Should I Build a Loft in my Shed?

shed loft

Shed lofts are a second level of your shed that provides more space for materials, equipment, and storage. Others may actually use them as a guest house or to give their children a play space in the backyard.

Putting a loft in your shed can be a brilliant way to fully utilize the shed’s vertical space. No matter what you plan to use your shed loft for, there are a few things you should know and consider before adding one.

Why Would You Want a Shed Loft?

Just like your shed, a shed loft is multipurpose! It provides extra space that can be extremely useful, especially if your home or property is smaller.

If you have a small garden shed or lawnmower shed, there is a good chance you are only using the vertical floor space.  Perhaps you are hanging stuff on the walls, too.  Adding a loft can be a guaranteed way to eek out some additional high-quality storage space.

simple shed loft
A super simple shed loft.

Some common uses of a shed loft include

  • Extra storage space for equipment or animal feed
  • Long-term storage, just like an attic
  • A hangout spot
  • A working area with a workbench
  • A sleeping or living area for guests, for teenagers who need a bit of extra space, or as a way for people to “camp” outside but away from the elements

What Should You Know Before Installing a Shed Loft?

A shed loft is a second level — either full or partial — that is supported by the walls of a shed and are similar to an attic. There are a few things you need to consider before adding it, including:

  • How much weight will you need your loft to hold?  If humans will be inhabiting the loft, you need to build it very securely, obviously.
  • Where on the floor will you install the loft?
  • Do you want a full or partial loft?
    • This will impact what you can use the space for.
  • What type of style is your shed?
    • Certain sheds have more room than others, such as gambrel roofs — which are actually best suited for lofts
  • How big is your loft?
    • For gambrel sheds, you will need walls that are at least 6′ high to make the best use of the space
  • How will you access the loft?
    • A latter is most common!
  • What is your wall height?  You want your walls to be tall enough so you that you can have a loft without need to duck while inside the shed.  Usually, having at least 8 feet of wall height (preferably more) before the roofline starts is needed in order to not be cramped, but it really depends on the overall sizing of your shed.
  • Does your city allow it?  Are there building codes that regulate lofts — especially ones with living spaces?

How Can You Add A Loft to Your Shed?

If you would like to add a loft, there are a few different ways you can tackle the job.

loft insulation
The full loft area will sit above an insulated garage.
  • You can build it yourself
    • If you’re handy, you can absolutely tackle the installation yourself! You will need a few tools including a saw, hammer drill, saw horses, and plenty of wood and plywood, but if you’ve completed similar projects before, this job should be a breeze.
  • You can buy a shed with a loft already installed
    • Some sheds actually come with lofts included, so you can skip the “installation” part all together!  This is especially true if you decide to buy a pre-built shed or a shed kit that is designed for lofts.
  • You can hire a professional
    • If you don’t have the experience needed to add a shed loft yourself or don’t want to put in the time and effort, you can always hire a professional to do the job for you.

Do Your Roof Trusses Allow for a Loft or Attic?

A very important element of shed lofts are the design of the roof trusses.  Some trusses are built in a way that leaves no extra space to have a cavity – be it a simple loft or a full-on attic — up above.  Others are design so that you have wide-open space for extra storage or living space.

The wide-open type that accommodates a good loft or attic cost more.  More importantly, you need to make this decision before you build the shed or garage.  It is not something you can change later without major expense.

Shed Loft Ideas

Need some ideas for decorating or using your shed to its maximum capacity? Here are just six ideas where you and your family can take advantage to this addition to your property!

1. Use it as storage for your tools, animal feed, equipment, personal effects, seasonal décor, or old/unused furniture.  This is probably the most common use. If you use it for liquids, you may want to seal it just as you wood the shed floor.

bad roof truss loft attic
These roof trusses do not accommodate a loft or attic due to the design.

2. Turn it into a “treehouse” or play area for your younger kids.
3. Give your teenagers a space to hang out with included computer, TV, or furniture.
4. Convert it into a sleeping area for guests during warmer times of the year, for your teenager who needs extra space and privacy, or for your family to “camp” in during the year.
5. Add a workbench or other supplies for your hobby.
6. Turn it into a reading nook.

Adding a loft to your shed is a fantastic way of maximizing the space on your property, and your family can definitely get a lot of use out of it – whether you use it for fun, work, or storage. What will you be adding to your shed loft? Let us know in the comments!

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