If you’re looking to build your home from scratch but don’t know where to start, it can be challenging to find an answer to the question, what size ladder do I need? After all, most people have never used a ladder before building their house, so they have no frame of reference to compare their experience. 

Here’s how to answer the question, What size ladder do I need? as well as other tips and tricks to help you build your new home quickly and without incident.

Get the Measurements Right

The first step to building a loft ladder is to take measurements. You’ll need to know the distance from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ceiling and the distance from the bottom of the ladder to the floor. 

This will help you decide which size ladder you need. If you’re unsure how to take these measurements, an easy solution is to have someone stand on the ground while another person stands at the top of the ladder.

Then, they can mark the bottom of the ladder and the top of the person’s head. Also, it will help you get the right measurements, and you can always double-check the numbers later to ensure they’re correct.

Use Sturdy, Solid Wood

Once you’ve got the measurements, the next step is to decide on the type of wood you’d like to use. For the most part, you’ll want to avoid using softwoods like pine or fir. These woods are far too weak and can splinter easily. Instead, use hardwood, like oak or maple. 

These types of wood are extremely strong and sturdy, making them ideal for a loft ladder. If you have a large budget for the project, you can even consider using a specialty wood. 

Mahogany is an excellent choice for loft ladders, as it is extremely durable, long-lasting, and beautiful.

Install a Handrail

While many think a loft ladder is only necessary when building a house, you can install a loft ladder whenever you’d like. 

This is especially true if you have young children or someone in the house is elderly. In that situation, a loft ladder can help you get to and from the loft but also help keep a loved one safe. 

If you’re building a new home, you should install a loft ladder as part of the construction. If you’re retrofitting an existing loft ladder, you can install a loft ladder handrail anytime. 

The handrail should be installed outside the loft ladder, about 2-4 inches from the wall. The handrail should also run the entire length of the loft ladder, from top to bottom. This will help keep you safe when using the ladder and make it easier for someone to climb up or down it.

Add Hinges to the Door Before Installing It

If you’re retrofitting an existing loft ladder, you’ll need to install the door first. However, if you are building a new home, you can install the door before you install the ladder. 

This will help make the installation go much smoother. However, you’ll want to ensure the door goes on before you install the ladder. This is because you’ll want to install the hinges on the door before installing the ladder. 

Also, it will make it much easier to install the door after the ladder is in place.

Don’t Forget the Slip-resistant Treads

Next, you’ll want to make sure you have slip-resistant treads on the loft ladder. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s an important feature you shouldn’t overlook. 

Not only will it make the ladder safer to use, but it can help you maintain your homeowner’s insurance. 

If you have wooden treads, you should use a non-slip wood finish. You can also use items like sandpaper or special grip tape to make the treads slip-resistant.

Secure it to the Wall and Ceiling

With the measurements taken, the wood selected, and the door and handrail installed, the next step is to secure the loft ladder to the wall and ceiling. This can be a fairly simple process, but you’ll want to ensure you do it right. 

Once you’ve determined where the ladder will go, you’ll want to make sure you secure it to the wall and ceiling. 

You can do this by either using lag screws or expanding anchors. If the wall is made from a soft material like wood, you’ll want to use the lag screws. If the wall is made from a harder material, like concrete, you’ll want to use expanding anchors.


A loft ladder can be a great addition to any home, whether you’re building a new home or retrofitting an existing one. While building a loft ladder may seem daunting, it can be easy if you follow these tips and proper procedures. Once it’s built, you’ll be glad you took the time to build a loft ladder, as it can make accessing the loft much easier and safer.

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