Building a Loft Ladder – Step by Step Guide

You’ve got 2 options when you want a ladder for your loft.  You can either buy a pre-manufactured attic ladder or you can merely do it on your own.  

If you opt to buy an attic ladder, expect to spend more or less $100 to $1,600.  The price varies in terms of load capacity, length, materials, quality, and the dimensions of the opening. 

If you find the pre-manufactured loft stairs pricey, then you better start gathering raw materials. 

Let’s get started…

Step by step guide to building a loft ladder

Step 1: Gather the needed materials and carpentry tools

You’ll be needing the following:

Step 2: Get the measurement of the ladder’s height

Before cutting any of the lumbers, you first have to know how long the loft ladder will be from the floor to the loft hatch. 

To get the height, start measuring from the ground floor to the attic’s landing point.  After which, add an additional 12 inches, which will then be the measurement for your railings.  

Step 3: Prepare the railings

Using a mitre saw, cut 2 lumbers based on the measurement you got for the railings.  A 2”x4” lumber is the size commonly used in building railings, but you may also choose to have a wider wood.  

Step 4: Establish an angle at the bottom of the railings

Get the lumber for the railings and lean it over from the ground floor to the attic floor.  By using a steel square, take the angle that the railings have created perpendicular to the ground floor. 

Step 5: Cut the ends of the ladder stringers

Once you’ve determined the angle, cut the ladder stringers or the bottommost part of the ladder.  Use a wood circular saw to trim the ends.  

Step 6: Decide on the number of rungs to be installed

Mark the bottom as well as the highest Step arrangements.  The number of rungs will usually depend on the space gaps you’re comfortable with.  But for this article, we will follow the standard measurements.  

From the bottom of the ladder stringers, measure 12 inches and mark it.  This is where you’ll be placing your first rung.  

Now, measure 12 inches from the tip of both railings and mark it.  This time, this is for the rung on top.  

Get the measurement of the gap between the bottom and the top rung.  Next is to divide it by 10.5.  Once you’re done, put a mark on the rails for every rung.  Note: As much as possible, do not go beyond the 10.5-inch mark for the rung distance.  

Step 8: Time to affix the rungs

Place the rungs in their designated positions.  Secure them properly with the use of nails or screws.  Make use of a drill to make your job easier.  Do this Step until the rungs are completely attached.  

Step 10: Attach the loft ladder

Now that you’re done assembling the loft ladder, it’s time to attach it to the attic’s door.  Fasten the longest part of the loft ladder to the door. 

Step 11: Beautify your loft ladder

When the loft ladder is already in place, polish the wood and apply some varnish for a glossy finish.  

That’s it! You just finished humble attic stairs without spending so much money.  Congratulations!  You did a good job!  

More projects and guides with ladders

What is a loft?  

Before we go into the steps on how to build a loft ladder, let’s first discuss what a loft is.  

A loft refers to an area or a room that lies right under the roof of a structure, be it a house or a building.  It also means an open space inside huge buildings like a factory or a warehouse, which has undergone a transformation from almost like empty space to a living area, such as apartments or offices.

Lofts have an industrial look.  They have high ceilings with their beams and pipes exposed.  The walls are made of old-school bricks, which remains to be attractive until now. 

Originally, they are just meant for industrial purposes and aren’t designed for residential spaces.  But due to the increase in the demand for rental spaces, they imitated its style to accommodate more tenants.   

Just like studio-type apartments, lofts have an open design plan, which means there are no partitions, except for the bathrooms, of course.  Well, who on Earth would want an open bathroom?

Lofts are humongous and have lots of rooms.  Imagine how many rooms can fit an old warehouse or a factory.  That’s really a lot!

One of the strongest features of lofts is versatility for they can be converted into numerous functional spaces.  They can be developed into commercial spaces or housing complexes, or even both.  

There are building complexes that have turned lofts into bedrooms, which highlighted their exquisiteness.  So, if you want to skid away from conventional apartments, try having a loft.  

Many design ideas may be formed when you’re living in a loft.  You can put up one or even a couple of vertical loft ladders that lead to the living room, dining room, or bedrooms.  Since they have an open plan, you can freely create a design according to your liking.  

Types of Lofts

2-storey Loft with a mezzanine floor

A mezzanine serves as the “half” 2nd story of a loft.  Why half?  Mainly because it is an open space overlooking the 1st floor, with banisters on the edges that are either made of wood or metal.  

A lot of people admire such design, but the only problem with it is privacy.  If you value your privacy too much, you might want to have a loft wall installed.

You can have access to the mezzanine floor through a spiral, wooden or metal staircase, or just simply a ladder.  The style of the stairs depends greatly on the loft’s layout.    

Hard Loft

Many century-old factories or warehouses that were repurposed into residential or offices spaces are known as a hard lofts.  This type of loft has walls that are surrounded by old-fashioned bricks, gigantic windows, and fully exposed beams.  

Soft Loft

This type of loft refers to a newly constructed commercial or residential building, but still resonates with an old-style loft, as evidenced by its big windows, brick elements, and high ceilings.