DIY folding attic stairs

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This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to create a folding attic staircase. You will learn how to properly assemble the main hinge element, from which to make ladder sections and how to securely fix the structure in the installation position. The article contains diagrams and drawings.

DIY folding attic stairs

Inventory factory stairs to the attic are a fairly common product that can be purchased at many hardware stores. However, budget options are not always reliable, and strong branded products cost accordingly. Making the necessary item or device with your own hands from scrap materials is very popular among home craftsmen. The attic staircase is no exception.

Material for work

To assemble an analogue of a factory product, you will need high-quality materials that may be available, especially during construction:

  1. Bar 50×50 (pine) 1st grade – 20 lm. m. The frame of the cover and opening will be made of it.
  2. Plywood 8-10 mm – 2 sq. m. Needed for lid trim.
  3. Board 100×25-30 mm – 15 linear m. Will go on steps and bowstrings.
  4. Steel strip 3–4×20 mm – for flexible fastening of knees.
  5. Angle and plate 3-4 mm – for the main mechanical element.
  6. Bolts, nuts, washers, grovers М12-М14.
  7. Self-tapping screws.


  1. Plotnitsky – saw, screwdriver, goniometer.
  2. Locksmith – welding machine, electrodes 3-4, grinder.
  3. Workbench and clamps.

Operating procedure

First of all, you need to choose a place for the stairs and make an opening. If necessary, trim and install intermediate beams in the ceiling – 6–7 mm larger than the size of the intended cover. Further, according to the size of the hatch, you need to assemble the cover itself – from a bar and plywood. The design can be arbitrary, but it must be reliable (it is better to glue the connections). The bar on one of the short sides should be rounded – so as not to interfere with the opening of the lid.

DIY folding attic stairs

Assembling the hinge mechanism

This is the most critical structural element. To make it you will need: a steel corner, a plate and strips with a thickness of at least 3 mm. The shape of the parts is clear from the diagram, but the dimensions of the drilling site should be determined individually, based on the situation in place. Manufactured parts must be of high quality, they must be cleaned and edges processed.

DIY folding attic stairs 1 – thrust plate; 2 – corner, top view; 3 – short curtain; 4 – long curtain

The key point is determining the opening angle. This angle is very important and figures in the manufacture of the plate. In order to set it correctly, project the future march on the ground – stretch the thread and experimentally (by choosing the best position) set the desired angle. Attach it securely to the protractor – it will be needed when making steps.

The resulting angle must be transferred to the part, namely to the plate. To do this, set the mechanism to its original position, apply a protractor and move it until the angles of the angle shelf and protractor coincide. Then mark the plate along the resulting trajectory and cut out the path of the part.

Pre-drilled holes in the plate for mounting to the beam. We assemble the mechanism on bolts through washers.

DIY folding attic stairs

After a rough assembly, you need to try on the assembly in place, make money and exactly reproduce the procedure for opening and closing the hatch. If there are flaws in the move, fix them.

Then you need to make a response mechanism. He must completely repeat the first, but in a mirrored form. Use clamps and a workbench – clamping parts together, you will achieve complete identical dimensions.

DIY folding attic stairs

So, both nodes are ready. Next, you need to fix the mechanisms on the lid, and insert the lid into the finished opening. If the height of the beam is not enough, increase it.

DIY folding attic stairs

Make adjustments and final assembly empirically. The lid in the open position must exactly follow the angle projected by the cord.

Making sections

Calculation of the length of each section:

  • 1st – opening length minus 10%
  • 2nd – length of the first minus 10%
  • 3rd – march length minus the sum of the first two

Let’s assume that the march length is 2500 mm. Based on the length of the opening 1200 mm:

  • 1st – 1080 mm
  • 2nd – 972 mm
  • 3rd – 448 mm

We mark the whole boards according to the calculation and transfer the march angle to the bowstrings.

Attention! Bowstrings must be installed mirrored! Consider this when marking and drilling.

At the joints of the sections we drill holes O 25 – mirrored through one.

DIY folding attic stairs

Next, the board should be cut into separate bowstrings according to the marking of the sections. Finish the holes with a file or router. Cut steps.

All parts need to be processed with a high-quality sanding tape, chamfers should be rounded in order to bring the quality as close as possible to the factory.

Then we cut the grooves for the steps according to the marking. We choose wood with a chisel.

DIY folding attic stairs

The structure of individual sections is assembled on self-tapping screws 65 mm with a press washer through D-3 wood glue.

DIY folding attic stairs

Knee loops can be made from the same strip as the opening mechanism. To do this, we cut 4 strips of 160 mm and 4 strips of 120 mm, round off the ends. To four of them we weld on legs up to a length of 160 mm with an 8 mm hole. You should get 8 parts of the same length, but 4 of them with a step.

Assemble individual plates into hinges using bolts.

DIY folding attic stairs

Assembly of sections and installation of stairs

Lay out on a flat surface and install the finished section hinges so that the mounting bolts fall into the holes in the tree. Install the hinges on the M8-10 bolts.

After assembling the first elbow, check the system for operation. Correct distortions if necessary.

Then attach the lower short elbow and test the system.

DIY folding attic stairs

Now the ladder remains to be mounted in the design position – on the hatch cover. Use screws for mounting (self-tapping screws are not reliable). If after installation and testing everything works without distortions, the structure can be dismantled for painting. Use varnishes and metal spray paint.

Subsequently, the design can be complicated and made more convenient by adding to it:

  1. Additional hinges to eliminate backlash.
  2. Spring to support the structure to make opening easier.
  3. Latch lock.
  4. Handrails.
  5. Use decorative trim and additional insulation.

The finished staircase:

DIY folding attic stairs

The issue of finishing and insulation is decided locally, based on the needs. You can trim the lid with any material that fits into the ceiling. Basically it is plastic – light, inexpensive and with an additional layer of air. The difference in price between the “home” and “store” folding ladder is about 90% (80–150 USD). The work required only a few new boards, covering for them and hardware.

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