Werner's Easy Access Attic Ladder 6 - Frame Opening Werner's Easy Access Attic Ladder 6 - Frame Opening

In part 5 of this series using Werner's instructions to install the Easy Access Attic Ladder, we looked at cutting ceiling joists. This part deals with framing the attic opening.

Before Proceeding

Make sure you have a space between the joists at least as large as the rough opening shown on the box and that any cut joists are attached to uncut joists.

Your goal for this stage of the project is to create a four-sided frame the size of the rough opening using joist-sized lumber. You will make this frame from single- or double-thickness headers and stringers depending on your particular circumstances. It is necessary to have a frame to support the attic ladder and reinforce the roof and ceiling structure.

Installing Headers

If no joists have been cut, go to "Single Headers." If any joists have been cut, go to "Double Headers."

Single Headers

Step 1—Measure

Measure the header length between the joists.

Step 2—Cut

Cut two headers this length. Use joist-sized lumber.

Step 3—Place

Place one of these headers at one end of your chosen location (See Figure 12). The header must fit snugly between the joists. Hammer it into position if necessary; if it is more than 1/16 inch too long, trim it. If it is more than 1/16 inch too short, cut another piece.

Step 4—Nail

Square the header to one joist and drive 3 16d nails through the joist and into the header. Check for squareness and drive 3 nails through the other joist and into the header (see Figure 12).

Position the second header 54 inches from the first one and repeat Step 4 (see Figure 13).

Step 5—Check for Squareness

The frame for the rough opening requires four sides. The headers make up two of those sides. If your ceiling joists are spaced so that they make up the other two sides of the rough opening, check the opening for squareness by measuring across the diagonals. The measurements should be within 1/8 inch to be considered square (See Figure 13).

If your ceiling joists do not make up the other two sides of the rough opening, you need to install one or two additional pieces of lumber to frame the other side(s) of the rough opening. Go to "Installing Stringers."

Double Headers

Step 1—Measure

Measure the header length "H" between the uncut joists (see Figure14).

Step 2—Cut

Cut four headers this length. Use joist-sized lumber.

Step 3—Place

Place one of these headers against the end of the cut joist(s) (see Figure 15). It must fit snugly between the uncut joists. Hammer it into position if necessary. If it is more than 1/16 inch too long, trim it. If it is more than 1/16 inch too short, cut another piece.

Step 4—Nail

Square the header to the uncut joist and nail the header to the end of the cut joist(s) with 3 nails (see Figure 15).

Step 5—Check for Squareness

Check the header for squareness and then drive 3 nails through each joist into each end of the headers (see Figure 15).

Step 6—Place Second Header

Place a second header against the first header and nail it to the first header with 3 nails between each joist (see Figure 16). Drive 3 nails through the joists into each end of the second header (see Figure 16).

Repeat steps 3-7 to install headers at the opposite end of the opening.

To frame the other side(s) of the rough opening, look at "Installing Stringers."



Installing Stringers

Step 1—Measure

Measure the stringer length "S" between the headers (see Figure 17).

Step 2—Cut

Cut a stringer to this length. Use joist-sized lumber. If the ceiling joist does not provide one side of the frame, cut a second stringer the same length as the first one. Note that only one stringer is needed in Figure 17 because the ceiling joist provides one side of the frame.

Step 3—Place Stringers

Position the stringer(s) along the unframed side(s) of your location (see Figure 18). Check that the inside dimensions of the frame are the same as the rough opening.

Step 4—Check for Squareness

To attach the stringer(s) to the headers, use nails that are long enough to go through both headers and into the stringer at least one inch. In most cases, a 4-inch nail (20d) will be long enough. Square the stringer(s) to the headers at one end and drive three nails through the headers and into the stringer. Check for squareness and then nail the other end. Check the rough opening for squareness by measuring across the diagonals. The two measurements should be within 1/8 inch to be considered square (see Figure 18).

Now that you've framed the opening, it's time to install the frame. Read how in part 7.

Click here to purcase the Easy Access Attic Ladder by Werner.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!