Disappearing Attic Stairs

The Cottage has a full attic which both the Cottage tenant and I use for storage.

The attic is a great place to keep all sorts of great stuff.

Many years ago Charlie insulated the roof inside the attic to try to keep the attic area warmer since the water pipes run through it to the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry.

This permanent ladder leads to the cottage attic and tucks up near the ceiling.
The stairs are visible in their up position in this shot from last August.

The access to the attic has been a heavy ladder made of 2 by 4s bolted together and stored on the ceiling by means of bungee cords.

The ladder/stairs to the attic in the Cottage.

The ladder is difficult to manage alone.

Telescoping attic stair — approximately $100.

The Cottage’s tenant decided to have a proper set of attic steps installed.

First the old stairs and trim were removed.

In order to install the new set of steps the opening must be changed to 22″ by 54″.

The enlarged opening. Part of the old opening will need to be covered and repaired.

Unfortunately a rafter had been cut out to install the original ladder.  The carpenter did not want to cut a second rafter so the stairs were turned 90 degrees to fit between the rafters.

With the stairs installed the ceiling will have a neater appearance.

Since the original hole was wider but shorter I asked Charlie to remove anything out of the attic that would now not come through the hole. The steps were installed and the cut rafter repaired.

The stairs still need to be trimmed to length.

These stairs store above the ceiling and pull down easily.

How do you access your attic?


Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

4 thoughts on “Disappearing Attic Stairs”

  1. Weren’t you clever to have the too large items removed before the stairs were installed! When the new stairs are down, how do they impact the bed area? It looks like they might just clear the bed.

    My old attic access was through a tiny opening for a smallish person in a closet – not good at all. The fellow who did some work on the house had the brilliant idea to put a disappearing stair in the carport. Much better. No storage area up there – just attic access.

    1. The stairs will, when trimmed, just clear the bed. With the furniture layout like it is now the stairs would never remain in the down position for very long. I used to keep the former ladder down most of the time almost like a room divider. Jo

    1. I’m fairly sure the former ladder with the cut rafter was installed by the former owner who was an architect! Either he knew something we don’t or didn’t care. Jo

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