag when walking on it without some boards underneath for reinforcement. Sounds good. I'll just go with some thick plywood!

If I do go with rolls of insulation on top of the walkway, I'll make sure they butt up tightly against the neighboring rolls.

Raising the platform is not really practical. The HVAC duct runs across the joists, and I already have to step up a 2 foot kneewall to get to where the walkway will be. It would be awesome if it was all done right from the beginning.
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Old 09-17-2017, 10:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
You didn't mention climate region, Texas, Florida, or Montana. Ducts need to be insulated as well as air sealed. Lighting in the ceiling often leaks air, depending upon original product and installation.


Best,
Bud
Thanks for all the replies!
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