How to Install Attic Ladder

How To Install Attic Ladder

For many individuals, their attic serves as a storage location where they can put their unused things and saves up some ground space. However, lifting boxes using a step ladder through your crudely formed hole in the ceiling can be hard and risky. If you are experiencing this situation, then it’s time to install an attic ladder for a smoother trip up and down to your attic.  You might have been wondering how to install attic ladder all by yourself?

An attic ladder installation is possible if you want to do it yourself. There are guidelines, materials, and tool requirements you need to keep in mind to accomplish it. This article can help you achieve your fold-down stairway with a few hours of work. 

How to Install Attic Ladder

In installing an attic ladder or stairs, you need to take into account the necessary things and instructions. You should comprehend each procedure carefully because one mistake can lead to a failure of the work. Moreover, secure the right tools to ensure that the attic stairs installed are safe for usage. 

Things You Need

Before starting your installation project, there are essential requirements. The following are the tools, materials, and safety equipment you need to have to install the attic ladder:

Necessary Tools

  • Speed square
  • Power drills
  • Handsaw
  • Hacksaw or reciprocating saw

Material Requirements

  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Attic ladder or stairs
  • Deck screws
  • Heavy-weight screws
  • Ladder accessories

Safety Equipment

  • Hand gloves
  • Protective eyewear or safety goggles
  • Dust mask
How To Install An Attic Ladder By Yourself

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Install an Attic Ladder by Yourself

  1. Take these following factors into account before starting:
  • Location selection is significant because you need to cut the point of access and take measurements of the rough opening. Consider double-checking your dimensions.
  • Distance measurement should be appropriate from the ceiling to the ground.
  • Weight consideration of the users is essential because it is safer for you to have a model that can hold additional weight.
  • Landing space and headroom of your users must be enough to ensure that they are comfortable when going into the attic.
  1. Select The Appropriate Attic Ladder

After getting the attic’s opening size measurements and space requirements, you need a suitable ladder. Select the ladder that matches your opening and carries your weight securely. Make sure to check your ladder package if there are any defects and understand the given manual. 

Here are several available material options you can choose for your attic fold-down stairway:

  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Wooden
  1. Get The Attic Area Ready

Cables, pipes, and other blockages must be out of your way. Checking ensures that you are safe in doing your work and provides enough space. You must install the stairs without detaching the weight supporting beams or joists. Additionally, wear your safety equipment, such as hand gloves and protective eyewear when necessary.

  1. Make A Hole For The Opening (If Necessary)

When you already have existing attic stairs, the tough part is preparing a finished access point. It is easy to find a new ladder replacement for the opening, but if it’s your first time to install, you need to cut a hole for the attic’s opening access. 

It would be best if you label the access ladder’s position and then measure the mounting frame. The frame’s outline should have a mark in place on the ceiling using a pencil. After this, use the marked line as your guide to cut accurately with a hand saw. 

  1. Build And Secure The Attic Door Surround

Assemble or build the ladder’s surround that supports the mounting frame. A one-centimeter gap should be present between the surrounding structure and the ladder frame. Use screws and drill them into the surround to make sure that it is steady.

You may also like: Best Loft Ladders for Small Spaces

  1. Affix The Ladder Frame And Secure It In Place

Fit the hinge side to the back header board securely and slide it a bit. Then, use timbers to fill the gap around the door structure and stabilize it. Firmly pack the lumber and the door frame into the surround, utilizing heavy-weight screws, which can only pass through the frame.

Ensure that you can open and close the attic door without any obstruction. To keep the frame straight and square, you can put shims to the corners and use screws to secure them.

Based on the manufacturers’ instructions, drill the notable holes, and screw them to the hinge. Don’t forget to fasten the pre-assembled mounting plates as well. 

These procedures can install your ladder permanently. Remove the provisional support boards after screwing and placing the frame.

  1. Adjust The Correct Length Of The Ladder

After securing your ladder in place, trim it to get the correct length. Put away the tie that compacts the stairs and extend its middle part. 

Measure the interval or distance from the end of the piece to the ground. Do this accurately using a straight timber and a measuring tape.

On each side of the ladder, label the cut point, and use a speed square to square it up. Cut the extra parts according to your measurement utilizing a hacksaw or reciprocating saw.

You can paint your attic door to complete the attic ladder installation. For some, they put an insulation cover as well. 


How Much Time Does Attic Ladder Installation Take?

If you want to start your attic ladder installation today, then it’s possible in a few hours of work. Depending on the set-by-step procedures that you follow, most installation projects take 2 to 6 hours to finish. 

You may not need to cut your attic’s opening if you already have one and just proceed to the replacement. This job entails less time than installing a new one because there are additional steps to follow. Your skills also matter with the duration of work, especially when it is your first time to do it.

How Much Is The Cost To Install Attic Ladder?

The cost to install an attic ladder varies according to the material requirements and the additional things to complete it. The kind of ladder you select crucially affects the total cost as well. Aluminum, steel, and wooden attic ladders come at different prices. 

Generally speaking, the prices for your attic retractable stairway ranges from the amount of $80 to $1500. The expensive ones are spiral attic stairs, while wooden or metal-wood ladders prices range from $2000 to $6000.

You can practically save money if you do the installation yourself. However, if any procedures require professional help because you lack the skills, there are additional labor costs. The hourly rate for the workers is around $60 or about $240 to $425 for the complete process.

What’s The Purpose Of An Attic Ladder?

An attic ladder, also known as attic stairs, is a fold-down stairway that gives access to your attic’s storage space. It works by pulling it down manually from your ceiling when you want to use it and folding it back to the ceiling frame after utilizing it. 

Here are some benefits you can obtain when you opt for its installation:

  • A better alternative than a step ladder
  • Offers more comfortable access to your attic’s storage location
  • Safer and useful in limited spaces
  • Entails less cost
  • Compact and retractable

Bottom Line

Above all, your questions regarding how to install an attic ladder by yourself certainly meet its absolute resolution. We have introduced the list of materials, tools, protective equipment that you need, and step-by-step procedures. There are also beneficial tips on how you can choose the correct size and the appropriate ladder. 

Hopefully, this article has helped you obtain the essential knowledge to do the work yourself efficiently. Good luck with that!

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