My attic is a maze of wires, air ducts and PVC water pipes. I went just one room over from the attic entrance and it took me a solid 30 minutes just to go there and back. Would it be unreasonable to add some sort of pathway up there to make it easier to get around? And what do you recommend. My main concern is to reduce how much time I (or anyone) has to spend up there working. I live in Florida and the attic gets super hot. My second concern is about accidentally breaking pressurized PVC water lines that are all over the place.

It's a wood truss roof. There's lots of ridges/valleys and differences in ceiling height. So in the attic you will run into a 'wall' where the ceiling on the room below is much higher than the one next to it. It seems like almost all of the floor places that would be good to walk are obstructed with wires/ducts. There's a lot of space above that high in the air.

a b c

Looking at the first picture, the maximum width beneath the horizontal pipes and above the wiring is ~2 feet.

The air conditioner is ~14 feet long. To get into the area on the left I've just been walking all the way around the unit to the right. You come into other obstacles when you get on the other side of the machine tho.

Measured the temperature in the attic today at 1:30PM. Today was a mostly overcast day with rain. High temp is 110F. Low temp near edges of the attic on the floor was ~87F.

Update: After adding some boards in a few strategic locations it only takes maybe 1 minute to travel the distance that used to take 10-15 since now I don't have to worry about stepping/falling through drywall in a few strategic places (like turning tight corners with no room to stand).

  • 3
    Is it a truss roof? How about a picture or two? What kind of work do you anticipate needing to do that would benefit from this pathway?
    – mike65535
    Aug 6, 2019 at 17:23
  • 1
    @mike65535, Yes it's wooden trusses. I edited my question to add that. Kind of work? Adding security cameras, adding fans to several bathrooms, updating ceiling fans. Adding a fan to a room with high ceiling.
    – HenryM
    Aug 6, 2019 at 18:19
  • 2
    Three 2X4X1/2" pieces of plywood. Put them over the trusses in the direction you want to go. You can get away with two, but I like having on permanently in at the trap-door. I had to drill a hole in them, rope, and pull them up through the attic window, as they would not fit through the trap-door. Aug 6, 2019 at 20:09
  • can you show a picture? from the entrance location, of course.
    – Skaperen
    Aug 7, 2019 at 1:48
  • @Skaperen pictures added.
    – HenryM
    Aug 7, 2019 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


I live in Florida too so I know exactly what you mean about hot attics. I had the same problem except for the pvc water pipes. I put up a number of 2 by 8 feet of 3/4 inch plywood on the rafters. Where it was possible to move over some of the cables, I did it. where I couldn't move them, I took some 2x4's, notched them for the wires to go thru and put them over the rafters and then plywood on top, like a false floor. You do not want to notch your rafter. No matter what you do, your time will be limited just because of the heat. You have to make sure you don't get dehydrated. The last thing you want to happen is be back there working and start to get dizzy and then take 30 minutes to get out....been there, done that, not fun.

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    Yep, other than curse your builder(s) (which solves nothing, but you'll probably do it anyway) putting in solid pathways (and permanent switched lighting, IMHO) is the best way to improve getting around in an attic. If you can also improve the ventilation it will help the temperature SOME, but you won't get miracles in Florida, other than getting up before dawn to do any work up there.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 7, 2019 at 2:42

Where there are trusses, it's relatively easy to add short horizontal supports between any two uprights. Then you can add planks to walk on between the horizontals. Use a string line to ensure that a run of horizontal supports line up and the plank sits securely.

You can determine the thickness of plank required by testing outdoors. Standard floor boards are designed to have supports about every 14-18". A scaffolding plank will span about 4'.

You can use a succession of horizontal pieces to make a ladder, and steps are worth having if you need to change level by more than 18". If any of your planks are significantly sloped, you can nail small battens across them for grip.

I've never had to deal with Florida sun, but I'd guess an attic is coolest at dawn, so it might be worth getting up early to work there.

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