How to Install Telescoping Attic Stairs

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What You'll Need
A telescoping attic stairs kit
A power drill with bits
Wood screws to attach stair hinges

Learning to install telescoping attic stairs is a project that will not only make it easier to access your attic, but enhance the overall value of your home. These stairs are similar to many of the folding stairs in vintage attics. Installing them is an easy do-it-yourself project that provides you with value-enhancing, space-saving, attic stairs.

Telescopic stairs are available in metal or aluminum. Attic folding ladders are generally made from wood. Once you’ve decide what type and style of telescoping stairs you want, it’s time to get them installed. Follow these instructions for a successfully completed project.

Step 1—Measurements

You will need to measure 3 separate elements: the width of the attic opening, the length of the attic opening, and the distance from the floor to ceiling.

To measure this distance more accurately than using a tape measure, use a weighted string placed at the hinge area of the attic opening and dropping to the floor. Once hung, mark the string, remove it, and then measure it with tape. This last measurement tells you how long your stairs need to be.

Make sure to measure carefully – at least twice.

Step 2—Do Some Research

There are quite a few telescoping attic stair manufacturers you can find online. These items are becoming increasingly popular and are replacing the traditional fold-down wooden attic ladders typically installed.

During your online search, you’ll see different telescopic attic stairs styles constructed from aluminum, galvanized steel, and even ornate wrought iron. Discerning homeowners might seek to find stylized telescoping attic stairs that add a decorative touch.

Step 3—Install

Attach the telescoping attic stairs with the hinge hardware that accompanied your purchase. Use wood screws and a power drill to firmly secure them to the exposed attic flooring studs in the area where they will retract, making sure to provide a tight sit in the attic opening.

If you did not take very careful measurements, you may need to trim the stairs for length.

Things to Remember

For safety purposes, make sure your telescopic attic stairs are supplied with accompanying telescoping hand rails. Some stair assemblies include energy-saving insulation to keep heat from leaking into the attic in winter or out of it in summer. Check with the manufacturer about insulation features when selecting your stairs. Searching online will allow you to compare similar products along with pricing and warranty information.

Remember never to lift heavy objects above your head while on the telescoping attic stairs.

Examine your telescoping attic stairs kit to make sure all the necessary hardware is included. You may need to purchase screws to make connections.