The Attic

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Installing attic stairs

Sept 2006

Has anyone had drop-down style attic stairs put into their home? We have a rather small opening with no stairs and are sick of hauling a ladder in and out of the house every time we want to use it. I see online we can install stairs ourselves but 1. we have no time, 2. we probably could use a larger opening along with the stairs, if not a completely new opening in another spot in the house. Looking for someone experienced with this type of work to do it and advice from those who have had a similar job done (or have existing steps and comments about them). thx Nicole

If your attic opening is near a wall, our solution might work for you -- it's cheaper than attic stairs. We installed a metal pipe on the wall below the opening using pipe holders so the pipe is 2-3 inches away from, but parallel to the wall right under the opening extending all the wall to the nearest perpendicular wall (our pipe is about 4 feet long). We took a wooden ladder -- just the rung side --- and installed two sets of hooks on the back -- the lower or ''storage'' set of hooks are placed so that when the hooks were on the pipe, the ladder hung straight down. We slide the hooks along the pipe and push the ladder against the wall, out of the way, when it's not in use. The second set of hooks -- the higher or ''use'' hooks -- are placed so that when they are on the pipe, the ladder is slanted and ready for use. When we need the ladder we pull it out by sliding the hooks long the pipe, we unhook it from the storage hooks, hook the use hooks onto the pipe, and climb up the ladder to our attic. Good luck! louise
We had one put in by Emmet Lynch. He's in Richmond. The installation was functionally fine and his cost was reasonable. His finish work (spackling) was not so hot, but to be honest, I probably failed to make that clear in my scope of work. Unfortunately, it's hard to find a kit disappearing stair that is well constructed. We chose one from Truitt and White which was of somewhat better quality (although not as good as I would have preferred) than what Home Depot had. The attic stair has made a huge difference. We hardly ever used the attic before. Now it's crammed full of stuff! Ray
I had aluminum fold down stairs installed in my ceiling to the attic by Jason Griffin who is a contractor that has done lots of window work for me. It's a pull down ladder which now gives me an additional 700 sq ft of storage space. He installed it with his brother who is an electrician, which was great because you also need a light up there once you put in access. I LOVE IT! I know Jason really well and he and his brother did a fantastic job. He is always so thorough and consciencious. He always puts drop cloths down and cleans up after he's done, which I really appreciate. I would definately call him. Jason Griffin 510.384.0805 Sian