How to Make Loft Hatches

Written by steve sloane
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How to Make Loft Hatches
Use a utility knife to cut through the drywall. (Utility knife image by Andris Daugovich from

Creating a loft hatch opens up an entirely new area in your home to storage, saving money on monthly storage space fees. The first and most important step is deciding what size of hole you want to create in the ceiling. This will have a lot to do with what size objects need to be stored on the roof space. Creating and installing the hole is a fairly simple process if taken in a step-by-step approach.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Long metal ruler
  • Utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • 2-by-8-inch lumber
  • Power saw
  • Medium sandpaper
  • 3-inch wood screws
  • Screw gun
  • 1-by-2-inch lumber
  • 1 5/8-inch wood screws
  • Architrave surround finishing wood
  • 2-inch finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • 1-by-3-inch lumber
  • All-purpose construction glue
  • Primer and paint

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  1. 1

    Choose the location of the loft hatch. Make sure it is easily accessible and in a position where a ladder or steps can be placed underneath.

  2. 2

    Run a stud finder along the ceiling, and mark the sides of the ceiling joists on each side of where the hatch will be cut. Then take a long metal ruler and place it against the ceiling drywall in the location of one joist edge. Run a pencil along the edge of the ruler. Do this against the drywall at the location of the edge of the other joist. You will now have two parallel pencil lines. Join the parallel lines at each end to create an oblong shape to the length that you desire.

  3. 3

    Run a utility knife along all four lines several times, until the drywall is completely cut through. Remove the drywall in one piece and place to one side.

  4. 4

    Measure between the two ceiling joists and cut two 2-by-8-inch pieces of lumber to this length using a power saw. Sand the ends to free them of splinters. Place these newly cut pieces between, and at, 90 degrees to the ceiling joists --- they will run flush with the edges of the hole and be perpendicular to the ceiling joists. Use 3-inch wood screws to hold the two 2-by-8-inch pieces of lumber to the ceiling joists, at each end (three screws per end). The loft hatch now has wood on every side of the hole.

  5. 5

    Measure and cut to length four pieces of 1-by-2-inch lumber so that it runs around the inside perimeter of the hole. Position them so that they cover the cut drywall edge around the bottom of the hole and are also flush with the bottom of the drywall. Screw them into place (into the wood frame) using 1 5/8-inch wood screws.

  6. 6

    Measure and cut architrave surround finishing wood to surround the bottom of the hole, with a 45-degree cut at each corner. Attach the surround to the perimeter of the bottom of the hole to cover the ends of the installed 1-by-2-inch lumber. Use 2-inch finishing nails to do this.

  7. 7

    Take the piece of drywall that was cut out and measure the four sides around the perimeter. Cut four pieces of 1-by-3-inch lumber and stick it to the perimeter of the drywall with all-purpose construction glue. Wait for the glue to dry. Prime all installed wood and paint it to match the surrounding area. Lower the oblong piece of drywall onto the top of the installed 1-by-2-inch lumber to close off the loft area.

Tips and warnings

  • The cover for the hatch can also be made from plywood, by placing the cut-out piece of drywall on top and running a pencil around the perimeter. It can then be cut to the same size as the drywall.
  • If the hatch needs to be larger, a joist can be cut out to a desired length, and then two 2-by-8-inch pieces of lumber can be placed on each side of the hole, perpendicular to the existing ceiling joists on each side. The 2-by-8-inch lumber should be installed with joist hangers. Check first with the local city building department to make sure that the structural integrity of the ceiling will not be compromised.

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