Stairs in the Hole

Today in a fit of purposefulness, Noel installed the attic ladder most of the way.

Attaching a temporary blocker to the ceiling

He attached these temporary supports at the right level -- so the frame will end up even with the drywall on the ceiling. This way the ladder unit can just be dropped in place and nailed without too much fiddling.

The stairs getting ready to go in the hole

The stairs come as one prefabricated unit, which is nice for a fast installation.

Nailing the stairs in place

Once in place it nailed in easily, though the equipment we've accumulated over the years like the Baker scaffolding and the nail gun really do make that more pleasant.

And closed

And there it is in place. I'm sure the cats are eyeing that string with great interest, though it is high enough up that I doubt I can reach it, much less a trio of flabby house cats.

Continual observation by Goldie

I came upstairs as the temporary supports were removed.

The stairs are a little stiff

Then we wrestled with the ladder for a bit because it seemed to be getting stuck; we think it was just stiff from being brand new. It is stamped with an assembly date of August, 2012, which is nice for house history purposes.

Trimming the ends to length

The most fiddly bit of installing the ladder by far is trimming the leg ends to length. We measured, Noel sawed, and they were a little off. Then more sawing and a little sanding and then I suggested it was time to call it a night.

Fiddling with the ladder ends

More adjustments tomorrow, but I took an exploratory climb and this is a million billion times better than the old ladder in the tiny hole thing.

posted by ayse on 10/19/12


Is that actually string? What happens if it breaks off?

It is string. If it breaks off I guess we get up on a ladder and tie a new piece of string up there. We've sort-of discussed replacing it with a hook-on-a-stick and an eye bolt, but we really don't go up in the attic often enough to need to do that. We mostly go up there to work on the wiring or other house things.

I ended up going with the hook-on-stick thing. Although I don't go up in the attic often, it didn't take long for the string to break off.

Shoot, now I want to do this with our tiny attic access. Your posts always make me want a dog, too. :)

Yeah, definitely lose the string. I replaced mine with a drawer pull, and I use a vinyl-coated hook screwed into the shaft & handle part from a broken snow shovel to grab & pull it. Also I found some rubber feet for small stepladders at the hardware store, which are nice to keep the ends from marring the floor, and also helpful if you find you've trimmed a wee bit too much off them. [cough]

The string broke off mine, but it took 10ish years (in a non-insulated garage in Texas weather) and wasn't all that much bother to replace. I just had to use a small ladder and a crowbar to get the door open to replace it.

We replaced ours with an eye hook, bead chain and vintage high tank toilet pull, and made it longer so I can reach it. Works great.

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