How to Build Folding Loft Stairs

Lead Image
  • 10-20 hours
  • Advanced
  • 300-700
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
2x4 lumber
Circular saw
Hammer or drill
Nails or screws

If you have a small house, you may need loft stairs to get up into the attic when needed. However, size and space often may prohibit your building a permanent set of stairs. A set of folding stairs leading to the loft is a great addition that will allow you to get into the attic and to save space when needed. The stairs will simply fold up when you are not using them. Follow the simple steps below to build your own.

Step 1 – Measure and Cut Sides

Before you start building your loft ladder, you must first know the height you need for your final product. To obtain this measurement, simply get the distance from the loft to the ground. Once you have this measurement, you should add a standard measurement of 12 inches to determine how long the sides of your ladder must be. Wood is the most common material used to make a loft ladder, usually 2x4s, but you can use a thicker wood if you desire.

Step 2 – Make Ladder Rungs

Now that you have measured and cut the side rails of the ladder, you can begin making the horizontal rails or rungs. You must determine how many rungs you will need and at what distance you will place them. You should place the rungs no further than 10 inches apart, so to find out how many rungs, simply divide the total length of the ladder by 10. This will give you a rough estimate of the number of rungs that you need to cut.

The length of each rug depends on the width of the ladder that you intend to make and the space available; 18 inches is the standard size.

Step 3 – Attach Ladder Rungs

To attach a ladder rung, all you do is put the rung into position and attach it to the side rails using a heavy duty nail or deck screw on each end. If you are using 2x4s, the rung should be at least 18 inches wide and four inches high. Repeat this process until all the rungs are attached.

Step 4 – Cut the Ladder

Once the ladder is complete, you must turn it into a folding ladder so that it can be easily stored above. You can build the ladder in two or three pieces and put it together afterward or cut it after it has been built. To cut the ladder, simply divide the length of the ladder in half to get 2 pieces. Cut one of the halves again, but this time, divide it up so that you have 2/3 of the ladder in one piece and a smaller piece. In total, you should have three sections of ladder.

Step 5 – Create the Folding Ladder

You must put together the ladder using hinges that allow the pieces to fold on top of one another in an accordion-type fold. This will make the ladder small enough to fold up into the loft.

Once this is done, simply screw the longest section of the ladder on the door that will open from the ceiling. The remainder of the ladder will then fold onto itself when pushed up into the loft.