Enlarging an Attic Opening


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Old 06-27-15, 05:31 PM
K
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Enlarging an Attic Opening

So I currently have an attic opening that's just a 2' x 2' or so square with a push up panel that acts as the door. We want to enlarge the opening and put in some pull down stairs to make getting into the attic easier.

This will involve cutting 2 of the joists (or whatever they're called).

If you see the attached image, the dotted lines are where the enlarged opening will be. I plan to put Joist Hangers at all the circled areas. Is there anything else I would need to take into consideration for doing this so that we don't affect the stability of the house?

This opening is in a hallway which runs the same direction as the enlarged opening so there's support on either side of the opening as well.

House is from 1981 and does not have trusses if that makes any difference. The main load bearing wall is just to the right of the attic opening.

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-27-15, 05:47 PM
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You probably won't be able to use joist hangers where they are needed, since you have a finished ceiling. Support will be mandatory, so screwing the blocking into the joist tails will be the best you can achieve. You say this is running along a hallway, so this will be to your benefit as far as load bearing goes. For proper width, you will need to remove the blocking that exists now and replace them on each side with a solid piece of lumber. Sistering along side the existing blocking at 24" will close your opening in past the 22 1/2" needed for your stairs.
 
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Old 06-28-15, 08:09 AM
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Agree with chandler. You might get lucky and be able to slip joist hangers in depending on where the drywall is fastened, but screwing through the framing into the cut ends of the joists would be plenty strong. IIWM, I'd use double 2x6's to head off the cut joists, but probably not strictly necessary since you have some support from the hallway walls. I recommend working from below when you are adding the headers so your weight doesn't distort the positions of the cut joists. Final point is that you will probably want to add a few drywall screws to make sure the ceiling drywall is fastened well near the new opening.
 
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Old 06-28-15, 12:59 PM
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I was able to slip the hangers between the joists and the drywall everywhere I have circles in the image so I think I should be good there. I did everything from a ladder in the opening.

Once I put in the ladder thing I'll be putting some sort of trim around it which should help hold the drywall and everything in place.
 
 

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