The Home Design Bible

Convert a Loft to Make the Most of the Space in Your Home

Convert a Loft to Make the Most of the Space in Your Home

There are several ways to access a loft. You can open the space for building a room or storage by installing a pull-down staircase or set of steps built in the room below. Another option is to create a loft door with a hatch that you access by using a ladder to climb up into the loft. Some homeowners prefer to access a garage loft from the side of the home by cutting through exterior framework and building a door there. Every home is different, so the choice of how to access the loft depends on personal taste and architecture.


Look at your home’s roofline to determine a good place for a loft access. The height of the loft will be taller in places where a roof peaks. Choose a space that is removed from living areas to cut an opening. Select a place in a hallway, garage roof area, laundry room or outside the house. You can build a stairway up to a loft door from the home’s exterior. Read more about how to do this on

Enlist the help of an expert carpenter to evaluate how the home’s rafters and wall framing is constructed. You will need to build support framing around any opening you cut. If there is no access at all to the loft, you will need to remove a section of drywall from a ceiling area or pull off outside masonry siding at the top of your house. You can climb an A-frame ladder and simply tap through the drywall in an interior room or garage area, but wear a mask to avoid breathing dust and falling insulation.

Use a handsaw to cut one rafter to open a loft ceiling. Go into the loft area to measure the exact opening for the access. Drive long nails downward to show an outline of the opening on the ceiling of the room below the loft. Use a carpenter’s square to draw the exact outline. Use a screwdriver or putty knife to remove the drywall in the ceiling area. Ask an expert carpenter to cut all of the rafters with a round-blade electric saw. Build a framing box to fit the exact opening you’ve removed.

Nail the framing box to the perimeter of the opening in sections. Use an electric screwdriver to secure the framing box even tighter. This framing is supporting the floor area you just cut away. You can build a hatch-type door for the loft access by using door framing to finish the bottom of the opening. Cut out a piece of plywood that will fit into the opening to seal off the loft. If you’ve planned to install stairs, build them from 2 x 12 lumbers to create the risers. Cut plywood to form threads for each step.

Build an enclosed staircase to the loft if you have room to construct a stairwell. You will need to enclose the stairs with drywall or panelling of some type on the sides. Keep the draftiness of a loft at bay by installing an interior room door at the bottom of the stairs or at the top. You can move seasonal clothing, boxes, and furniture into the loft more easily if the access has steps versus a pull-down ladder or hatch door.