damaged drop down attic stairs

My uncle has wooden drop down attic stairs installed in his home. Unfortunately, the rivet holding the ladder at the top has broken. These stairs are about 30 years old, brand unknown. Would it be more cost and time effective to replace them or can they be fixed? Any suggestions are welcome.
Thanks for any help anyone can offer.
Bobbie snipped-for-privacy@swbell.net
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Not being able to see them, I can't say for sure. In many cases though, a rivet can be replaced by a bolt, nut, washers. A new set is about $200 IIRC.
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If you go with the nut/bolt option, make sure that you either use a second nut as a "jam" nut or use a locking nut. You can't tighten down the nut enough to use a lock washer, if you still need the joint to move.
NJBrad
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On 11 Jul 2004 10:47:47 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@swbell.net (Bobbie Verstraete) wrote:

Just as a personal observation, in my experience, if one of the rivets has broken the others are probably questionable. I would seriously consider replacing the entire set. I got halfway down a set of those a couple years ago when they suddenly dropped me about 6 inches when something broke. I removed them and replaced. Like a ladder that has broken, it is smarter to replace than take a chance. Falls can be very hard on you, even if only from ceiling height.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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<snip>

ONLY from ceiling height? ;-)
I like your sense of understatement, Tim.
Patriarch
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On Mon, 12 Jul 2004 03:51:42 GMT, patriarch

Many years ago I fell 20+ feet on a construction job. Didn't get hurt too badly thanks to all the things I hit on my way down that sort of broke it up into a series of 5-6' falls.
Falling from any height hurts big time.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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A good friend, an electrician, fell from 8', off of a platform. It almost killed him. He plays golf left-handed now, but nowhere as well as before. Woodworking, once a hobby, is now something he appreciates, but cannot do. He supervises a crew now, rather than being hands-on, in his specialty.
I buy only good ladders, and use them with care. Don't like those folding attic ladders at all.
Patriarch
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On Mon, 12 Jul 2004 19:42:13 GMT, patriarch

I am very grateful that I never hurt myself seriously in a fall. I was often worried that what happened with your friend, or worse, would happen to me. I've always hated heights, but seemed to end up working up high a lot.

As I've gotten older I have gotten heavier and the ladders I trusted when I weighed 200 lbs don't seem so good now that I'm 275. Factor in some tools and stuff and don't even consider a ladder rated for less than 300 lbs.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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My daughter has nearly the same problem, but the rivet didn't break, it just pulled out of the hole. Haven't gotten to it yet, but I'm going to repair it with a bolt and doubled nuts to lock them.
--
Nahmie
The law of intelligent tinkering: save all the parts.
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I think there's only 2-3 companies who are producing attic stairs in volume. They all follow a standard cutout dimension. You can buy a good wooden set for under $100. If you want to step up to metal, I think you're looking at close to $200. They are available at Lowe's and Home Depot.
Money should not be the governing factor for repair/replacement. I'd consider replacement and go with a heavier duty set.
Bob
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If you are the person that will be doing the repair, then I would yes it worth the time to replace the rivets (all of them).
If you have to hire someone else to do the work, then I would hire them to install a new ladder.
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