How much does attic ladder installation cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does attic ladder installation cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does attic ladder installation cost?

$350 – $1,000average replacement cost
$1,500 – $2,500with structural modifications or high-end ladder

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$350 – $1,000 average replacement cost

$1,500 – $2,500 with structural modifications or high-end ladder

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tom Grupa
Written by
Tom Grupa
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Average attic ladder installation cost

Attic ladder installation costs $350 to $1,000 for a basic replacement including labor and materials. Complex attic ladders installations cost $1,000 to $2,500 for projects that require structural modifications or use a high-end ladder. The overall costs depend on the complexity of the setup, ceiling height, ladder material, and the geographic location.

Attic ladder installation cost - Chart
Attic ladder installation cost - Chart
Average attic ladder installation cost
Project type Average cost installed
Basic replacement $350 – $1,000
Complex/custom installation or high-end ladder $1,000 – $2,500

Cost to install attic ladder by material type

The material of the ladder plays a significant role in the overall cost. Here are the average costs of attic ladders by material type:

Cost to install attic ladder by material type
Material Type Ladder price range Average cost installed Details
Aluminum $250 – $750 $400 – $1,000 Lightweight build and rust-, rot- and fire-resistant properties
Wood $100 – $900 $250 – $1,100 Most common and cost-effective ladder. Prices vary depending on the wood quality and design.
Steel $450 – $2,000 $600 – $1,500 Preferred for their strength and durability, especially for high-use attics. Moisture- and fire-resistant.

A pull-down attic ladder in a residential home.
A pull-down attic ladder in a residential home.

Custom attic stairs cost

Custom attic stairs cost $1,000 to $2,500 or more if the installation requires structural changes like modifying floor joists or trusses. Building custom attic stairs requires hiring an architect and structural engineer which adds significantly to the overall costs.

Attic ladder installation cost breakdown

The cost of installing an attic ladder includes several factors:

Attic ladder installation cost factors
Factor Average cost
Attic ladder $200 – $600
Labor cost to install $150 – $400
Average total cost installed $350 – $1,000

Labor costs to replace attic ladder

For basic jobs, the average labor cost to replace an attic ladder is $150 to $400 for 2 to 4 hours of work. Handymen charge $50 to $125 per hour depending on the project’s complexity and requirements.

If the installation requires structural changes or if the existing attic access needs to be enlarged, labor costs increase significantly.

Ladder materials

The cost of the attic ladder itself averages $200 to $600, depending on the material, height, recessed opening length, weight rating, features, number of steps, and certifications.

Additional materials such as wood for framing the attic opening, fasteners, and trim add to the overall materials cost.


Basic attic ladder replacements typically do not require a permit. New installations or projects that involve significant structural changes are more likely to require a permit that costs $150 on average. Permit requirements depend on your location and local building codes. Ask your contractor to advise if they’re necessary.

Preparation and additional costs

Additional costs include the creation of a new hole, removing the old attic ladder, enlarging the existing hole, cutting through ceiling joists, and drywalling and painting after installation. Additional improvements may include:

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a fire-rated attic ladder?

Whether you need a fire-rated attic ladder depends on the building codes and regulations in your area. Check with your local building department. Fire-rated attic ladders may be required if your attic is considered a habitable space or is an emergency escape route.

Can I DIY install an attic ladder?

While it's possible for a handy homeowner to install an attic ladder, it's generally recommended to hire a professional, especially if structural changes are needed. Professional installation ensures safety and proper fit.

How long does it take to install an attic ladder?

The average attic ladder installation takes a professional 2 to 4 hours, depending on the complexity of the job. A basic installation without any structural or remodeling work is typically quicker and cheaper.

Can you cut ceiling joists for attic access?

Cutting ceiling joists for attic access is generally not recommended as it can compromise the structural integrity of your home. Hire a structural engineer or a licensed contractor who can assess your specific situation.

What size attic ladder do I need?

The size of the attic ladder you need depends on the height of your ceiling and the size of the attic access point. Standard ceiling heights are around 8 to 9 feet, but if your ceiling is higher, you may need a longer ladder. Also, the ladder should fit correctly into the attic access point for ease of use and safety.

How much weight can an attic ladder hold?

Residential attic ladders hold between 250 to 350 pounds on average. The weight capacity of an attic ladder depends on its build and material.

Getting estimates from attic ladder installers

When getting estimates from contractors for attic ladder installation, be sure to:

  • Get at least three estimates to compare.

  • Look for licensed, insured, and bonded contractors with experience.

  • Ask for references or a portfolio of past projects.

  • Browse their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.

  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.

  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Use a payment plan instead for work completed.

Questions to ask

Ask contractors these questions to ensure you're getting an accurate quote:

  • What does your quote include? Are both materials and labor costs covered?

  • Are there any additional costs that might come up during the installation?

  • Do you offer a warranty or guarantee on your work?

  • What kind of attic ladder would you recommend and why?

  • How long will the installation take?

  • Can you provide references from previous clients?