My folks recently built themselves a tiny house on their property for guests with a loft to maximize their 240 sq. ft of space. But, in the mix of things they hadn't gotten themselves any stairs to the loft yet. Sadly when I came to visit I was unable to sleep up in the loft. But that was quickly remedied. And now they have stairs thanks to a few hours and the help of some basic tools.
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
You'll need the following supplies:
- 2 - 2"x6" 8' lengths (for the ladder frame)
- 6 - 2"x6" 2' lengths (for stairs / runners)
- 6' of quarter round oak (pine would work fine too)
- Some 1 1/2 " wood screws
- Some 4" wood screws
- Circular saw
- Jig Saw
- Drill / Driver
- Speed Square
Step 2: Determine the Angle of Rest
Start with one of the 8' sections of 2x6 and lean it up agains the loft from the floor.
Meaure the angle that the 2x6 makes with the perpendicular to the floor.
Or, put more simple, figure out what angle you'll need to make the notch which fits onto the lip of the loft. This angle is important as all steps, end cuts and the lip notch will all be tilted at this angle.
Using a speed square I determined that 15 degrees was not too steep and yet provided a nice compact set of stairs.
Mark where the lip of the loft will meet the ladder frame. Mark out a square here at the appropriate angle (15 degrees) and using the jig saw cut out the notch.
Step 3: Trim the Ends
In order for the ladder to set flush with the floor, the ends need to be trimmed at the previously determined angle. In my case this was 15 degrees. A quick mark with the speed square and cut with circular saw was all it took.
I went ahead and made a similar cut at the top of the ladder frames for aesthetic appeal.
Step 4: Mark Off Your Steps and Install Quarter Round Supports
Start by marking the first and last step placements on one of the ladder frame 2x6's. It was helpful to simply position the 2x6 where it was going to go, pretend to take a step and mark where it felt comfortable to step first.
Likewise you want to envision stepping off the ladder at the top. It's really much easier if you'r last step is the loft platform itself. I suggest making the last ladder step slightly below the loft cutout lip (on the ladder frame).
Then, measuring out the distance between the first and last steps mark off where the additional 3 or 4 steps (or more) will be placed.
Now, using the speed square, mark a line at the correct angle and position along the frame for where the step will be placed. For me it was again 15 degrees.
Cut 5" supports out of the quarter round. I used oak for 2 reasons: I had it on hand, and it's super solid.
I had to drill pilot holes in the quarter round, no problem there. Screw them into the ladder frame with the 1 1/2" wood screws.
Step 5: Attach the Steps
Using the 4" screws from the side of the frame into the short end of the step attach each step to one side of the ladder frame.
And then the other.
This would have been difficult with one person. So I got my pops to help me out here.
The steps should sit flush on the quarter round for vertical support.
Step 6: Install at Tiny House Loft
Finally, lug your beast of a ladder to the tiny house and instal where it makes the most sense. If you leave it free, you can slide it from side to side.
But, for safety sake you may want to at least somewhat secure the ladder to the loft so that halfway up your climb you don't fall over backwards, ladder and all.
All in all, a good looking, simple and effective ladder!