I would like to separate a closet into two levels for storage. The closet is 55" by 55" with 8' ceilings. I would like the second level to cut this in half at a height of 4'.

I was originally thinking of using 4" x 4" fence post in each corner then using plywood as the floor material. But I do not have the experience to design the structure to be able to support the heavy loads with confidence. I would like to avoid a vertical support beam that would block storage.

Can someone offer some suggestions? I would like to safely hold a few thousand pounds to be on the safe side.


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  • What type of building is this closet in? To add that much weight in a concentrated place in a residence will not bode well for the joists, now matter how you structure it. If it is a concrete floor, it might handle it if it is a slab on grade – Jack Nov 5 '16 at 3:00
  • @jack this would be a residential 2nd floor closet. So unfortunately no concrete. The room is over the garage is that makes any difference. Perhaps I overstated the load requirements. In reality it would only be holding less than 500 pounds. – aaronfarr Nov 5 '16 at 3:37
  • If that is a more accurate load description and the closet is only 21 square feet inside, the floor load will be 23 lbs/sq ft a little less than what is acceptable by code, which is a good thing (code is 30 lbs/sq ft live load) for a bedroom area which I assume the closet is in. The floor may be built stronger than what code requires, the the building code is a minimum standard. At least your floor will not be over stressed by your idea. – Jack Nov 5 '16 at 5:19

You would be able to mount a 2X6 ledger on 3 sides of the wall with 2 SDS screws in each stud, figuring it is wood framing at 16" on center. A 2X6 across the door and another across the center to break the span in the center and a piece of 3/4" plywood over it all ought to hold anything you choose.

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2X4s would be strong enough but there is not enough mass around the screws and spacing between them in the 3 1/2" face to make it strong enough in my opinion. Use screws with joists hangers to hold the center 2X6. You could use 2X6s in the center 16" apart if you choose.

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  • thanks for this solution. From my understanding, this is what you are referring to: docs.google.com/drawings/d/…? How would you suggest the ledgers be attached to the wood framing behind the dry wall for maximum support? – aaronfarr Nov 7 '16 at 16:52
  • Yes that is the only way it should be attached to the 3 walls and possibly to the wall with the door if you use blocks on either side to hold the 2X away from the trim a bit. The structural screws (SDS) must go in the studs to support everything so you will not need the legs. I would use something like 3" screws that go directly into the studs, 3 1/2" to 4" going through the block and into the studs on either side of the door, if room allows it. You want at least 1" to go in the framing, no more than 1 1/2". Your drawing is correct. – Jack Nov 7 '16 at 17:55
  • thanks again. I understand what you are saying. What would you recommend for screw placement and quantity for attaching the ledger? The image shows it being attached to a piece of plywood beneath the drywall using 3 screws between each joist. – aaronfarr Nov 8 '16 at 16:29
  • The image is what came along with the picture of the screws. I chose it also for the joist hangers and how they are used. The pattern in the picture would work if there was a band joist behind the sheathing the ledger is screwed to. The placement of the screws should be 2 in every stud, drilled into the ledger 1" from the edge at every stud location. You may need to angle the screws into the corners to catch the framing there as well as countersinking them a bit. – Jack Nov 9 '16 at 5:30

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