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Old 12-10-2018, 01:18 PM   #1
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Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway


I would like to install a pull-down attic stairway in my garage to use the space above for storage only. I had planned to do the carpentry myself, but when I discovered that the ceiling joists were 2 x 12, 16 ioc, I had second thoughts. (I'm not sure why there are 2 x 12 joists in the garage when there are 2 x 8, 16 ioc throughout the rest of the house.) There is also a large structural beam in the middle of the attic. Anyway, I was willing and confident in cutting one 2 x 8 joist in order to install an attic stairway, but am hesitant in cutting one 2 x 12 joist because I don't want to compromise the structural integrity of the house. Should this be a concern, or should I just proceed the same way I would as if there were 2 x 8 in joists? Or alternatively, is there another solution to a pull-down stairway? Thank you for any assistance and information you can provide!
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Old 12-10-2018, 01:25 PM   #2
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Re: Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway


Unless you have something very strange (beam carrying joist does not sound like it) just box it out well to the neigboring joists just like any joist system.)

Be happy you have 2x12 for better live load..... but do know that your ceiling joist were probably not designed t carry much live load. Don't overload without an engineering check/confirmation.
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Old 12-10-2018, 01:53 PM   #3
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Re: Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway


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I'm not sure why there are 2 x 12 joists in the garage when there are 2 x 8, 16 ioc throughout the rest of the house.
My first guess is the unsupported span of the joists in the garage is greater than the unsupported span in the house. (In other words, you may have some weight bearing walls in the house, reducing the span)
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:19 PM   #4
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Re: Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway


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Originally Posted by MTN REMODEL LLC View Post
Unless you have something very strange (beam carrying joist does not sound like it) just box it out well to the neigboring joists just like any joist system.)

Be happy you have 2x12 for better live load..... but do know that your ceiling joist were probably not designed t carry much live load. Don't overload without an engineering check/confirmation.
Yep I agree - I just checked mine and I have 2x10s - put in stairs and 3/4" plywood and now store T-Giving/X-Mas decorations up there (and my 200+ pds when wandering around up there) - all good
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:23 PM   #5
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Re: Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway


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Originally Posted by Oso954 View Post
My first guess is the unsupported span of the joists in the garage is greater than the unsupported span in the house. (In other words, you may have some weight bearing walls in the house, reducing the span)
Highly likely yes - probably got a strongback or two across the joists in the garage too I bet. My garage 2x10 joists span about 20' with a 2x4 strongback at each 1/3
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Old 12-10-2018, 03:59 PM   #6
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Re: Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway


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Highly likely yes - probably got a strongback or two across the joists in the garage too I bet. My garage 2x10 joists span about 20' with a 2x4 strongback at each 1/3
Strongbacks? Are you taking about the flat 2x4 laying across the top of the joists. We call them catwalks.
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Old 12-10-2018, 05:42 PM   #7
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Re: Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway


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Originally Posted by River432 View Post
I would like to install a pull-down attic stairway in my garage to use the space above for storage only. I had planned to do the carpentry myself, but when I discovered that the ceiling joists were 2 x 12, 16 ioc, I had second thoughts. (I'm not sure why there are 2 x 12 joists in the garage when there are 2 x 8, 16 ioc throughout the rest of the house.) There is also a large structural beam in the middle of the attic. Anyway, I was willing and confident in cutting one 2 x 8 joist in order to install an attic stairway, but am hesitant in cutting one 2 x 12 joist because I don't want to compromise the structural integrity of the house. Should this be a concern, or should I just proceed the same way I would as if there were 2 x 8 in joists? Or alternatively, is there another solution to a pull-down stairway? Thank you for any assistance and information you can provide!
River..

Can you post up some photo's?

What's the headroom in the garage attic?

What's the span for the 2 x 12 joists?

Is there any support posts in the garage that tie into that structural beam?
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Old 12-10-2018, 06:56 PM   #8
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Re: Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway


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Strongbacks? Are you taking about the flat 2x4 laying across the top of the joists. We call them catwalks.
LOL - down here catwalks are a "bridge" crossing 2 open areas on the upper stories of a house

And our strongbacks are made up of either 2x4 or 2x6 laying flat and another nailed to that one up on its side, so like an L
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Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway-catwalk.jpg   Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway-strongback.jpg  
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Old 12-10-2018, 07:16 PM   #9
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Re: Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway


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Originally Posted by Texasdiyer View Post
LOL - down here catwalks are a "bridge" crossing 2 open areas on the upper stories of a house

And our strongbacks are made up of either 2x4 or 2x6 laying flat and another nailed to that one up on its side, so like an L
Thank you, and that makes sense, The truss companies call for a 1x4 or 2x4 across the top of trusses to hold them on layout and tie the 2 ends of the building together and they call them cat walks. I have done what you described but never had a name for it. And they would make sense on ceiling joists to help spread the load.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:33 AM   #10
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Re: Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway


Thank you for all the great responses! I have taken some measurements and also attached some photos of the attic space. The 2 x 12 joists in the garage ceiling are 22' long, but do not tie into the rafters. (It is not a truss system and there is plenty of head room to walk around.) Also the support beam is not supported by any support posts in the garage.

I have taken six photos of the attic space, with the last photo showing approximately where I would like to install a pull-down attic stairway. I would like to install it to the closest joist to the support beam and adjacent to the strongback that runs down the center of the attic space. (The top of a sheet of plywood covers the location.) Even at that location, I will have plenty of head room to enter the attic space through the stairway.

I intend to install a Werner 25 x 54 attic ladder. Hopefully, I can complete this task by installing double 2 x 12 headers without having to double up the joists on either side of the joist that has to be cut. Transporting and installing 22' joists in the attic space could prove to be difficult.

Thanks again for any input or information you can provide. I appreciate it.
Attached Thumbnails
Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway-100_2932.jpg   Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway-100_2933.jpg   Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway-100_2934.jpg   Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway-100_2935.jpg   Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway-100_2936.jpg  

Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway-100_2938.jpg  
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:24 PM   #11
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Re: Installation of Pull-Down Attic Stairway


Strange way to build that. For one more beam they could have made that a usable floor.
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