Sometimes, an attic door is just not enough. Sometimes you need two doors to keep everything in your attic organized and secure. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to make a hinged door for your attic.
1. Measure the width and height of your attic opening
Before you start making any new openings in your home, it’s important to figure out their measurements. Your local hardware store is a great place to find the tools and materials you need for this project.
To begin, measure the width of your attic opening (horizontal measurement). If you don’t know the width already, use the measuring tape to mark both edges of where your door will be placed inside of the opening. Then measure between these two markings; this is the width.
Next, measure from one edge to the other at both top and bottom (vertical measurements). Add these together for your height measurement or remember what number works best with the size of lumber available at your local hardware store.
“Measurements taken! How’s it going so far?”
2. Determine the type of roof opening you have
Before you can begin work on your door, you need to know what type of roof opening you have. The types are gable or hip/valley, which should be easily identified by any professional carpenter or construction worker. There are countless definitions for each type, but there are a couple basics to keep in mind while making your door:
Gable openings are triangular-shaped at both top and bottom while hip/valley ones are four-sided, with two sides attached at angles that form a valley toward the middle elevations of either side. Hip roofs usually have lots of angles where shingles meet while valleys tend toward straight lines. The diagram below should show you what we mean:
“Is that a gable or hip roof?”
Since the only difference between these types of roofs is how they look from the outside, your measurements will be similar for both. There can be slight discrepancies in size depending on where exactly your door will be installed and which type of opening it is going to cover. Just make sure to take accurate measurements before going out to purchase lumber.
3. Take note of any obstructions inside the attic
Before you begin building anything inside your home, it’s important to remember about other things that might get in the way while you’re working inside. If you have electrical wiring or other obstructions above opening, it’s important to determine their placement before you begin any door construction.
“Remember to take note of obstructions!”
There are some things that can be done to avoid these, but if they’re present in your attic, it’s a good idea just to keep them in mind as you start building your door. If left out of the equation completely, there is a much larger chance for error and even danger when working inside a small space with power tools nearby.
4. Measure from bottom edge of opening through ridge line to bottom edge of opposite side
After deciding on the best location for the entrance to your new attic door along with what type roof opening you have, measure from one bottom edge of the roof toward the other at both top and bottom.
“Measure from the edge of the opening through to either side.”
These measurements can be a little tricky, but they’re important for making sure that your door will fit and close properly. For this part, it’s best to keep in mind that you’ll need room on both sides of the door for hinges and closure hardware; plan accordingly!
5. Measure height of roof ridge along each side
Now measure from where one bottom edge meets the top (ridge) toward the other top edge at both right and left elevations (wherever you choose). Again, make sure to give yourself enough space to work inside as well as room for closures and hinges on all sides. This includes allowing enough space above opening so that door can open completely.
6. Measure distance between two opposite roof ridges
Last but not least, measure the width between both opposing ridge lines on all sides of your opening, directly across from each other. This will give you an idea about how tall your door should be to clear these ridges. Keep in mind that the higher the ridge is, the bigger space you’ll need for clearance when building or buying a door that fits into this type of opening!
“Measure where the two ridge lines meet.”
After taking careful measurements around your roof opening, take them to local hardware store to find suitable lumber for construction of your new attic door. Once materials are obtained and returned home with carpenter or hired handyman, statement below can be used as reference for building a hinged attic door. Once door is completed, proceed with step-by-step installation instructions below!
7. How to build a hinged attic door
A majority of problems encountered when trying to install an attic access point happen due to errors in measuring during the construction process. There is simply no way around it; if you want your new doorway to fit correctly and work properly without hassle you need accurate measurements beforehand. It becomes very important to take measurements of the space you are looking to access as well as where exactly your door will be installed. If not done properly, it’s almost guaranteed that your new hinged attic door will be too large or too small for proper installation and use.
“If you do not have accurate measurements before starting construction of your hinged attic door, you may end up with a finished project that does not fit!”
Before trying to build anything on your own, it’s worth considering hiring a contractor (or at least someone with experience) due to the inherent dangers involved. However, if you’re determined to go ahead and build on your own using this guide, first check some considerations listed!