Construct the timber frame of the attic opening
Photo Karim Shamsi-Basha

Step 3: Construct the opening frame

Temporarily screw a pair of 1x3 cleats to the ceiling across the rough opening. Build a finished frame out of 1x8s to fit snugly into the opening. Lower the frame down onto the cleats from above, then fasten it to the framing with 16d nails or 1/4-inch-diameter, 3-inch lag screws. Remove the temporary 1x3 cleats.
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    Tools List

    • drywall saw
      Drywall saw
    • drill
    • eye 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