How to install an attic ladder

Morgan
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How to install an attic ladder

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Project Overview

Make the most of all of that space in your roof with an attic ladder. Whether you already have an existing cavity in your roof or need to create a new one, we’ll show you how to safely frame and install a ladder to suit your needs.

Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Prepare the attic opening in your ceiling
2 Cut the attic opening in your ceiling
3 Create your framework around the opening
4 Put the ladder into position
5 Get the ladder into place
6 Pack the unfixed side to square off the ladder
7 Cut the ladder feet off for a square finish
8 Finishing touches
  • Step 1. Prepare the attic opening in your ceiling

    Measure the width and length of the attic ladder. Then determine the centre point in your hall for the ladder. Measure half the width of the attic ladder from the roof centre line to one side. This will be where one side of the cavity is. Repeat the process at the other end to get a clean line for the opening edge. Use a level to join the marks for your first length line. Repeat the process on the other side then mark out the lines for the ends of the cavity.

  • Step 2. Cut the attic opening in your ceiling

    Cut along the lines with your plasterboard saw, making sure there are no cables or pipes in the roof where you are cutting.

  • Step 3. Create your framework around the opening

    Work out whether you need to remove any ceiling joists in your cavity. If you do, make sure they aren’t load bearing. Measure and cut noggins, which are horizontal pieces of timber around the frame, and fix them to the bearing boards. This will reinforce the area and prevent the ceiling from sagging.

  • Step 4. Put the ladder into position

    Get someone to help you put the ladder up into position. Temporarily brace the ladder by hammering some scrap pieces of timber into the roof at each end. At the far end, nail the timber over the edge to help you to hold the ladder in. At the near end, the block should only cover the frame and not the door.

  • Step 5. Get the ladder into place

    Square up the ladder against one of the noggins. Carefully open the door and attach the ladder casing to the ceiling frame. Make sure the ladder is straight before screwing in or nailing.
  • Step 6. Pack the unfixed side to square off the ladder

    Next, the side that hasn’t been fixed yet needs to be packed. Break some packers to the width of the ladder kit and insert in the gap. Make sure the fit is tight because if it’s too loose, it will pull the frame out of square. Then screw the framing onto that side as well.
  • Step 7. Cut the ladder feet off for a square finish

    To ensure the ladder stands flush on the ground, measure from the ladder towards the ground and then cut that amount off the bottom step. Transfer that measurement from the join down. Then mark it off on the ladder and cut off the feet with a handsaw. Replace the plastic feet at the ends of the attic ladder.
  • Step 8. Finishing touches

    Now go back and screw in any more screws that you missed because the ladder was folded up. After ensuring everything is square and the ladder closes okay, you can remove the temporary blocks. To finish, put architraves around the cavity to clean up the job and you’re done.

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Hacksaw
  • Hammer
  • Ladder
  • Nail gun
  • Packers
  • Pencil
  • Plasterboard saw
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Saw
  • Saw horses
  • Set square
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure

Materials

  • Attic ladder
  • Framing timber
  • Screws
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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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