How to Build a Loft in a 10X20 Storage Unit


Most people need more storage space, no matter how big their house, or how much garage space it provides. Building a loft into an outdoor storage unit will provide the additional space necessary for seasonal and miscellaneous items. Adding a loft is not difficult, especially if you leave it partially open so you can easily access it by using a stepladder.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Circular saw
  • 2-by-6-inch ledger boards
  • 2-by-6-inch floor joists
  • Bolts
  • Joist hangers
  • Joist hanger nails
  • 3-inch galvanized nails
  • Hammer
  • 3/4-inch plywood
  • Determine if your unit has ceiling joists or if it is truss-framed. If the unit has ceiling beams that run across the 10-foot span of the unit, check that they are 2-by-6 inch joists, then skip to Step 8. If they are 2-by-4 inch joists, nail another 2-by-4 alongside each one, then skip to Step 8. If the unit was built with a truss-framed roof, meaning you can see to the roof's peak, you will need to build in ceiling joists.

  • Cut two 2-by-6 boards 16 feet in length, for ledger boards. This will leave you with a 4-foot clearance for entry to the loft area.

  • Mark off every 16 inches on the center of the ledger boards for the joist hangers.

  • Bolt these ledger boards to the 20-foot sides of the shed, where the sides of the shed meet the roof line, taking care not to put a bolt where you need to place a joist hanger.

  • Nail up joist hangers, 12 on each ledger board, using joist hanger nails.

  • Cut 12 2-by-6 inch boards 10 feet in length and drop them into the joist hangers.

  • Nail the ceiling joists into place, using 3-inch galvanized nails.

  • Lay 3/4-inch plywood on top of the ceiling joists. Plywood usually comes in 4-by-8 foot pieces, so cut to fit the loft area, which is 10-by-14 feet, and stagger the joints. Be sure to cut the pieces of plywood so the joint ends over a joist, rather than in between, which would create a weak spot in the floor. Nail in place.

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  • Photo Credit winter shed image by Paul Coskery from
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