Cutting hole in ceiling to gain access to attic????

I have to create some kind of access to my attic. I haven't decided where to cut yet. I have a hallway with 3 bedrooms and a bath. The closets are not very big and I would have to move everything every time I needed access. (admittedly not to often) But the closets would hide the access panel the best.
a couple of questions.
1. Can I cut a rafter and box it out or do I have to keep the with of the opening to around 16" between the rafters???
2. If I do this in a more prominent area of the ceiling how do I reproduce the finish on the access panel to match the rest of the ceiling??
The ceiling now has a rough texture to it. almost looks like sweeps of a trowel but it a random pattern. Its not like my parents house where the ceiling as a very distinct pattern that looks like it would be difficult to match.
I'm hoping to cut about an 18" x 24" finished size hole. Ad a thin frame around the opening that will hold a panel that would be finished to match the current ceiling pattern.
It this a special paint that bubbles up or is it some kind of plaster????
Again, If I can get the success into a closet the finish isn't as critical but the closets are also towards the outside of the house and headroom in the attic above is a problem..
Thanks for any advice
Steve
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That is where mine is.

Done properely, it can be boxed. Find out how before you go ahead. I did something like that in my garage. I put bracking between the joists first, then made the cut, then put an additional face board on the cut surface.

Not easily.

Are you referring to the "popcorn" ceiling? If so, it is a sprayed on finish. Ask at a good paint store as I understand there is something available.
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have only nail/screw holes to repair.

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joists not rafters? Go the the library and get a framing book (I like Ching's Construction illustrated). It will tell you when you need to double header and double trimmer the opening. That is if it is stick framed. If it has prefab trusses you may have to get a pro to look it over but still can be done.

Don't try to match it. If it is in the closet, just make a nice finished door panel. In a hall consider a prefabricated drop down stairway (most often used when no room for a fixed stairway). Usually the hall will offer the most headroom.

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What type of houses don't have access to the attics? Mine was built in the 1950s and there is a closet. Open it and walk up the stairs. It's over top the basement stairs, but closed off from the basement. I guess it depends on what part of the country/world you live in.
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a lot of flat roof houses in my area don't. there's only about a foot or less clearance anyway, so it's not like someone's going to get up there and crawl around anyway.
regards, charlie cave creek, az http://glassartists.org/chaniarts
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Stephen King wrote:

Would you believe brand new ones? My in-laws are having a house built; I noticed there was no attic access. I had them talk to the builder about adding some way to get to the enormous space. Builder said "no".
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On Fri, 07 Oct 2005 13:33:45 -0400, JohnH wrote:

That's a little hard to believe. In fact, I'd have to say "bullshit" to that claim.
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"JohnH" wrote

Attic accesses are required for any attic that has a clear ceiling height of 30 inches or more, and the opening needs to be a minimum of 22 inches by 30 inches in size.
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Steve wrote:

You don't cut rafters unless you have consulted an engineer first unless you like surprises.

You don't, at least not easily. Plan having it show, but maybe just not look too bad.

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Joseph Meehan

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Consider pulldown stairs ? http://www.homestore.com/HomeGarden/HomeImprovement/HowTos/HowTos/CRHO_AddingPullDownStairs.asp?poe=homestore

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