hi there, could somebody help me out with some essentials on enlarging
my existing loft space so it will accomodate my new loft ladder (with
hatch and door supplied).
I will have to cut through one of the small roof joists so that I have
a 60x120 hole.
Should I nail some 2x2 across the joist I have to cut and the 2 either
side so that is supported whilst I fit the hatch?
Should I also line the hole/entrance with some 2x2 so there is
something for the hatch to fix onto?
Please give me as much information as I need to do this safely and
On 7 Mar 2007 13:06:30 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It is impossible to give any meaningful advice without sight of the
beams and walls underneath.
Can you post a couple of pictures of the site somewhere?
The one really important thing is to make sure that the new ladder
will actually go up into the roof and close properly.
I made a beautiful hatch and then found the new longer ladder would
not go up into the roof, so I had to turn the hatch around. :)
It depends on how near any load bearing walls are to the joist that has to
be cut. Before you cut through the joist you will have to ensure it is
supported, either from above as you suggest, or from below with a prop (or
two) if there is little or no support from any load bearing walls. If you go
for support from above, by fixing two battens or two pieces of joist
off-cuts to the joist to be cut, so that is it supported by the joists on
either side, then screws will probably be safer in case any downwards force
causes the nails to pull out. I can't say whether 2 x 2 is strong enough to
provide temporary support. Once a section of joist has been removed then
pieces of joist-size wood need to be fixed to the cut ends, to form the new
opening, before the support from above or below is removed.
The new enlarged hole should be formed by joists of the same dimensions as
the existing joists, 2 x 2 sounds rather puny to me. If the existing joists
are 4 x 2 then pieces of 4 x 2 should be used, fixed to the existing and cut
ends of the joist, to form a hole just large enough to take the new hatch
and door. Presumably there are fitting instructions for the new hatch which
indicate the size of opening required.
If this heavy duty wooden ladder is the type that telescopes or folds up
into the loft space you need to make sure that there is sufficient clearance
in the loft. Also, the new enlarged opening needs to be structurally sound
in order to support the weight of the ceiling, joists, new ladder and person
climbing the ladder. It is impossible to give safe advice without being able
to see what's involved and without having more information.
When you say "small" roof joists, are you sure that it is a joist? In my
house the joists run right from front to rear of the house, and most of the
pieces of timber going across (apart from the main timbers which are
obviously structural) are just there to give something for the ceiling
plasterboards to be nailed to and maintain the distance between joists, or
to form a frame for the loft opening.
I was under the impression that loft ladders were made to fit in between the
joists specifically to avoid this problem. If yours won't, I would seriously
consider changing it for one that will. If it will fit between the joists,
then just lengthening the opening is much simpler. I would strongly advise
against cutting through any supporting timbers.
On 7 Mar, 21:06, email@example.com wrote:
Here's what I did. First I screwed 4x2 bracing across the tops of the
joists about 6" back from where the hole would be. Don't use nails as
the force of driving them in will loosen the plasterboard below. Then
I cut the joists and plasterboard and fitted a second 4x2 brace
between the joists either side using joist hangers, and screwed
through into the end of the cut joist. This left a hole the exact
length of the loft ladder's frame. There was a small gap down each
side between the frame and the joist which I packed out with timber
scraps. I bolted the sides of the frame to the joists using 10mm coach
bolts. If your ladder doesn't have it's own frame, make your own, or
use the joists+bracing.
I'd suggest buying the timber from a proper merchant, not a DIY shed
as you really want graded C16 or C24 timber, not the cheap rubbish
when you're using small section timber like 4x2 for structural
purposes. Remember the loft ladder is heavy, and so are you and
whatever you'll be carrying up and down it. Predrill and pilot the
holes for the screws and use quality No10's of a sufficient length
(100mm for the bracing). If in doubt get someone in. You're unlikely
to damage the roof just cutting one joist (there's a small risk of the
roof spreading if the bracing failed), but there's a much greater risk
of personal injury if the ladder's attachment to the joists failed
while climbing it.
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