# When considering a swing-down attic ladder, is landing space typically a maximum or minimum value?

I'm looking at installing an attic ladder in my garage. I'm just getting the fuzzy feelings of "I would like to do this project" so I don't have a whole lot of specifics, but in doing the research I'm finding I need to consider my landing space.

It looks like the landing space measurement is how far the ladder base will be from the attachment point in the attic -- essentially with that short side of the triangle needs to be. My concern is with how I want to place the ladder -- I'd like to place it at the top of the stairs between my garage and home. I want to do this because

• This will never have a car in the way
• This allows me to use an 8 ft ladder, as opposed to if I opened it to the garage floor it would be a 13-15 ft ladder
• This will put the ladder at a location in the attic where I can fully stand up

The problem is most 8' ladders I'm looking at suggest a landing space in the range of 60", which I can't meet. Remembering just a little bit about trig, I would think that I could simply swing the ladder closer to the pivot point and shorten it as needed, so I would assume that the landing space measurement is a maximum landing space the fully extended ladder would take, but it could be smaller. Is this a correct assumption?

• One thing to be concerned with is stepping off the ladder with limited space on top of stairs. One oops can hurt, maybe badly. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 16:23
• Yeah, that does look very much like an accident that probably won't wait long to happen. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 16:25
• Moving as far as possible across the landing would help a lot. Build more landing if need be. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 16:37
• every one of these I've had swings down to its angle and that angle could not be adjusted - it is a function of the brace arms. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 17:39
• It strikes me that the easiest thing to do would be to move the ladder mount 12-24" to the right in your drawing. This would give you a minimum of 12" of top step when going up/down the ladder, more would be merrier. Is there a reason you cannot do this? Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:23

For my folding-type attic stairs, the space required to unfold them (without hitting the wall and being blocked) is considerably more than the space needed for them to set on the floor under the opening. About 12" more. That may differ for a sliding-type stair as seems to be illustrated, but fits with the language `key to being able to properly extend the stairs` in your illustration. So for mine, there's definitely a minimum space to unfold that is larger than the space to hit the floor when unfolded.

• I hadn't considered that. While I need to reconsider my plans vis-a-vis safety of the ladder being so close to their stairs, this is good to know. Thank you! Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 17:11

If I understand correctly, you would like to extend the ladder in a more upright position so that the feet land at the edge of the landing of your existing stairs in the garage.

Whether this is mechanically feasible for the ladder depends on the specifics of the ladder. These ladders extend by folding or sliding, and you would have to confirm that the hinge and hinge-arms at the top of the ladder, where attached to the frame & attic floor, have sufficient movement to obtain the steeper angle. You may be able to get the specific technical drawings and specs from the manufacturer. (I couldn't find a link on the spec page for the one you show)

Safety is another concern. You would want some assurance that the feet will not slip off the landing as you are on the ladder.

And when ascending or descending, especially with cargo in your hands, you'd have to be very careful not to mis-step and fall down the existing steps.

Another option for you would be to build a small removable platform that rests on the landing and extends over the existing steps.

This could be accomplished by some plywood hinged at the wall at the top of the landing (right side in your drawing) and with hinged legs that rest on the steps or garage floor (left side of your drawing). It will relieve you of the landing space restriction, and provide you with a safe landing at the bottom of the ladder. Whether this works for your garage depends of course on the specifics of your case.

Anchoring at the wall will provide stability and safety for this platform, but it might also suffice to build a rigid "platform with firm legs on one side" which you would store in the garage and place on the landing when needed. Just don't store it in the attic ;)

(Image hailo.de Hailo TP1 Staircase Platform)

• A simple easy to do idea that make increases safety without losing too much space. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 17:30