DIY installation of an attic staircase

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In today’s review, we will look at the process of inserting a folding built-in staircase into the attic. These designs are incredibly convenient, but they have a number of features in installation. We will start with an overview of typical mechanisms and describe the installation process up to decorative ceiling decoration.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

Almost all folding ladders have assembly instructions. It describes the basic stages of assembling the staircase itself, but meanwhile, the specifics of working with different types of attic floors, finishes, or, for example, with a significant height of ceilings, are completely ignored.

Preparation of the opening in the ceiling

The main installation rule states that the opening must have dimensions that exactly match those specified in the assembly instructions. This is mainly due to the tightness of the hinge cover to the rest of the ceiling surface and, of course, to the reliability of the installation block fit inside the floor system.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

However, the realities of construction projects are far from ideal. If the staircase was not chosen in advance, its dimensions may differ significantly from the step between the floor beams. Therefore, the actual dimensions of the opening may differ from the recommended ones if a cover box is assembled in it before installation..

The cutout in the decorative trim also does not have to match the dimensions of the opening in the beams and sub-ceiling systems. The lada and part of the decorative sheathing attached to it can be wider than the opening, while part of the ceiling frame system will be visible when the stairs are unfolded. There is another option: if additional finishing of the Lyada is not planned (and it almost always has unsightly gaps around the perimeter), the ceiling covering is let out into the opening by 5-10 mm for a tighter junction.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

Also, when using thin stiffeners with frequent spacing in overlapping, they may need to be selectively removed in order to increase the width of the opening to a convenient value. The opening must be located along the bedding of the main bearing beams, and then restore the solidity of the floor with additional ties. This is done using gussets-wedges from a massive bar: they are first screwed to the existing frame elements according to the marking lines. Later, additional boards are attached to the wedges through pre-drilled holes.

Installation of the installation block and lada

The installation of the staircase in the opening is recommended for two people, but this is not a mandatory rule. In the classic version, a pair of beams are screwed across the opening from below, onto which a block with a previously fixed fragment of the ceiling sheathing is laid.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

However, most manufacturers supply their products with adjustable mounting brackets. In this case, the installation is carried out completely from the attic or attic side: the installer adjusts the position of the unit using the screw studs of the brackets and support strips.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

The adjustment system may require the installation of two support bars, but already above the overlap. This is a rather rare occurrence: in the classic version, the adjusting brackets are attached to the corners of the box and rest on the inner corners of the opening.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

The most difficult task is to bring the lower plane of the lyada flush with the rest of the ceiling surface. This can be done both visually, periodically going down and completely folding the ladder, and by measuring the indentation for the thickness of the hatch and the finishing lining on it.

The good news is that most of the stairs come to the consumer assembled and all that remains is to screw the box to the floor beams using self-tapping screws, inserting spacers of the required thickness into the gaps. Pre-fastening is performed in the part of the block free of hinges and hinges. After that, the correctness of the location is checked, the diagonals of the box are checked, and its final fixing is carried out from the side of the hinge of the staircase.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

This node needs to be given special attention, because it is here that the main load from the expanded stairs falls. It is not recommended to use hardened self-tapping screws, instead of them it is better to choose anodized pins or low-carbon steel screws.

If the staircase leads to a cold attic, the space between the installation block and the opening must be hermetically filled with insulation, often ordinary foam is used for this. If insulation is necessary, an EPS or PPU plate is additionally attached to the wrong side of the lyad, and a sealing tape is glued along the lower ends of the block. Or purchase a ladder with a ladder based on a sandwich panel in advance.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

When installing insulation from the inside, you will need to use the standard adjustable brackets. It’s a matter of two minutes: unscrew a few nuts and either completely remove the folding canvas in order to cut the insulation plate less, or simply provide the required distance.

Blade assembly, hinges and other assemblies

The folding ladder mechanism itself is a completely independent device that is almost never disassembled during transportation. However, the canvas may not be initially fixed to the lada and the hinge, in which case it is necessary to fix it according to the instructions. Usually fastening is realized with click-system latches.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

Also at this stage, all auxiliary fittings are attached: handrails, closers, gas lifts or springs, decorative plugs and a locking mechanism. After fixing the block, it remains only to make the adjustment.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

Completion of work, adjustment

Initially, the length of the staircase should be slightly greater than the actual height of the room on the ground floor. When trying to unfold a ladder, its canvas may not straighten in a straight line – the bowstrings require cutting at the bottom. Please note that the final cut of the ladder should only be after the installation of the floor covering, since even a 5 mm difference will matter. It should also be noted that a ladder that is not fully expanded is not allowed to be used..

DIY installation of an attic staircase

Measuring the cutting line is easy enough. The lower segment of the ladder must be folded down and allowed the canvas to sag freely at the most perpendicular angle that the lada hinge allows. Since the details of the bowstrings are joined to the end, you just have to measure the distance to the floor and cut the board along it at the appropriate angle, taking into account the thickness of the plugs on the legs.

There are a number of specific situations that cause installation difficulties:

  1. If the cutting line falls on a step, you will have to unscrew the steel blade from the Lyada mount and move it a few centimeters lower, and then trim.
  2. If the length of the ladder is not enough, by analogy with the first point, move it down as much as possible. The remaining space to the walls of the box allows you to build up the bowstrings with overlays from the boards on the sides, here a bolted connection is preferred.
  3. Scissor ladders do not need to be fully laid out only if the difference in height is less than the length of one scissor segment. Otherwise, a segment with a step can be removed or, conversely, extended. The final adjustment can be made with the adjustable hinge of the scissor mechanism to the front.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

Decorative finishing

The simplest stage is finishing the front surface of the lada. It is usually smooth and neutral in color, so it can be left as is. Otherwise, a rectangular drywall cutout is sewn to the lada, which exactly corresponds to its size or has small protrusions on the sides.

DIY installation of an attic staircase

Please note that the installation of the stairs is best done at the stage when the preparatory coating of the suspension system (gypsum board, OSB) has already been fixed, but the decorative finish has not yet been applied. This will allow you to align the stairs flush with the ceiling and avoid differences in shades of the applied composition or mismatch in the wallpaper pattern..

DIY installation of an attic staircase

The edges of the ceiling and hatch trim should preferably be edged with a plastic decorative profile for slopes. So the staircase will stand out slightly, but at the same time the ends will not fray and will retain an attractive appearance longer..

DIY installation of an attic staircase

To install a staircase when finishing the ceiling with a tensioning method, the box is simply installed in a previously prepared cover, protruding downward exactly to the mounting plane of the lock profile. At the same time, no additional finishing is planned on the Lyada, and the ends of the lining are covered with an ordinary plastic U-shaped profile.

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