Last summer after having over utilized my garage as storage space I decided to make use of my attic to hoard more of my precious junk. I fought my way out of the garage, made it into the house and went directly to the hall closet where my attic access is located. I opened the door and looked up at the 2’X 2′ square behind which I knew lay unlimited space for the infinite amount of treasure that would soon be hoarded therein. I would need a ladder.
I went out back and grabbed my trusty six-footer, grey from the weather and sturdily reinforced with duct tape and tie wire. I brought it in and propped it up under the opening. I climbed up with supreme confidence, contorting myself within the closet shelf, pushed up the plywood cover, and negotiated another two rungs to see into the attic. It was everything I envisioned it to be. But I knew that to enter this Shangri-la of storageness I would have to get past the 2′ gap between the top of the ladder and the bottom of the ceiling. I carefully worked my way up to the top rung, and almost had my right knee up to the rim of the opening when the ladder started this rhythmical back and forth motion (due, I think, to my violently shaking left leg).
Just as I was ready to place my weight on my knee and hoist myself up into the attic, my ladder swung out from under me, leaving me dangling in space, legs desperately flailing about looking for something upon which to gain purchase. They found the closet shelf. Thinking I had found safe haven, I stepped fully onto the shelf, which broke, sending me down to the floor in a heap; tangled up with shelving and ladder parts. It was then that I knew: I was getting some pull down attic stairs.
Being the nerdly type the first thing I did was to go online to see what was out there in the world of pull down attic stairs. I found plenty. They come made of fiberglass, metal, wood, or a combination of these materials. For easier closing most come with springs, but some use a hydraulic gas cylinder for this purpose. The most common stairs (they actually seem more like ladders to me, but stairs sound more user friendly, I suppose) are of the folding type, but there are also the telescoping attic stairs variety, which unfold down in a scissor or an accordion fashion. An interesting model, made by Werner, utilizes aluminum tubes which nest within one another and slide in and out like an actual telescope. It’s perfect if you have less space available.
Pull down attic stairs range in price from under a hundred bucks to a super deluxe model (complementary bells and whistles!) for almost a thousand dollars. Being in the situation that I was in, I opted for the basic wooden folding type of pull down attic stair, which I got for around a hundred dollars. Now, my carpentry skills are such that I am reasonably sure that it is the flat part of the hammerhead that was supposed to hit the nail; but the directions were easy to follow, there were easy-to-find tutorials on-line, and eventually, to my surprise, I had my very own set of Pull Down Attic Stairs. And I had put them in myself! Now I go up and down those stairs like nothing, stashing all my wonderful booty. It’s getting pretty full already, though. I wonder what’s down in that crawl space?