Attic ladders

Would like to get everyone’s feedback and opinion on a few items with attic pull-down ladders.

  1. Do you write up attic ladders that when accessing the attic terminate into the roof and you have to physically turn 180 degrees and walk the edge of the ladder framing to gain access to the landing. Why or why not and if so do you have a write up comment for this.

  2. We know attic ladders installed in a garage need to be fire rated but what if the attic ladder is installed in the house and just above you have a gas furnace and gas water heater? Would you write this up as a concern or not.

Any detailed explanation or reasoning for both would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Some are fire rated, they are almost never installed per manufacturers requirements, when I see one installed correctly, it is a “Wow” moment. Most of them have stickers right on the door which lay out the installation requirements.

Amen to that. Right up there with finding grounded 3-prong outlets in an older home :slight_smile:

A gas water heater in the attic could prove problematic due to freezing . Unless it is listed for that type of installation.

With pull down attic ladders I of course check to see if it was properly/safely installed.
I usually recommend they install an insulation tent to help with heat loss as they rarely seal well.
Also, I typically recommend a simple guard railing be installed on 3 sides of the opening in the attic. Just to help prevent someone from backing into the opening when they are up there moving boxes around.

I called out one last week that was poorly installed and not fire rated. The realtor blurts out “That’s the first time in 25 years I’ve ever had an inspector call that out”. “Maybe you should start using InterNACHI trained inspectors” says me. “What’s that?” she says.

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Derek, agree. I have mentioned to Nick on occasion to start an REA only message board. I have trained several successful REA’s due to lack of knowledge of the home or of a home inspection. If Nick marketed to the REA’s such as he has with HI’s, we would be more successful.


They are excellent ideas, it would be great to see their successful implementation.

I don’t see many attic ladders, but when I do, they’re usually broken or having a missing screw.

I often end up using my own ladder anyway.

Like this? :smiley:

I’d guess 65% or more of the time after looking at the attic pull-down installation I go get my own ladder to use.

Yep seen to many that are waiting to trap some one .
I usually used my own ladder .

required, i report deficiencies, ignore the ignorant & direct any questions to mfr & ahj

most attic stair units are labeled by the manufacture 16-16d nails or ¼”x3" lags screws are permitted as in Eric’s pic

How about this?
attic (2).JPG

attic (2).JPG

Hopefully a 6 penny finishing nail will suffice!:wink:

Most of the houses in Wisconsin have basements and the pull down stairs is mainly for storing things in the attic. Because the attic floor can not be properly insulated where they store things and the pull down stairs can not be insulated properly I recommend they remove the stairs, put in a scuttle hole, seal and insulate properly and store things in the basement or give them to Good Will.

I don’t ever remember seeing a “fire rated” ladder installed especially in garages. This is from my last two inspections… I always note them as safety defects when installed in garages since they don’t have a 20 minute fire separation label. Also, deficiencies in the legs are also noted if visible.

Once I saw a piece of type-X drywall glued to the garage side of the plywood. The springs didn’t have the strength to keep the door closed…also I don’t think it was UL tested :roll:

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Maybe someone will answer the Question. Does a drop down ladder within interior of residence (not in garage) have to be fire rated? I have not seen any answers to that. Forget about the water heater and furnace above it. In General if an attic drop down ladder is located in master bedroom closet, does the cover have to be fire rated. Either metal sheet or 5/8" drywall? or is it ok to have a regular drop down ladder within residence (Home Improvement Centers I never see fire rated drop down ladders)