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How to Install an Attic Ladder

Attics can offer an excellent storage location, but attics sometimes don't come with easy access. Learn how to install an attic ladder with these easy step-by-step directions.

More in Remodeling

resize an attic opening for an installed ladder
  • Time

    Day

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Measure and Chalk a Square

Measure 54 inches and tap the second nail next to the same joist (Image 1).

Snap a chalk line between the two nails (Image 2).

Using a carpenter’s square, line it up from the point of the nail and draw out 22-1/2 inches. Do this on both sides (Image 3).

Chalk a line between the two sides to complete the guidelines for the cut.

Step 2: Cut the Square

Using a reciprocating saw, start your cut by lightly tapping the blade into the drywall and cut along the chalk lines.

start cut by lightly tapping blade into drywall

Step 3: Cut and Attach Header Boards

Measure and cut two 2” x 6” header boards.

Attach header board using pneumatic nail gun.

attach header board using pneumatic nail gun

Step 4: Create Support Boards

Before hoisting stair assembly into the attic, attach temporary 1x4” support boards at each end of the opening. Leave approximately a quarter-inch lip for the attic assembly to rest on.

hoist stair assembly into attic with support board

Step 5: Shim the Supports

Place attic assembly on supports. Make sure you have someone helping from the garage level so you don’t get stuck in the attic.

Pull the stairs down until the hinges are extended (Image 1). Do not extend the legs to the floor yet.

Check that the assembly is level and shim between the stair frame and joists. After the shims are in place, drill the screws through the shims. It keeps them in place (Image 2).

Step 6: Secure the Ladder

Extend ladder to the floor and add adjustable feet.

Slide the foot over the ladder rail and check that each foot is flush with the floor.

Drill holes through foot and ladder rail and secure with the bolts provided.

extend ladder to floor and add adjustable feet

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