How to Create Storage Space over a Garage

Answered by Brendan ~ December 3, 2009 ~ Comments

When considering home addition(s) to provide extra storage space, I noticed that there is a large space between the ceiling and roof of my attached garage. However there is no access to this space. How can I install a trapdoor, ladder?

Cassidy K. ~ Seattle, Washington

Brendan Fowler

Create Storage Space over a GarageFirst, I am going to address the first part or theme of this question. Attic storage space. Attic storage is kind of a misnomer; attics are not typically engineered for storage. This means that the ceiling is designed to hold sheetrock, not you and your families beloved ship anchor. When attic space is designated as storage space, a structural engineer will have to assume that you are going to subject that space to some very serious loads, and it will be built very differently from your typical attic.

Now to your question concerning attic ladders, and installation. Attic ladders are widely available from most lumberyards, and online. Here are the first two things you will need to take into consideration when starting this project. Ceiling height and the spacing on your ceiling joists, 16" on center (often abbreviated as O.C.) or 24" O.C.?

Attic ladders come in widths to fit between 24" O.C. joists, and wider. You will also need to plan the placement of the ladder, and you will have to decide on what type of ladder you want. There are many options when it comes to attic ladders, and you will just have to do a little research and pick the one that you think will suit your needs the best. All ladder manufacturers have good directions on what pre-installation requirements are needed. The installation is normally straight forward, and it helps to have two people for the installation.

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