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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Install Attic Ladder

Install Attic Ladder

Help Around the House host Henry Harrison shows a guest how to expand the opening into his attic and install an attic ladder. On his elbow grease scale of one to four, Harrison gives this job a four.
Materials and Tools:
circular saw
power drill
reciprocating saw
pull saw
pry bar
ratchet wrench
carpenter’s pencil
keyhole saw
utility knife
tape measure
carpenters squares
dust mask
safety goggles
two 2x6s
two 2x4s
two 1x4s
lag screws
2 ½ inch deck screws
16-penny nails

1. Begin by measuring and marking the opening using a straightedge. Cut Measure and mark opening of stairway.
2. Cut through drywall using a keyhole saw, then take a reciprocating saw and cut through any ceiling joists that are in the opening. Always wear a dust mask and safety goggles when working with power tools.

3. Measure and cut two 2x6 header boards. When cutting the boards with the circular saw, use a carpenter's square guide the saw so you get a nice straight cut).
4. Attach header boards with screws, then drive in several 16-penny nails for additional strength.

5. Next, measure and cut the longer stretcher boards from 2x6s and attach with screws and 16-penny nails. Pre-drill holes for the screws.
6. Before hoisting the stair assembly into the attic, attach a temporary 1x4 support board on the drywall side of the opening.
7. Once the assembly is in the attic, rest the stair assembly on the support board, make sure it's level, then attach the assembly to the side stretcher boards temporarily using nails. Since you won't be able to open the stairs while the temporary support board's in place, make sure you have an assistant below in the house who can remove the board. Otherwise, you're stuck in the attic.
8. Have the assistant remove the screws holding in the temporary support board, lower the stairs then secure the frame permanently with lag screws. Pre-drill holes for the lag screws then snug tight using a ratchet.

9. Insert shims where necessary between the stair frame and the support boards and secure with lag screws and nails. Attach any stair hardware if necessary.
10. Trim the bottom of the stairs so they fit flush to the floor when the ladder's extended. First, measure the distance from the last joint in the ladder to the floor. Measure both sides of the ladder, just in case the floor is uneven.
11. Use the sliding T-bevel to lock in the angle of the stairs, mark that angle and make the cuts using so the bottom of the ladder fits flush with the floor using a pull saw.


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