How to Install an Attic Hatch and Ladder - Part 2
In the first part of this guide to installing your own attic hatch and ladder, you measured and cut through the opening, removed insulation, and then cut through the inside wood to make the gap you need. The next step is making the frame for your hatch and installing the ladder. Part 2 of this guide will show you how to cut out headers to fit between your joists, fit the headers and install them, add lumber to the frame, and, finally, attach the edges of the drywall to the frame.
Step 1 - Cut Out the Headers
Now that you have made the opening in the roof, you will need to fit the header into the space you have made. Cut out suitable lengths of lumber. Carefully measure the lumber, and then cut around it until you have a suitable header for your attic.
Step 2 - Fit the Headers
Insert your lumber into the edge of the drywall. Place it flush against the sides of the joists that you have been using, and then screw it tightly into position. Screw the frame into the drywall using drywall screws. You need to screw the frame into the wall from below, so make sure that you use small nails to keep them hidden.
Step 3 - Add Lumber to the Frame
Once you have added the edge of the frame, add another layer of lumber to fit around the edge. This will support the hatch and ladder when you install these and also keep the joists in place. Measure your joists again, and cut out several pieces of wood to fit the gaps. Place these between the joists, and screw them into place. You should also screw through the frame and attach it to this piece of lumber.
Step 4 - Install a Temporary Base
When you have fitted the frame, screw several uncut pieces of lumber between the edges of the frame. This will support your structure when you place the boards on it. You will be able to remove this lumber from the location once you have finished with it by reversing the direction of the screws and lifting the lumber away.
Step 5 - Add Lumber to the Drywall
Screwing your lumber into the drywall is not as easy as it looks. One of the ways you can avoid the drywall breaking and the nails sliding out is to use plastic screw anchors. These little devices are inserted into the drywall before the screw, creating a lock that grips the nail without damaging your wall.