Installing a Drop-Down Attic Ladder

Lead Image
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 200-500
What You'll Need
Assembled drop-down ladder
2x4 lumber
2x6 lumber
1x4 lumber
Wood shims

An attic ladder is a great way to make the attic easily accessible. It's not a difficult task, although you will need help getting the ladder in place once you have created an opening for the new drop-down stairway. Generally, installing a drop-down ladder takes no more than a few hours.

Choose Location

From the inside of the attic, determine where the door will be located. It must be between roof rafters. Drive nails through the ceiling drywall at the long ends of where you want to locate the ladder. Use a drywall saw to carefully cut out the ceiling drywall from between the rafters.

Add Support Studs

Place a 2x6 lumber stud between the roof joists at each end of the ladder opening. Nail the studs into place on the joists. For the ability to carry more weight on the ladder, double up the studs.

Pull New Ladder Into Place

With some assistance, pull the ladder stairs up into the attic space through the ladder hole. Nail a 1x2 piece of lumber on each side of the ladder opening as temporary support while you secure the ladder into place.

Center and Plumb

Use shims to center and plumb the ladder. Nail the ladder into place, securing it to the frame opening on all sides. Remove the temporary supports.

Add Floor Supports to Ladder and Finish

Open the attic ladder until it is fully extended. Measure the length from the floor to the bottom of the ladder. Cut 2 pieces of 2x4 lumber to the correct length to reach the floor. Attach these pieces to the end of the ladder with screws.