DIY: Wooden Loft Ladder

Written by becky lower
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DIY: Wooden Loft Ladder
Turn a loft space into usable floor space by adding a ladder. (cat in loft image by Charlene Bayerle from

Making use of available loft space enables a homeowner to take advantage of every inch of floor space. Lofts can be used for storage of seasonal items or can serve as a guest bedroom. Loft ladders are an excellent way to access the space, since they are minimally invasive yet sturdy enough for everyday wear and tear. If constructed from wood, they add an element of charm and comfort to a room. They are also considerably less expensive to build than a set of stairs.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Two 12-foot 2-by-4s
  • Two 8-foot long 2-by-3s
  • Clamps
  • 21/2-inch deck screws
  • Measuring tape
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Table saw
  • Drill with countersink bit
  • Hammer
  • Chisel

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  1. 1

    Clamp the 12-foot boards together with the ends flush.

  2. 2

    Mark off the notches along the skinny sides of the boards, starting at one end. Measure down 8 inches and make a mark. This is the top of the upper rang and will extend 21/2 inches. Mark the bottom of the rang.

  3. 3

    Mark the bottom rang on the opposite end of the 12-foot board by measuring up 8 inches and making a mark. This is the bottom of the lowest rang and will extend up 21/2 inches. Mark the top of this rang.

  4. 4

    Mark off the remainder of the rungs from the top 8-inch mark in 16-inch increments. The next mark will be the centre position of the rang. Mark 11/4 inches above and below this centre position mark.

  5. 5

    Square off these marks so both clamped 2-by-4s are marked. Mark the sides of each 2-by-4 at every notch 11/8 inches deep.

  6. 6

    Set the depth of the table saw to 11/8 inches. Make a series of cuts in each notch, about 1/4-inch apart. Hammer and chisel the wood from these notches until they are clean. Unclamp the uprights and set them aside.

  7. 7

    Cut the 2-by-3s into 19-inch lengths. You'll need nine lengths.

  8. 8

    Attach each rang to the uprights by first placing glue in the notch, then placing the rang. Countersink two screws in each side of the rang.

  9. 9

    Add a coat of varnish, stain or paint to protect the ladder.

Tips and warnings

  • Match the wood used for the ladder to the wood flooring of the loft.

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