There are plenty of grants available for loft insulation and you don't have to be on benefits, they are for almost everyone. There are also plenty of companies happy to “guide you through the grant process then lay the insulation for you. All you have to do is clear the loft for them beforehand, which is something that probably needs doing anyway! However, the grants do not extend to boarding out the loft, just insulating the loft up to current building regulation standards
There are very few jobs which have such an immediate and obvious effect, as insulating the loft. Loft insulation is simple and effective, you feel the extra warmth straight away and you really can't have too much insulation up there, the more the better, though the current requirement is 270mm, which is usually made up by laying 100mm in between the roof joists, then an additional 170mm on top of the joists. The only problem with this type of loft insulation is that you will not be able to see the roof joists anymore, so walking around in the loft space is more dangerous than ever. But if you simply lay down boards on top of the insulation, the insulation laid above the joists will simply squash down, so 170mm of insulation could easily become just 120mm.
Compressed insulation does not work as well, as it is the air trapped between the fibres which does the insulating, not the material itself, so 170mm of insulation squashed down to 120mm, offers the same insulation properties as just having 120mm of insulation in the first place! So to have a properly insulated and boarded out loft space, you need to lay insulation between the rafters as normal, then use rigid insulation boards on top. These insulation boards are designed to offer the same insulation properties as the addition of 170mm of insulation which would normally be required - plus you can walk on them!
Many homes have large loft spaces that cannot be used effectively because they do not have proper flooring. Boarding out your loft creates a usable space for storing items and helps de-clutter your living spaces to create a more spacious home. A properly insulated and boarded loft will prevent excessive heat loss and help to reduce your heating bills by trapping heat from your home and stopping that expensive warm air from simply escaping through the roof. A boarded out attic with good insulation can also increase your home’s value, or at least make it easier to sell thanks to the valuable additional storage space.
If you are considering boarding the loft yourself as a DIY project, you will need the right tools and safety equipment. As a minimum, you will require a hammer, screwdriver, drill, measuring tape, jigsaw, gloves, face mask and pencil. A good workbench will also come in handy for cutting the boards to size. But remember to ensure you have 100mm of good modern insulation material in between the rafters, before positioning the rigid insulation boards on top.