There is a slippery slope when it comes to home ladder ownership. On one hand, a ladder is almost a necessity to own, used for doing garage maintenance, clearing out gutters and fixing your own garage. At the same time, when the ladder is not in use it can be a huge space-waster and having to move it around isn't worth the hassle. There's a pretty easy solution for those who own a garage and want to install overhead garage storage — installing ceiling brackets to store the ladder out of the way when not in use and conveniently grab it when it's needed. That is also a great way to not have to run to your self storage unit down the street when you need a ladder quickly. Here are some tips on installing the brackets safely and efficiently.
The concept for the ceiling brackets for ladder storage relies on simplicity and convenience. You want to be able to easily get the ladder up on the bracket, roll it back to the rear bracket, and secure the unit in place so it doesn't fall down. Two U-Shaped holders seem to work the best as they only need to be placed to support enough of the middle of the ladder's weight and don't impede space when the ladder is not in storage.
Important Things To Remember
The first thing to take note of is that the two hangers (four, technically) are installed parallel with the ceiling joist, which in turn makes the ladder perpendicular when in storage. This is done so that the “L” brackets can be secured into the wood of the joists. Another thing to take into consideration is how you're going to load the ladder, which will determine the proximity to the back wall. If the garage is big enough to frontload, the back bracket can be placed only a couple inches from the wall. In most cases, the ladder needs to be brought up from the middle onto the back bracket, then pushed up and slid back through the front supporter.
The tools and hardware needed to complete the ceiling brackets for ladder storage consist of:
- Up to 4' or more of 2” X 4” lumber
- (2) 1/2” X 2' threaded steel rod
- (2) 3/4” X 2' hollow steel conduit sleeve or PVC pipe
- (4) 3”- 5” right angle brackets
You'll also need 1/4” X 1” lag bolts for attaching the bracket to the wood, 1/4” X 1-1/2” lag bolts for securing the brackets to the ceiling joists, and an assortment of washers and nuts for securing the rod into place.
Most people want the depth of the ceiling brackets to be as low profile as possible, yet with enough room to tilt the ladder to adequately bring the other end in place (usually about 10”-12”). Take the lumber and cut four pieces of wood all at that exact same height. The steps:
- On each of the wood lumber blocks, drill a 1/2” hole in the center of the block 1-1/2” from the bottom.
- Bolt a right angle bracket in the top-center of each block with the top flush with the wood.
- Next cut the PVC to about 21” in length. The largest ladders are around 18.9” wide and 21” will be the internal width with some wiggle room.
- Take the threaded rod and run it through the wood with the PVC inside. The proper alignment from left to right should be: nut/washer/wood/washer/PVC/washer/wood/washer/nut with the threaded rod running all the way through and secured in place by nuts and lock washers.
Putting up the ceiling brackets for ladder storage is pretty simple. Find the general location in which you want to install the brackets and locate the studs in the ceiling. Lag the brackets into the ceiling making sure the whole unit is level and aligned. (Remember to leave room to slide the ladder on the back.) Once the rear bracket is in place, secure the second one two feet shorter. For example a 6 foot ladder needs 4 feet of space in between the brackets.
Building ceiling brackets for ladder storage is a 1-hour, $20 job that frees up an incredible amount of space either inside the garage or out.
Some final tips: round off the corners of the wood brackets so your tall friends don't concuss themselves. Also, you can tie a rope to one PVC end that can be used to tie up the ladder while in storage, or keep a small bungee nearby to prevent rolling.