enlarging loft access to fit heavy duty wooden loft ladder


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 correctly.
Thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 7 Mar 2007 13:06:30 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com 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. :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 7 Mar, 21:06, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.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.
-Antony
-Antony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.