Attic Pull Down Stairs

Hello, I am not an inspector but a prospective home buyer. Not sure if I am breaking any forum rules here but I just have a question after reading the Homeowners Handbook.

At the end of Chapter 1, the book says, “Cutting out parts of a ceiling to install a whole house fan or a pull down access stair is a common and costly error”

After reading this, I am now wondering if installing an attic pull down stairs is not a good idea? Or is it implying that such work is usually not done properly so can lead to problems? I am currently under contract to buy a home with attic access through a small opening in the ceiling of the master bedroom closet. I wanted to build a pull down stair in the hallway for better access.

Any help would be great! :slight_smile:

If it is done properly there is no problem…


Follow the installation instructions and if it’s truss construction, don’t cut out any bottom chords.

Where the instructions say, “use nails”, then use nails, not screws.

Of course the ,“it’s ok” statements are based on installing the access inside the house as stated, not inside the garage.

Thanks for all of the replies!

Check out this information:

Do not use wood-type stairways. They are commonly unsafe due to splitting of wood. Use aluminum-type. Install it per manufacturer’s recommendations, and you will not have a problem.

I concur with the book, 60% of the pulldown stairs I inspect are improper.

The installation directions are right there on the stairs half of the time.
Just a matter of installing them correctly.

Thats the problem with instructions, nobody reads them. :wink:

Amen. I see them with loose/missing nuts and bolts all the time as well.