How to Build an Attic Access Ladder

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Things You'll Need

  • Two 2x6s

  • Two 1 x 4s

  • Two 1/2" deck screws

  • Two 1/2" framing nails

  • Carpenter's chalk

  • Circular saw

  • Pneumatic nail gun

  • Level

  • Drill

  • Attic ladder

  • Shims

  • Screws

  • Ladder

  • Carpenter's square

  • Tape measure

  • Safety glasses

  • Reciprocating saw

How to Build an Attic Access Ladder. Using your attic as a storage space is a great way to create extra space in the home. Building an attic access ladder allows you an even easier and less complicated way to access the space.

Step 1

Decide where you want your assess ladder. Pick the type of attic access ladder you need or want based on where you decide to place the ladder. If there is ample space, you can do a pull-down ladder that folds out, as explained in this article.


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Step 2

Go up to the attic and with a hammer, tap a nail through the ceiling by the joist as a starting place to cut your rough opening. Measure the width of the attic frame piece to tap another nail by the same joist in the ceiling.

Step 3

Draw a chalk line from nail to nail. Take your carpenter's square and line it up with one point of the nail, and then draw out 22-1/2 inches. Repeat this on the other side. Complete the chalking of the rectangle by drawing a line from corner to corner of each to finish the guidelines for an accurate cut.


Step 4

Cut lightly by tapping the blade into the ceiling from the house side, not the attic side. Follow the chalk lines as closely as possible.

Step 5

Attach a 1 x 4-inch support board at each end of the cut opening, creating a quarter-inch gap to rest the attic assembly. At this point you need someone to help you, so you don't get left in the attic and can't get out.


Step 6

Grab the stairs and pull them down to the point where the hinges extend if you are installing a pull-down access. However, you don't want the legs extended to the floor. Look over the assembly to see if it is level and shim with the stair frame and joists. Once the stairs are set, drill the shims in place with screws.


Step 7

Pull the ladder all the way to the floor, then join the adjustable feet. Make sure that each foot is flush with the floor. Secure the ladder rail and feet with bolts. If holes are not available for the bolts included in the assembly, then you will have to drill them.


Today, fitting an attic access ladder to your home is simple. Even if you have a small opening the ladder can easily fold out and up by pulling on a cord or chain. The ladder is as sturdy as any set of stairs. Attic access ladders fold up and are unseen by the naked eye. Where you place the ladder has no bearing on the aesthetic qualities of your home. However, you can choose to place it in a closet where it goes unnoticed. Still you can place it off center in a room where if folds up and blends nicely with the ceiling. There are wooden or aluminum ladders with many different styles available for your attic access ladder. Attic access ladders descend by pulling down ladders with a handle or cord, folding ladders that you can easily tuck away in a small area of space and large one-piece ladders.


Based on the type of insulation you have in the attic you may need to wear protective gear.


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