How To Install An Attic Ladder? – Step by Step Guide!

In today’s society more is more, you need: more clothes, more books, more decorations, more toys, etc. As much as you might enjoy owning and using those items there will be a time you would need to put them in storage.

If you have a big house with a lot of space good for you, however, if you are like me and have limited closed and storage places you have to get more creative. How about using the attic space in your ceiling?  Nearly every home has one.

Why Should You Use Attic Ladders?

It has a lot of room and does not need to be heated or cooled down. You could easily store your old books, decorations, luggage, and other items there safely, but there is a catch. It’s tricky finding a safe and fast way to get access to the attic. Usually, most homes have a very small hatchway in the ceiling with no ladder and a small hole. 

Yes. Attic Ladders are good. But. why should you use attic ladders? The answer is simple -- it helps you get into the attic easier and it doesn't take a lot of space.

So if you want to get into the attic no biggie if you are spider man, but that would be a definitely a problem for the average Joe. So you need to definitely make a DIY project to install and build more easy access with a ladder or a pull-down attic stair, but the question is: How To Install an Attic Ladder or build a pull-down attic stair?

And most importantly How to do it by yourself? Believe it or not, it actually is relatively easy especially if you know what to do it doesn’t take a lot of muscle and the best thing about this is it will save you a lot of money and a fun little project for the weekend down below is a list of the things you would need:

  • Hacksaw
  • Reciprocating Saw
  • Handsaw
  • Speed square
  • Power drills
  • Protection Gears
  • Tape measure
  • Ladder Accessories
  • Attic Stairs/Ladder
  • Deck Screws
  • Heavy-weight screes

How To Install An Attic Ladder

Building an attic ladder isn't hard. But, you still need to follow some steps. Down below you can find all the things that you need to do before building an attic ladder.

Measurements

Before you do anything you need to make sure you chose the right location to cut the access point and you measured the rough opening, which is very important because it will help you to purchase the perfect ladder with the correct size.

Use your measuring tape and charcoal and make a  square with the size you need. In general, a standard attic space requires an opening of 22.5 by 54 inches. A wooden attic ladder fits by 30  to 54 inches opening and an aluminum one 25 by 66 inches

Choose the attic access  ladder 

 you need to measure the distance from the ceiling to the landing space because it’s unsafe to install any attic stair outside the recommended range.

Now you need to choose one that fits perfectly don’t forget to choose the right material as well. Attic ladders come in different materials like Steel, Wood, or aluminum. An important tip always considers your wage plus the wage of the things that you will carry with you in and out of storage. 

Cut the Square:

If you have a pull-down attic ladder installed and only need to replace the stairs good news for you you can skip this step. however, if you are installing a new one for the first time, you’ll need to create a new opening for an attic access point., you would need to use a hand saw for this, and the measurements from step one to make the perfect cut by following the chalk lines with the handsaw, just be careful of any tubes, wire or duck that might be on your way.

Construct the opening frame

Make sure you pick the right frame. A good choice would be a wooden one they are easy to install. Make sure there is a 1 cm distance between the ladder frame and the surrounding frame.

Attach a temporary support board 

Attach temporary 1×4” support boards at each end of the opening. Leave approximately a quarter-inch lip for the attic assembly to rest on.

Insert the attic ladder into space

For implementing this step you would need someone to help you, and also you need to read the instructions because the best way to insert it may vary by manufacturer and model but mostly there is a pulling cord to open the attic cord from below the ladder. Attach it to the door of the attic access ladder. 

Mount the door panel

 What you have to do is Mount the door panel to one end of the finished frame with the continuous hinge provided with the staircase, you also need to make sure that the attic door opens and closes easily without a problem if you see the need put shims to the corners of the frames and secure them by driving screws through them.

Read More — Best Long Extension Ladders Review

Attach the ladder feet

For this, you need to read the manufacturer’s instructions, mark the holes on each side of the ladder rail, drill them out, and with the provided lock nuts and bolts secure the feet.

Attach the architrave to decorate 

What you need to do is cut the timber to the length according to dimensions of the opening, then nail the architrave into place if you want to be more creative you can also paint the attic door that will make it more personal. This is the last step and also the end of your DIY project.

How long does it take to install an attic ladder?

It depends on your skills equipment and also how much installing you have to do. It usually lasts from 2 to 6 hours however if this is your first project or you want to be more thorough and make it look more professional my advice would be to plan on doing it on the weekend.

Just remember you don’t have to do everything by yourself some parts require to be done by more than one person.

It certainly is not a big job and doing it will improve your life and give you extra space and in the end, you will be asking yourself why haven’t I done this sooner.

Michael is the Editor at thetoolgeeks.com. He used to own a local shop where he sold different tools for 20+ years. He now enjoys researching DIY tools and writing guides about it.

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