Review By Dean Bielanowski  HyLoft Website - http://www.hyloft.com


HyLoft JR Overhead Storage System

Review

By Dean Bielanowski

 

In the ongoing effort to organize my temporary workshop after a recent move, I decided to purchase a HyLoft Overhead Storage rack. I have seen them around before but never really felt the need to use them because I did have sufficient storage space before the move. In my new workshop area however, and after acquiring a bit more gear, I have found the current storage is not adequate so I'm looking for alternatives.

The HyLoft System
The HyLoft Overhead Storage system is somewhat of a modular system in that you can buy either one storage rack at a time, and add extras over time, or you can buy as many as you need at once to suit your storage requirements. The overhead racks are available in different sizes (which accordingly can support different weight loads), however, I chose the smallest and cheapest unit, the HyLoft JR (Just Right) simply because I wanted to try them out before I go out and buy more! I had an immediate need to hang my room air cleaner from the ceiling to get it up off the stand it was currently sitting on. Naturally, I could use eye bolts through the rafters, but hey, when you get the chance to buy something new, why not take it? Additionally, I can move the system out to my "dream shop" whenever that happens to get built in the back yard.

The JR model can hold up to 150lbs (67.5kg) per unit and available storage space is 36" x 36" (around 914mm x 914mm) with an adjustable drop (height) from 16" to 28". Since my air cleaner weighs only 35 pounds (16kg), it is well within the weight limitation of the HyLoft JR, so I should have no problems at all.

All components are steel construction with a scratch-resistant white finish and all where quite accurately milled. When attaching one downrod to the crossbar, I had to file away some excess 'finish' to align the holes, but a metal file took care of that with about half a dozen strokes, so no major drama there.

Installation
The installation procedure is fairly straight forward but can take a little time to get it all set out and lined up. Your are supplied with all the downrods and mesh base materials, screws and nuts, bolts and other bits and pieces to attach your storage to timber or masonry etc. Naturally, because I'm hanging this from a plasterboarded room, I'm going to have to make sure I secure it up through the solid wooden roof rafters above it to ensure it doesn't pull the roof down when I apply the air cleaner, or any other weight!

Using a stud sensor, I found the location of the rafters. It helps if you know which direction they are running as well, as the downrods of the HyLoft system need to be fixed parallel to these. Also note that your rafters have to be spaced less than 36" apart to be able to use the HyLoft system. You may want to measure yours before you order. Mine were well within the limits at roughly 24". With the rafters identified, I could start attaching the downrods in position using the two 1/4" x 2 1/2" hex head lag screws included. Once the first set of downrods have been installed with the required spacing, you install the second set, again with the required spacing. The instructions recommend something close to 24" here. Perfect for my roof rafters!

The instructions call for pre-drilled holes using a 3/16" drill bit. I found this to be a little small for the screws provided. In fact, I snapped the head off one of the screws while tightening and had to move the first downrod to a new location and start again. Using a slightly larger drill bit for the remaining downrods, I had no trouble, so you might want to be aware of that if and when you go to install your HyLoft system.

Note that the procedure for fixing to concrete/masonry is different, but full instructions and relevant fixings are included in the package. There is nothing additional to buy (assuming you already have the tools needed to assemble and install the system). These are:

7/16" Wrench ~ Stud Finder ~ 3/16" Drill Bit ~ 7/16" Nut Driver or Socket Wrench
Ladder ~ Drill ~ Tape Measure ~ Pencil ~ Hammer

After all your initial downrods are installed onto the roof, you attach the second set of downrods to hang from the first. There are equally spaced, pre-drilled holes in each set of downrods. This provides the means to modify the drop/hang (or distance from the roof) that you wish to use. These are joined with supplied small serrated base nuts and bolts in a fairly simple manner. If you are working on your own, it may be tricky to hold the crossbar/downrod assembly in place while attaching the fixings. I found using some stronger spring clamps to hold one side while you attach the other worked great. Small G-clamps or F-clamps will work just as easily.

Your base which your storage items will rest upon is a steel mesh grid (2 of these) and these rest upon 2 crossbars which join to the bottom of the downrods to form the hanging platform. Again, its mostly nut, bolt and screw assembly so I wont describe it step-by-step. It's all pretty simple.

Once you have completed installation, that's it... there is nothing more to do but start storing items up on your new hanging storage system. Lifting and placing my air cleaner was a bit of a task on my own, navigating up a ladder to place it on the HyLoft. Once up on the shelf, I used some simple cable ties to secure it to the wire grid shelf, along with a few pieces of rubber under each corner of the unit to ensure the air cleaner won't cause excessive vibration or noise when running. As you can see from the photos in the right column, even with the smallest JR Hyloft model, there is plenty of room for my air cleaner, plus additional room to stock extra items. I'll find a few boxes that fit and load them up with my less frequently used items.

Note that I have it set at the shortest hang/drop in the pictures. It can actually extend almost twice as far from the roof than shown here to store large boxes or plastic containers, or whatever else you wish to store.

Overall
It does take a little time to install the first set of downrods into the roof, and this is perhaps the most brain-straining part, although its really quite easy. The rest is basic "Bob the Builder" style assembly. While the shelf has a little side to side play (to be expected), it feels extremely solid when you apply down downward force. I am fully confident in its load bearing capabilities and pleased with the end product and result achieved. Not only will my air cleaner now be able to catch all the find dust sitting up in the air, but I've earnt myself all that extra space down on the floor which the air cleaner was consuming previously.

The HyLoft JR is available for many good hardware retailers online and offline. US$59 is the price you will pay if you order direct from the HyLoft website, but you can often find these systems for much cheaper at retailers.

Available to Order Online through these companies...
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HyLoft JR Photos
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Direct from the store, ready to install


A quick check that all the items are present and accounted for before construction begins!


Installing the initial four downrods with hex-head screws after pre-drilling up through the rafters.


All four downrods now installed. It is important to install them with the correct spacing for best results.


Attaching the second set of downrods with crossbars attached.


The mesh base is now installed and you are looking at the finished product!


With a bit of effort, the air cleaner managed to find its way up onto the new Hyloft JR hanging shelf freeing up plenty of floor space for other uses.

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