Many homeowners prefer using an attic ladder in their homes for extra convenience and space-saving. But installing an attic ladder can be difficult for many. Though professionals can do this task easily, DIY people like to do it themselves. Also, when you install the attic ladder yourself, you can save lots of money. If you have some experience in sawing, drilling, or any other technical work, then you can install an attic ladder with ease.
Installing an attic ladder is not a difficult task when you know how to do it. Also, it doesn’t require much effort or time. In this article, we are going to guide you on how to install an attic ladder. If you are going to install an attic ladder in your home, then you can have a look at this step by step guide before starting the installation process.
Find The Access Point And The Size Of The Ladder
Before going to the installation process of the attic ladder, you need to decide a place where you want to install the attic ladder. So, identify a location in your home and measure that to ensure it is ideal for installing an attic ladder. Then do the necessary measurements according to the standard size of an attic ladder. The standard size of an attic ladder is 22.5 X 54 inches, but it can vary according to the type of material it is made of and the brand. Also, you can measure the distance from the floor to the ceiling to define the ladder size. Apart from these points, you also can find a place that has excellent headroom to let you stand comfortably on the ladder. Once you noted these points, the next step is to find the right attic ladder for your use.
Get The Right Attic Ladder
First of all, you need to choose the right attic ladder for your home. Make sure to choose the right material attic ladder out of wood, aluminum, and steel. If you are looking for a durable and lightweight attic ladder, then you can choose an aluminum ladder. Usually, attic ladders can carry from 250 lbs to 300 lbs. So you can choose a ladder with a maximum weight capacity that allows you to carry a box or any item on the ladder conveniently. Also, pick the right size attic ladder by considering the distance from your floor to the ceiling.
Prepare The Access Point For The Attic Ladder
Now, you need to cut the area where you want to install the ladder. Make sure there are no cables, pipes, joists, or any other object where the attic ladder is to be installed. Also, ensure to wear gloves and safety eyewear during the cutting process. If you feel it hard to cut this hole, then you can also call a professional for help.
First, you need to measure the mounting frame and then do marking for the frame on the ceiling with a pencil. Then you can cut the ceiling according to the marking accurately. A handsaw or reciprocating saw can be a brilliant choice for this cutting process.
Prepare A Surrounding Frame For The Attic Ladder
Now, secure the ladder with an appropriate surround frame. While preparing the frame, ensure that there is a gap of one centimeter between the ladder frame and the surrounding frame for ease of use. The frame should support the ladder and the weight of the person who steps on it. Therefore, you can use wood material for making this frame.
Place Temporary Support Boards
The next step is to place temporary support boards at both ends of the hole. These boards will hold the ladder temporarily when you install it. So, you can use unwanted boards for it.
Place The Ladder Into The Opening
Now, it is time to place the attic ladder into the opening properly. In this step, you will need someone to help you. First, you need to attach the pulling cord to the attic ladder from the below. To do this, you can follow the instructions of the manufacturer because the pulling cord attachment process is different for different brands. Then you can lift the attic ladder and place it into the opening carefully. Now, the ladder will stay on the temporary supporting boards that you have attached in the previous step. So don’t put any weight on the ladder.
Fix The Ladder
Now, tight the hinges against the back header board and fix the frame properly. Use appropriate screws to secure the frame into the surround. Also, check that the attic door is opening and closing without any problem.
Then do drilling according to the manufacturer’s instructions and screw them appropriately. You can also use shims if it is required. After tightening all screws, the attic ladder will get installed into the attic permanently. Now, you can remove the temporary support boards. Also, make sure to check that the ladder is functioning properly.
Make Sure The Size Of The Ladder Is Perfect
After installing the ladder, you need to check that the size of the ladder is right for your home. First, open the ladder and check it fits your home or not. If the size is correct, then your job is done. Otherwise, you need to cut the extra part of the ladder. Use a measuring tape to measure the size and mark the excess part of the ladder on both legs. Now, use a reciprocating saw or handsaw to cut the extra ladder.
Fix The Feet OF The Ladder
To fix the feet, you need to open the ladder to its full length. Then hold the feet against the ladder legs and mark the holes. Then drill the holes and attach the feet with the appropriate screws.
Insulate The Attic
Usually, hot and cold air can enter through the attic gap. Therefore, you can consider insulating the attic to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. After installing the attic ladder, you can use weather-stripping along the edges of the hatch to stop entering the air. Also, some attic ladders come with an insulation cover to make your work easier. So, check if your attic ladder has an insulation cover and apply it to ensure appropriate performance.
Installing an attic ladder in your home is very beneficial and can improve your comfort level. Although it looks like it is a big task to perform, you can do this job yourself by following the above steps. As you may need someone to help you with some of the above steps, make sure you have someone with you before starting the installation process.