How to Install an Attic Hatch and Ladder - Part 3

What You'll Need
Step ladder
Attic ladder kit
Tape measure

In the first and second part of this guide to installing an attic hatch and ladder, you cut an opening in the attic and fitted a frame around it. This frame is the basis for your ladder and hatch. In this section of the guide, you will learn how to fit the hatch to your frame, add the ladder, and add caulking around the hatch and frame to make the attic door draft proof. Once you have fitted the ladder, you should be able to dispense with the step ladder, but make sure you are standing in a safe place whenever you are using power tools.

Step 1 - Fit the Hatch

Locate the attic hatch and mounting hinge in your kit. You should be able to place the outside of the hatch around the edge of the frame. Have a friend hold this in place while you add the screws to the edge of the frame, making sure that the lumber can fully support the weight of the attic hatch. If you are unsure, reinforce the frame before fitting the attic hatch.

Step 2 - Add the Springs

Take out the springs next. Place them in the frame above the hinge you just installed so they hang down in front of the hatch. Use the drill to install the screws and then fit the header-guide between these 2 springs. This will make sure the whole mechanism is completely safe. Once you have added the springs, fit the pulley to either side of the frame opposite to the attic hatch hinge.

Step 3 - Add the Ladder

Fit the ladder into the hole and push the ladder into the pulley connections. The cables that hold the ladder should allow it to drop into place when the attic hatch is opened. Follow the individual ladder maker's guidelines. If you are using a wooden ladder, for example, you may need to go into the attic and pinch the slide bars together so that all of the stair treads are held in place. In any case, be sure to screw the cables tightly into position against the frames.

Step 4 - Wrap It Up

Remove the supporting lumber from the edge of the frame by reversing the screw directions and then tighten them to get it into a good position. Then, add a layer of caulk to the edge of the frame both above and below the ceiling. This will keep out drafts and prevent the area around the attic ladder from getting too cold during the winter.