Return to How To's & Project Ideas

How to Install an Attic Ladder

Print this article Share

An easily accessible attic provides valuable extra storage space, especially for seasonal items like Christmas decorations or deck chairs. Please note: this task will require the help of a second person in places.

Step 1

Prepare Area

Prepare Area

The easiest location to install an attic ladder is the attic hatch. Clear any pipes, cables and other obstructions out of the way to give you room to work and prevent accidents. The attic ladder will occupy a larger space than the original attic hatch. Ensure the new attic ladder can be installed without the removal of any weight supporting joists or beams. Lay down a protective floor covering and make sure to wear protective eyewear and gloves where appropriate.

Step 2

Remove Architrave

Remove Architrave

Using a hammer, a chisel and a nail bar, carefully prise off the architrave around the attic latch opening.

Step 3

Mark Position of Attic Ladder

Mark Position of Attic Ladder

Measure out and then pencil the outline of the attic ladder mounting frame in position on the ceiling.

Step 4

Cut Opening

Cut Opening

Carefully cut along the outline using a hand saw, as accurately as possible. Be careful of falling debris and make sure to wear safety goggles.

Step 5

Assemble Attic Door Surround

Assemble Attic Door Surround

Assemble the attic ladder’s surround that will hold its mounting frame in place. There should be a 1cm gap all around between the frame and the frame of the attic ladder.

Step 6

Secure Attic Door Surround

Secure Attic Door Surround

Drill screws into the surround to ensure it is solidly secured.

Step 7

Position Attic Door

Position Attic Door

At this point you will need a second person to help you position the entire attic ladder mechanism through the opening into the attic space. With one person in the attic and one person under the opening, insert the attic ladder into place, ensuring that the door is flush with the ceiling. Drill two batons across the bottom of the opening; the attic door and frame will rest on these batons as the frame is attached to the surround. The person in the attic can now screw the supporting frame to the attic ladder frame. After the attic door is secured into place the second person can unscrew the batons from below and open the attic door.

Step 8

Stabilise Attic Door Frame

Stabilise Attic Door Frame

The gap around the attic door frame can now be packed with timbers to stabilise the door frame.

Step 9

Secure Attic Door Frame

Secure Attic Door Frame

Screw through the frame and the packing timbers into the surround using heavyweight screws.

Step 10

Adjust Ladder Length

Adjust Ladder Length

When the attic ladder is fully secured in place, the ladder must now be trimmed to the correct length. Unfold the middle section of the ladder and measure from the end of this ladder to the ground using a long level, or straight piece of timber to support the measuring tape to ensure the correct angle and measurement. It is important to ensure that the ladder is exactly the right length. The weight of someone climbing the ladder is taken by the feet of the ladder resting firmly on the ground and not by the supporting frame. Trim the bottom of the ladder with a hand saw so that it is the perfect length.

Step 11

Attach Decorative Architrave

Attach Decorative Architrave

Cut the architrave timber to length and nail into place. This will cover the unsightly gaps and provide a clean and professional finish.