Sliding Library Ladder Tutorial

7 Materials
$210
12 Hours
Medium

We've been planning this project for years! We have a nook above our living space that was not functinoal as it was not accessible. I've been dreaming of a sliding ladder but the sticker shock was real. Pricing them out, we were going to have to spend $1500+. So I decided to DIY. Or should I say enlist my husband.

Ladder Track & Hardware

I purchased a track off Amazon for $99! It came with everything but the wheels for the ladder part that touches the floor. Those were $55 and well worth it! The hardware also comes with explicit instructions for installation!

I created a quick graphic to hopefully help with the process I'm about to explain for building this ladder!

Choosing Lumber

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We actually had the wood milled at a local saw mill. Nathan is friends with the owner and actually got to be there when our wood was milled and capture it on video. It was pretty cool to see our lumber being made from an actual tree and create a ladder from it.

We purchased (3) 2×3 inch rough sawn boards, 12′ in length for about $60.


Planing the Wood

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Once we got these home, Nathan planed them using a planer to get them nice and smooth. Enjoy the commentary on this next video, haha! It does show a good example of him planing the boards though!


Cutting Your Boards

This is where you’ll want to get the height from you ladder bracket you installed inside. Measure from the top of the bracket to the floor. Remember this measurement!Ours was 101″.He first measured a 101″ line (yours will be whatever your measurement above is) just for a reference line on the ground and snapped a chalk line. Once his chalk line was snapped he used his 2′ framing square to measure another line to create his right angle, which would ideally be our floor inside.He then used a speed square to find the angle created by the brackets, by laying the wood on the chalked lines as so.

Once you have the length of your ladder, cut two of your pieces of lumber to this length. Ours came out to be about 102.25″. Then cut the last piece into 16″ pieces for your ladder rungs.

Drilling & Securing Ladder

Once your rungs are cut, drill a pocket hole into the bottom of the rung, on each side. This is where you will hide your screws, so they are not visible when the ladder is up. Put them into place between your two vertical pieces of lumber. We had also already installed the upper ladder hardware at this point.

Mark where each ladder rung will be at. You can see the pencil marks below where we has marked where each ladder rung will be located and centered. Then use this to drill your 5/8″ holes, where you will also hide support screws.

Then use clamps to hold your ladder rungs into place, and use 2 3/4″ screws to secure the rungs in the kreg jig holes you drilled previously. At this point you’ll want to take your ladder inside and hang it on the track. While it’s hanging, level your steps using a small level, and using 4″ screws, secure them in place through the 5/8″ holes you drilled on the side.

Plugging Holes

Using a 5/8″ dowel rod, plug your holes by gluing them with wood glue. Then cut the excess off, and sand flat.

Wheels

Once you’ve finished this, you’re ready to add your wheels. While your ladder is on the track, place your wheels next to it, and mark where you’ll want them so that they are touching the floor. Your ladder should not be touching the floor! All hardware comes with explicit instructions on where to install these, and the tools needed. You will have to remove the wheels from the hardware with an allen wrench provided to install them, then place them back on.

After - Sliding Library Ladder

I chose to finish my ladder using a dark walnut tinted danish oil but that part is completely up to you! You could paint, stain, oil, or just leave bare!


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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Dawn Renee' Lemons Freeman
    on Apr 20, 2020

    Soooo...What are you using the nook for?!?

    We once lived in a house with vaulted ceilings in every room and I often thought, if we owned the house, I'd build lofts in each of the rooms to be used as play, study or simply storage space. That's why I'm dying to know!

    • Jody Price
      on Apr 26, 2020

      Please! Talk to me about your old Windows! The look great!!! I have 10 waiting for me to use. Did you leave the glass in? How did you hang them? How did you hang the pictures on top of them? I absolutely love your ladder! I have 2 sets of floor to ceiling bookcases that need ladders. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

Join the conversation

2 of 8 comments
  • Robyn Garner
    on May 2, 2020

    Initially I thought the ladder went to nowhere. GREAT space you created upstairs lol!

  • Mayra
    on May 18, 2020

    wow............great job. love it. thanks for sharing

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