How to Install Pull Down Attic Stairs

What You'll Need
Attic stair kit
Work light
Drop cord
Drywall saw
Power drill
Tape measure
Wood screws
Carpenter's level
1x4-inch boards
2x6-inch boards

Your attic can be a convenient place to store things you won't be needing for a while, but you need attic stairs to access this space. If you don't have space to build a fuil staircase, purchase a kit of pre-built, pull-down stairs and then follow these steps. You will need the help of someone strong enough to help you hoist them into your attic.

Step 1—Choose a Convenient Location

Choose a good location, somewhere you'll have room to pull down the staircase and room to stand erect, once you enter the attic. Also, check the flooring of your attic for wiring or air ducts you'll want to avoid cutting.

Step 2—Identify a Place for Your Attic Opening

Cut your opening between attic floor joints to avoid weakening the floor. Remember, the space between joists will be about 16 inches, so plan accordingly. Locate the place where you want the entrance and mark it.

Drive a nail through the center drywall where you'll want one corner of your entrance, but not more than a half inch away from an attic joist. This nail, when seen from below the ceiling, will identify one corner of your entrance. Do the same with the other 3 corners, making sure all these nails are inside the same joist.

Step 3—Cut an Opening in Your Ceiling

From below the attic floor, use your square and pencil to draw a square with the holes made by your nails at each corner of the square. Next, use your saw to cut out the opening in the ceiling drywall.

Step 4—Create a Frame

Cut two 2x4 boards that will frame the opening when fastened to the attic joists. Using your power drill, drive in the screws and attach header boards to the two joists so that the ends of the header boards fit parallel with each other. Next, cut two 20-inch 1x4 boards. These boards will serve as a temporary support. Place them on the surface of your ceiling and fasten them to the framing boards with screws or nails.

Step 5—Install Your Stair Unit

You'll need someone to help you get the unit up into the attic. When you have lifted it up, put it into place with its hinges at the bottom of your new opening, then fasten the unit to your wood frame.