Step 2: Remove joists and other obstructions

Removing joists and other obstructions from the attic opening
Photo: Karim Shamsi-Basha
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Cut out the ceiling joist and any wood blocking that's in the opening. Leave the header from the hatchway in place and use it to form one end of the rough opening. Nail a new header between the joists on the opposite end of the rough opening to complete the framing. Secure the drywall ceiling to the new framing with nails or screws driven up from below.
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    Tools List

    • drywall saw
      Drywall saw
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • eye goggles
      Goggles
    • dust mask
      Dust mask

    Shopping List

    1. Sliding attic staircase

    2. Lumber to match existing ceiling joists
    used to reframe staircase opening

    3. 1x8s
    for building finished frame around staircase opening

    4. 1x3s
    used as temporary cleats for positioning the 1x8 frame

    5. 3 1/2-inch (16d) common nails

    6. 1 1/4-inch drywall screws or nails
    used to fasten drywall ceiling to framing

    7. Casing molding
    for trimming around staircase opening

    8. 1 1/2-inch finishing nails
    for attaching casing molding