How to Install Attic Stairs

What You'll Need

There are many ways to install attic stairs in your home. You have to decide whether you want to install fully-built attic stairs or sliders, which function more like a ladder. The latter are more common, as they take up much less room than a fixed set of stairs, but this guide shows you how to make a permanent staircase.

Step 1 - Cut a Hole

The first step is to cut a hole in your attic floor. Remove enough drywall to make a comfortable hole by breaking it down with a hammer. Avoid placing the hole in an area where there are double rafters, as these essentially hold the house together. Drive nails into the ceiling of the room where you will be making the hole, and then use a square to mark out a large enough space. Cut through using a hacksaw.

Step 2 - Make the Frame

Next, make a frame around the edges of the attic hole. This should be a structure like a box and should fit tightly inside the hole that you have just cut. Hammer together using some nails, and then screw it firmly into the rafters. Now, take two long pieces of wood and place them at an angle from the attic frame. These will form the basis of your stairs. Use a few pieces of wood to keep the lengths together at the back.

Step 3 - Make Your Stairs

You should then cut your remaining wood into stair risers. The risers must fit tightly against the sides of the stair, so measure this carefully. Place the risers into position, and screw tightly into place. You should then cut more wood to take the shape of the treads, which should be large enough to take a foot. Secure these to both the frame of the stair and the risers so that you have a complete pair of stairs.

Step 4 - Finish

To finish the stairs, add a handrail along one side. Most handrails come with a set of fittings. Attach these to the wall and then screw the handrail into position on top. Use a paintbrush to cover all the wooden areas in a layer of protective varnish and then leave them to dry. When the varnish is completely set, you can paint the stairs or cover them with carpet.