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Question DetailsAsked on 7/7/2013

How much does it cost to install an attic ladder? Who would provide this service in southeastern, MA?

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As with many jobs, depends on how your house is configured. If you have an existing access that fits between rafters or trusses AND the ladder fits between the same structural member width (as most prefabbed ones are designed to do) AND you have enough room for the ladder to fit front-to-back where the access is, then a folding or rigid ladder (about $150-200 purchase cost for normal home supply store models) can be installed for about $200-300. Can be done by carpenter or competent handyman - not hard to do yourself, either.

If you have to open up a wall to provide ladder slope room, or build a vertical ladder into the wall due to limited access, then more like $300-500. More a carpenter job than handyman, though a carpentry experienced handyman should be able to handle it.

If requires any modification to attic floor joists or trusses, then more like $1500-2500, and you should try to find another place to put a normal ladder up. You really do not want to be cutting any roof support trusses, especially. Even if properly done, just not good practice, and if has to be done should be designed by a structural engineer. Cutting just plain attic floor joists (that are not part of roof trusses) can be safely done IF properly designed replacement of the tension capacity is provided by appropriate doubling up of adjacent joists, "bridge stiffening" (reinforcing) wall top plates if needed, then cutting and "boxing" the one needing removal. Remember, even just normal attic floor joists act as part of the structural support system for the roof - they are the tension members that keep the sloping roof loads from pushing the walls outwards relative to each other, so even if you have rafters instead of roof trusses, the attic floor joists actually act as part of the roof support system as the bottom chord of a rigid support triangle. Without them the walls push apart, and the roof flattens out - so modifying them is not a job for an amateur. Should be designed by an engineer, done by an experienced house construction carpenter.

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Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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