Do you have a loft in your home? If you do, you have a whole floor worth of extra space that you might not be using.
If your house is bursting at the seams, boarding your loft is the simplest answer to finding the extra space you need.
Learn how to build a loft ladder, declutter your home, and increase its value.
What You Need
You will need a selection of basic tools for this project. There are more expensive tools which will make your life easier. But you can do it without them if you don’t have them and don’t want to spend the extra cash.
Wireless drills are always more convenient. But if you use one, it’s handy to have a spare battery charged and ready to go.
A Framing Square
Important to make sure everything is straight and perpendicular. Your rungs or steps will need to be at 90-degree angles to the sides.
Markers can dry up or need to scribble before they start making marks. A pencil works every time.
A circular saw is a great tool, accurate and fast. But if you don’t have one, an ordinary saw will do.
Measuring Tape and Level
The most essential tools for any DIY project. Make sure measurements are right and everything is level.
Find out what you need for your project later on. It will depend on whether you want rungs or steps.
Make sure they are long enough to go through your chosen width sides and comfortably inside your rungs or steps. If you don’t like the look of screws, you can use glue instead.
Chisel and Wood Glue
These are optional extras. Use glue instead of screws for a cleaner finish.
Safety first! Consider gloves, a mask, and goggles.
Stain or Polish
An optional extra for finishing. Paint is best avoided as it will mark and flake if the ladder is in frequent use.
How to Build a Loft Ladder
Once you’ve got all the tools and materials, you’re almost ready to go.
There is a lot of prep work and planning before you start cutting and screwing though. Make sure you take the time to plan your project properly, it will save you time and money in the long run.
This is the single most important part of your build. Always double check your measurements. If If you measure wrong now, your ladder might not fit the space you have.
You need to know the distance between the floor your starting on to the floor of your loft space. Once you have that, add another 12 inches.
18 inches is the standard width for a ladder. But if you have a small space or want to make it wider, adjust accordingly.
Make sure you don’t go so wide that the rungs or steps are not adequately supported in the middle. Or so small that you can’t comfortably fit your feet on them and move up or down.
If your ladder will be used a lot, or require holding a lot of weight, you may want to make notches for the rungs or steps, in addition to screwing them together.
Be sure to include extra width in your measurements if this is the case. You could also use this method if you don’t want to use screws and see them on the outside of your ladder.
Number of Rungs or Steps
Rungs or steps should be no more than 10 – 12 inches apart. If you divide the height you measured early by 10, it will give you roughly the number of rungs or steps you need.
If you want your ladder to fold, ensure you have enough space around it for it to open out. If it will fold up into the attic space, there are some additional measurements to consider.
Steps or Rungs?
Decide if you want your ladder to have round rungs or flat steps. This will help determine the width of the sides of your ladder.
A standard wood size is 2×4. Flat steps will need wider sides than round rungs and you can use a thicker wood if you prefer.
Make All the Parts
Now to put your tools to use! With all your measurements and planning done, you can mark up your pieces using the tape measure and pencil. It’s important to check your marking up the same way you double-checked your measuring.
Once you’re done marking up, simply cut the wood along the lines you’ve drawn. You should have 2 sides, the length of the height you measured. You should also have a number of rungs or steps based on that height, at your required width.
Putting It All Together
If you haven’t already, mark each of the side pieces with where each rung or step will go. Lay them side by side, with the top and bottom flush.
Measure your chosen distance (between 10 and 12 inches) from the bottom of one side and make a mark. Use the framing square to mark the adjacent side without having to measure again.
Continue to do this for the length of the sides, measuring the same distance from the previous mark each time.
If you’re creating notches, use your drill or chisel to carve out the required shape into the ladder sides. Use the positional markings. Apply glue to the inside of the notch.
When you’re ready, position your first rung or step and drill a pilot hole from the outside of your ladder side into the step or rung. Then use a screw that is long enough to reach through the entire width of the side and comfortably into the step or rung.
Do this for all the steps or rungs of your ladder.
With your ladder completed, you’re ready to install it. The type of installation will depend on the type of ladder you’ve built, if it will be a permanent fixture or if it folds and stores away in the loft space.
You may want to consider professional installation. Companies offering loft ladder installation can also often help with boarding a loft too. Loft boarding will make the space easier to navigate and much more usable.
Enjoy Your Additional Space
A loft ladder can be a simple addition to your home which gives you access to extra space. It can also add value to your home and make it more appealing to buyers.
If your thinking of selling your home, we have lots of tips and articles for you on the buying and selling process and the latest news in the property world.
Tell us about your loft ladders and projects in the comments below and see what else we have to offer using the tabs at the top of the page.