Attic Ladder Buying Guide- Important Factors to Consider Before Buying

An attic ladder is also known as fold downstairs. Through the use of an attic ladder, it becomes so much easy and safe for you to climb up the attic space and move down. In short, it initially makes your whole storage space more accessible and allows you to store your things in one manageable place.

The installation process of the attic ladder is not that hard to perform. It probably takes a few hours and you are all done with it. The majority of the stairs and attic ladders available in the market are in pre-assembled kits which makes the whole installation process a piece of cake.


If you have been looking forward to adding your house with an attic space, then it is important to stay conscious of your attic ladder selection. There are quite a few major elements that you need to consider before buying a perfect attic ladder.

Let’s help you a bit and crack into all those major factors for your assistance:

1. Location

Attic ladder kits are designed and made to easily get fitted between existing floor framing of the attic. Usually, an existing attic access hole is enlarged just a little. It might be convenient for you if this is your situation.

If not, you have to chop and frame a replacement access hole. Make sure that the location you select gives the rock bottom of the ladder enough space to maneuver.

2. Type of Attic Floor & Roof Framing

It would be wise for you to spot the various types of floor and roof framing of your attic. It is usually framed with floor joists and trusses or individual rafters.

You should know that trusses are structural components; therefore, trusses should not be cut. Standard floor framing is often reorganized easily. If your planned location for the attic ladder has trusses, you have to look for a piece of professional advice first.

3. Spacing & Orientation of Joist & Truss

Standard-sized attic ladder kits are made to be fitted in between floor joists or trusses with a spacing of 24” (24 inches). This adds upon an open space of twenty-two 1/2” between each joist pair. If your existing framing spacing is 22 1/2”, you will prefer to install the ladder here. But if you in want of a special location, you would need additional framing.

There is an opportunity that the joists are placed in the wrong direction for your ladder installation. If you will encounter this problem, just cut the joists and surround the opening with doubled-up headers and joists. However, you can’t apply this solution when it involves trusses. In that scenario, you will need professional guidance.


4. Basic Space Requirements

You need to check the attic access opening first. For full-sized attic ladders and stairs, a minimum of 22 1/2 x 54” is required. For safe mounting and dismounting of the ladder, consider an appropriate landing space within the attic. This prevents any sort of trouble when transferring storage items.

Another important element to see is the headroom. Make sure that there has been enough space so you won’t bang your head against the roof framing once you climb up the attic. Lastly, make sure to see that there is enough space within the attic and on the ground below the attic opening.

There are various designs and models available. If your space is restricted, compact ladder models are the best option. These are specially designed for closets and other small spaces. Some models require an 18 x 24” attic opening. These attic ladder models need less floor space than standard-sized ladders.

5. Length & Weight

You need to measure the space from the ground to the attic opening. Once you identify the length which you want, choose the simplest fit and appropriate size. Weight pertains to the attic ladder’s load capacity.

Generally, the sturdier it is, the more weight it can carry. To know the load capacity you have to search for, identify the load of the heaviest one. A 250-lb capacity could also be suitable. But if you are the conservative type, a 300-lb capacity would be comfortable for you.


6. Material

Attic ladders are not just made from aluminum. Some attic ladders are made from steel and wood. However, the top-rated choice is aluminum which is powerful, lightweight, and also rust-resistant.

Aluminum attic ladders are rarely suffering from temperature and humidity, so it could last for years. Albeit a wood ladder could also last for years as it is more susceptible to moisture and temperature.

7. Features of Usability

Attic ladders and stairs are not available in different designs and shapes. Each of them offers safety, convenience, and usefulness. Many people pick the ladder based on their private preferences. Below are a few extra features which you need to consider:

  • Folding vs. Telescoping Ladder or Stairs: Some ladders fold out. Some ladders are in telescopic ladder shape. There are also those ladders called “concertina” that reach on a scissor-like mechanism.
  • The angle of Attic Ladder and Stairs: In most cases, the attic ladder and stairs are steeper than regular staircases. Ladders are usually steep as when painting a house. On the other side, the stairs are less steep. Counting on the space, you have to choose a less or more angled ladder or stairs.
  • Handrails: A ladder or stairs can have a handrail. But the question is, would you favor climbing up and down the ladder with a handrail or just use the ladder rungs? Ask yourself first!
  • Rungs vs. Steps: Attic stairs or ladders are not equivalent to a daily staircase. Every movement up and down the attic looks like climbing a ladder. Consider your convenience and safety first.


Buying an attic ladder is not a hard task at all but at the end of the day, you have to consider your personal preferences and convenience to climb up and down. It would be better to consult professional experts who can guide you better about what sort of attic ladders are best to be installed in your storage space.
Get ready to buy the best attic ladder!

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