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bapple
LSU Fan
Capital City
Member since Oct 2010
11191 posts

Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
I will be installing this tomorrow and will document the process with photos.

An AT&T tech came over a couple weeks ago to install new internet. He must have played offensive line in high school because he split my attic ladder. Luckily they’re giving me some money for the damage claim to repair it.

This is a two person job and is relatively easy but I figured I would outline it here and provide pictures tomorrow after I do it.

1. Remove trimming around existing attic opening with pry bar. Avoid damaging to reuse. Then remove the finishing nails from the ceiling as well.

Image: https://i.imgur.com/2kCBSFW.jpg


2. Place two 2x4 temporary boards under the front and back sections of the existing opening to support ladder framing.

*Forgot to get a picture from my own job but this picture shows how I did it. Notice the boards on the edges of the opening.

Image: http://www.proconstructionguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Placing-1.jpg


3. From the attic, unscrew all bolts holding in the ladder frame. Save wooden shims for installation of new ladder.

*I noticed the old ladder didn't even have shims holding it steady. The previous installation was pretty shitty.

4. Have a second person on a ladder below to help push the unit into the attic, rotate it, and pull it out of the opening.

5. Push new unit into attic, rotate it, and place into the opening.

6. Put temporary screws into framing as shown in directions provided.

*This is the finalized mounting with 6 screws across the front. Notice the two inner lag bolts (drilled pilot holes to install these) and the 4 standard torx-head wood screws.

Image: https://i.imgur.com/QCk6V4X.jpg


7. Tilt open the door (leave the ladder folded) and come down from attic onto a separate ladder.

8. Place shims between framing of house and framing of the ladder to ensure tight fit. Drill pilot holes and install supplied lag bolts.

*Since the old ladder didn't have shims, the gaps were pretty large around the framing. I decided to use my reciprocating saw to make my own shims - chunks of wood cut from the old ladder. So I cut 6 pieces from the old ladder to fill the gaps.

Image: https://i.imgur.com/gYpo8iM.jpg


9. Fold open new ladder and cut bottom portion of ladder to fit proper ceiling height. Install rubber feet on bottom of ladder.

*The multitude of holes on the feet made this part super easy. I used my reciprocating saw to cut the lowest portion of the ladder shorter and the feet maintained the proper angle with the ground. All I had to do was put the two bolts through.

Image: https://i.imgur.com/odLPqcA.jpg


Image: https://i.imgur.com/vtmFkuM.jpg


9. Remove temporary 2x4s and reinstall trimming.

*I did not reinstall the trimming yet since I need to shave off the chipped paint and them borrow a nail gun from someone to fix it back in place.

*The weather stripping is very nice and creates a tight seal.

Image: https://i.imgur.com/sJ0c7fj.jpg


*These struts are immensely more quiet than the giant springs and make closing the door not quite as violent as the old unit.

Image: https://i.imgur.com/BiVidUt.jpg


*I'm considering repainting the main door but I may just leave it once I reinstall the framing.

Image: https://i.imgur.com/jNXaqgR.jpg


It will be very nice to have an aluminum ladder with struts rather than a creaky wooden ladder with springs. I would highly recommend this upgrade to anyone.

The unit is made by Louisville Ladder from Lowe’s for $219. It has a 375 pound load capacity and will work for up to a 10ft ceiling. Ensure you are getting the proper ladder for your attic opening.

Will report back.



This post was edited on 3/29 at 3:13 pm


TigerTatorTots
LSU Fan
The Safeshore
Member since Jul 2009
75819 posts

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
When you finish, I'll hire you and CP3 to come do mine so I can pay you in pmags again.
This post was edited on 3/28 at 10:36 pm


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Clames
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2010
12853 posts

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
quote:

This is a two person job...


It's a one person job, especially for the lightweight aluminum versions. I won't tell you how though, don't want your obituary thread on my conscience...


Twenty 49
LSU Fan
Shreveport
Member since Jun 2014
13618 posts

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
One guy installed one for us a few years ago, but I didn’t watch to see how he did it.


Athis
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2016
6172 posts
 Online 

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
I don't know if there are springs with your old ladder..If there are be very careful when disconnecting them. I wasn't careful and almost lost my hand.


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40
Clames
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2010
12853 posts

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
It's not hard. Trim off the new door and pin it closed, mark the opening for center if it's in a hall way, pick up new door over your head by the trim with the hinge side out front, up the ladder, shoulder press into opening pushing the hinge side tight to the framing (center up on marks if needed too), then shoot off the trim to the framing with a 15ga trim gun and 2.5" nails. Pull the pin, open the door, shims and screws, trim the legs. When me and a friend trimmed houses years ago we'd do a race if the house had at least two attic ladders and they weren't the real heavy 2x4 legged versions...


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bapple
LSU Fan
Capital City
Member since Oct 2010
11191 posts

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
quote:

It's a one person job, especially for the lightweight aluminum versions




Maybe after I do it the first time I’ll have the confidence to try it alone. But for now I’ll take my time and have some backup.


bapple
LSU Fan
Capital City
Member since Oct 2010
11191 posts

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
OP has been updated!


CrawDude
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2019
2635 posts

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
Great post - I need to do the same. Springs on my attic stairs must be weak and the door no longer seals tightly allowing air infiltration from the attic. Appreciate you pointing out the added benefits of the hydraulic struts and the air seal gaskets with the model of attic stairs you selected.
This post was edited on 4/8 at 9:55 am


Man4others
Member since Aug 2017
1614 posts

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
Did this in my old house. It’s a huge improvement. Current house has wooden ladder and it sucks


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kellyma
Member since Oct 2020
2 posts

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
Great post here, thanks for sharing! I need to do the same, so I am looking for any info on the ladders and the process, very helpful to me. I am also looking for some good ladder manufacturers, and I am thinking about some of those from the review on https://abovethefloor.net/best-loft-ladders-reviews/ for example. What do you think about them? Maybe you can tell me more about what to look at when choosing a ladder?
This post was edited on 11/23 at 6:25 am


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WPBTiger
USA Fan
Parts Unknown
Member since Nov 2011
20692 posts
 Online 

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
I have installed a few by myself with a similar method. I put the entire attic stairs in the attic and then drop it on the boards across the opening.


ruger35
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Feb 2009
906 posts

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
I need to this. My current wooden ladder that the previous owner had installed is too short. It sways pretty good on the way up. My only issue is that when I measured to the opening it is 10’4”. Most ladders I have seen don’t go quite that tall.


dakarx
Army Fan
Member since Sep 2018
1706 posts
 Online 

re: Replacing Wooden Attic Ladder with Aluminum
Getting ready to do this as well.. 10' ceilings....currently no ladder at all just an 18x18 opening... shitty builders!

Once a proper ladder is in place I can bring in the guys to spray foam insulate the attic.


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