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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Attic access ladder

    Wow! I was on the ladder taking a photo of the label that says "Drive nail through hole in metal bracket"....when I looked a little further and saw there was no header to even nail to. This ladder was secured only at the sides with a few drywall screws through the ladder frame to the trusses. No 2x4 headers between trusses and no nails through the metal brackets at the head end or at the ladder spring brackets. The cheapo little wood ladder frame was cracked and soon to fail. Read the instructions you homeowners/handymen.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    1,485

    Default Re: Attic access ladder

    All too common a find, I'm afraid. I've seen finish/trim nails, brads or similar, etc.
    I like to get off of the ladder ASAP to avoid spending any more time than necessary on the things.

    Occasionally I find them "over-secured" with a dozen large lag screws bolted into all the surrounding structure. At least they won't fail....


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Near Philly, Pa.
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    1,674

    Cool Re: Attic access ladder

    If I encounter a built-in attic stair that is improperly installed, unsecure, damaged or the bolts are falling out and otherwise not maintained, I don't climb it and exclude that area deeming it inaccessible due to safety concerns. Done. Zero tolerance.

    I don't walk trusses anymore for the same reasons. Only where there are code prescribed walk boards.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Attic access ladder

    Bob, certainly good practice to stay safe.

    This one was relatively high up and I couldn't see the condition till I got up there. But I do tread lightly with these contraptions, knowing that probably 50% of these are improperly/unsafely installed.
    Fer cryin' out loud...the label right there says in black and white "Drive nail through hole in metal bracket"
    ...and then there will be some that do drive a nail into the hole...with nothing behind the wooden frame to actually attach the thing to. I wonder how often people install their brand new attic access ladders to find themselves in a heap of broken wood framing ( and maybe a broken ankle) after getting halfway up into the attic.
    Anyway, so far, all the homeowners have been very understanding and say they will correct it asap. We'll see...

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
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    Cool Re: Attic access ladder

    Any hole in the ceiling diaphragm that extends more than about 1/3 of the joist bay must headed off and supported in addition to the attachment support for the stair itself.

    https://www.howtolookatahouse.com/Bl...wn-ladder.html

    Decent site on pull down stairs. My days of playing Spider Man are over. For one, my insurance won't allow it nor will OSHA. Unsafe access is disclaimed.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    27,477

    Default Re: Attic access ladder

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Any hole in the ceiling diaphragm that extends more than about 1/3 of the joist bay must headed off and supported ...
    That is not required by code that I recall.

    The link says "If someone coming into the attic steps on either side at the arrows, the trim will break away and the ceiling collapse under them."

    Good idea? Sure. But when do good ideas and common sense come into play? Unfortunately, not often in building construction as contractors seem to have difficulty meeting minimum code requirements.

    Code does not make a "safe" house ... code only makes the "most unsafe one is legally allowed to build" house.

    Stepping off a plywood floor area of an attic onto the ceiling of the area with not plywood flooring will result in the same thing, thus one 'should floor all areas of the attic' so stepping off onto the drywall ceiling does not happen? That's not addressed either.

    Common sense of where one walks in attics is the priority - walk on the trusses/joists, not the drywall.

    My days of playing Spider Man are over.
    Same here.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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