Monday, August 24, 2009

Attic Door

S: One of the many things in need of repair when we moved into our house last year was the attic door in the garage. It had gotten a little lazy over the years an no longer wanted to open...or close. So it hung slightly ajar for about a year until we could get around to fixing it. Before the fix, it was all bent out of shape and missing a spring. To shut the door Zach would have to use a hammer to bend the ladder in at the side while pushing up at the same time. We bought a new ladder on one of our many Home Depot trips, and with much hard work on Zach's part, (and a little on mine), we got it up and installed in about half a day.

Z: I purchased an 8 ft Louisville Ladder rated at 350lbs at Home Depot on sale for $70.00. (Which was almost theft, but Home Depot occasionally runs in-store deals on items such as attic doors) There is pretty broad price range on attic doors, but most of the cost is the material (wood or aluminum) or the length (longer= more $$). When attacking your attic door problems, aluminum is best. It's stronger and more durable than wood and you'll probably never have to replace it. Even though I only weigh 140lbs, its comforting to know that if I accidentally cloned myself, I could easily hide the body in the attic without having to worry about the steps giving way as I lugged my doppleganger up there. When buying your attic door, you need two measurements: the size of the rough opening and the distance to the floor. Never buy an attic door with a ladder that's too short. If it's too long, no problem, you can cut off the excess length.
S: I got up in the attic and hammered it temporarily in to place with removable bracket straps as Zach held it in place above his head.
Z: Installing this absolutely necessitates having two people or the ability to be in two places at once, whichever is easiest. Once you have the door temporarily secured, you can adjust it to be level with the ceiling and begin nailing it in place using 16d sinker nails (or similar). Don't use screws, they will most likely get the frame out of square. In our case, we had a big gap between the door and the ceiling joist that I shimmed with a 1x4 to make a tighter fit. You definitely need shims to complete this project, so don't forget to pick those up. Essentially, you need two nails in each corner, and one or two nails where the hinge connects to the frame. Also, when your last nail is half way in, I recommend you miss it and hit your thumb instead because that's exactly what I did and my fingernail looks sweet.

S: What's this? Zach actually reading instructions? I have proof.
Z: Safety Sarah can never be pleased.

S: Now I can safely and easily access my ceramic snow man village and Christmas garland come this December. I'm sure that was Zach's priority too.
Z: Uh, nope, I think my priority was not having my obituary read "impaled through face by attic door spring."

The new door installed. All it needs is trimmed out & painted!


  1. You two are such good storytellers. I love your posts!

  2. I didn't know you were a blogger, too! I'll have to add you to my list :) And yes, if you could come over and break into my house to help me overcome my fears, that would be helpful, ha!