Building a (simple) attic ladder


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Old 04-14-15, 02:34 PM
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Building a (simple) attic ladder

I have a pretty inaccessible opening to an attic crawlspace. Not only is it inside a 2'x3' closet (well, 24"x38"), the 14"x20" ceiling opening to the crawlspace is perpendicular to the closet--i.e., there's no way to install a folding ladder, since it would drop down the wrong way.

For years we've just been climbing up the horizontal 2x4s in the wall (3 of them, spaced about 18" apart, the inside of the closet being unfinished), though I usually wedge a stepladder in whenever someone else has to go up there, like when the AC blower up there is being maintained). As you look into the closet, the attic opening is on the right-side ceiling of the closet in the approximate front-rear center, so it's that right-hand wall that's been climbed up to get into the crawlspace.

I've decided, what the heck, put in a "real" ladder. I have a basic idea of how I'll do things, but I wanted to know if I'm overlooking something or if there's a better way.

I was going to cut two 2x4s down to just fit up to just below the ceiling as measured at an angle downwards (i.e., not straight up and down, but from the wall at the ceiling to the floor 4-5 inches back, to make it easier to climb); this works out to be 87".

Rungs would be about the width of the opening, though if I'm cutting a 2x4x8 down evenly for 7 rungs, that works out to a bit under 13-1/4 each. That's with 12" vertical spacing; go up to 13" spacing, then I'd only need 6 rungs, so I can make it a bit wider than the opening at 16" each. Another appeal for 13" vertical spacing: that bring the top rung up to 78", pretty close to the ladder's 87" top height (12" spacing would either put the top rung at 72", leaving 15" without rungs, or 84", and that top rung would be useless).

My thought is to put the rungs between the 2x4 verticals--I think that would be stronger than attaching them on their faces (outside the ladder). I'll do the trick of putting in one screw in the center of the rung then put it in place at the angle I want, then pivot the rung into place and check for level, then put two more screws for a total of three screws on each side of the rung. That should be pretty strong, I think--or do I need to put in chucks below the rungs? The ladder is only going to be used a few times each year.

I'll then trim the bottom of the ladder, matching the angle so it sits flat.

The last trick: I want to attach the ladder to the wall using hooks that would go over the horizontal 2x4s that form the wall (as I said, it's unfinished, so the hooks can go over and behind those 2x4s). I want the floor to carry most of the weight, with the hooks making sure the ladder doesn't tip back or to the side. I'd have to add triangles between the ladder structure and the hooks, to make sure the hooks sit straight up and down and to account for the increasing distance as the ladder angles away from the wall towards the bottom. As I said, the closet is narrow, and though I don't store much in it I don't want to have it partly blocked off, so this way I can take the ladder off when not in use.

Am I missing something? Should I even bother making the ladder angled, or just have it vertical? That would certainly make building it easier, and I don't know if it would really be that much more difficult to climb, considering it isn't that high.
 
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Old 04-14-15, 04:54 PM
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Steampunk\ships Ladder 1 - Poser - ShareCG

All you need is a ship ladder. If you don't like those, search google images for ship ladders.
 
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Old 04-15-15, 06:52 AM
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Happened to see these at a local Sherwin Williams store last year. Thought it was a novel idea.

Telescoping ladders - Amazon.com: telesteps telescoping ladder
 
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Old 04-15-15, 07:03 AM
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Are you comfortable climbing vertical ladders, I assume so based on your current method of getting up there. That's the way id go if I were you.
 
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Old 04-15-15, 07:17 AM
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I rarely need to go into my attic but when I do I use my Telesteps ladder. I also use it to access my (lower lever) crawlspace. I've had this ladder for several years now.
 
 

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