What Are the Best Tips for Attic Ladder Installation?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2019
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Accessing an attic space is most often done by climbing a set of stairs that is either a permanent fixture or a fold-down unit. An attic ladder is a type of entryway that usually folds down for use and then collapses upward for storage. Attic ladder installation is not exceptionally difficult, but it will take the right tools, a bit of planning, and some assistants to help with the job. First of all, if the ladder came with instructions for attic ladder installation, read them carefully, as the instructions may contain valuable information that will make the process easier.

The first step in attic ladder installation should happen before even purchasing the ladder unit. The builder will need to decide where the most appropriate access point will be. This can be done by crawling into the attic space and analyzing the floor below as well. The ladder will need to extend downward and rest on a solid surface, and there should be plenty of room within the attic for the ladder to extend upward for storage. The ladder should not be installed too close to the sloped roofs of the house, and it should not be installed where the ladder will interfere with structures on the floor below.


Some of the tools the builder will need for attic ladder installation include a tape measure, pencil, drill, and reciprocating saw. This saw will be used to cut through the drywall in the ceiling to create an opening where the attic ladder installation can be conducted. It will be important to measure the floor to ceiling height to ensure the proper attic ladder model is purchased, and then careful measurements will need to be taken to determine where the bottom of the ladder will rest once it is installed. Measure, too, the distance between the joists in the attic to make sure the purchased unit will fit properly.

Measure and cut a hole in the ceiling drywall, between joists, using the reciprocating saw. Be sure to measure the opening carefully to match the measurements noted in the instructions. It will then be necessary to frame that opening for support. Use quality lumber that is rated for structural use, and use high-quality hardware that will resist corrosion or other moisture damage. Do not extend the ladder until installation is complete, as this can lead to injury as well as damage to the attic ladder itself.


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