Fitting a Stira
Guide and walk through to fitting a Stira
When first looking at fitting a Stira it may seem daunting, but don’t worry fitting is not such a big job. Unlike many “DIY” products you need not worry about assembly, we’ve taken care of that at the factory. All you need do is cut or enlarge the opening and fit the stairs. The Stira is designed to be a completely integrated unit ready for fitting.
Fitting the Stira should take no more than two hours here are a few things you should bear in mind before you start.
1. Check in attic that there are no constraints to enlarging the opening, such as pipes, wires etc.
2. Bear in mind that the Stira will arc about 14″ (35cm) beyond the opening as it folds and unfolds.
3. If the opening is in a bathroom, consider a new opening in the hall or landing.
4. Make sure you have the Stira to suit your ceiling height.
5. Place an old sheet on the floor to protect your carpet or wooden floor.
Tools you’ll need
- Screwdriver (Philips)
- Stanley knife
- Bevel square
- Measuring tape
The first thing to do is strip away the existing architrave and trim
When you remove the old trapdoor you will see that there is a small lath around the opening on which the trapdoor sits. This should be removed so what you are left with is bare rafter.
Now you need to mark out the length of the opening. You can do this with a pencil. Just mark the length of the opening onto the plasterboard.
Important! The Stira will arc about 14″ beyond the end of the opening as it is unfolding, so you should keep this in mind when fitting, you may need a new opening.
Measure the frame of the Stira and cut the opening 1/2″ (12mm) longer.
You can cut the actual plasterboard one of two ways. The old fashioned way is to use a Stanley Knife to start the cut on the underside of the ceiling, once you have the cut started you can use an ordinary carpenters saw. If you have a Jigsaw this makes the matter easier.
Once the plasterboard is cut away to the desired size you can now cut the rafter.
Depending on how the rafters are running you may need to use a bridging piece to create the rectangular opening needed to fit the Stira.
Once the opening is complete we can move to the actual fitting
Once the opening is complete we can move to the actual fitting.
The best way to actually fit the Stira is to lower it into the opening from above. At this stage you can fit the door handle before you raise the Stira into the attic.
Once you have the Stira in your attic you need to screw two pieces of timber to the underside of the ceiling at either end of the opening. Any piece of waste timber will do, you could use the old architrave you removed earlier.
It’s important that the timber does not extend any more that 1/2″ into the opening.
The reason for this is so that when the Stira is positioned into the opening the frame of the Stira will rest on the laths and the trapdoor will be free to open.
Once the temporary laths are in place you can lower the Stira into the opening.
The trapdoor to make sure the frame is square. It’s important that the trapdoor opens and closes freely and that the door does not catch when closing. If the trapdoor does catch the frame may not be square. If the trapdoor opens and closes freely click here to move to the next step if not continue scrolling down the page for problem solving.
Problem. The inner frame is catching the outer frame and the trapdoor does not close freely.
You may need to enlarge the opening slightly to allow the outer frame to move that little bit. If the inner frame is hitting the outer frame on the left hand corner then you need to move the outer frame forward on the left hand side.
The simplest way to do this is to drive a small wedge between the frame and the joist on the left hand side at the hinge end of the frame.
Securing the Frame continued
To secure the frame to the joists use 80mm screws.
Once the frame is secured you can remove the temporary laths and fit the architrave. Its best to start at the front end of the opening with the trapdoor closed. Leave about 1/4″ gap between the architrave and the actual trapdoor all around.
Cutting to length is crucial to the proper sitting of the stairs on the floor. Its important to bear in mind that you should check both sides of the stairs, don’t assume that the floor is level.
Open the Stira and unfold it and fold the bottom section back out of the way and rest it on the floor.
Now using a strait piece of timber, place it on the face of one of the side stringers of the stairs and extend it to the floor maintaining the angle of the stairs.
Mark the piece of timber where it intersects the stairs at the wraparound hinge.
You should check the other side other stringer as the measurement may not be the same. You can now transfer this measurement onto the bottom section and mark the cut line.
Now saw off the excess and sand the ends. Just double check that you have the angle marked the marked the right way around, in other words the angle of cut will be the same as the angle of the step.
Problem. After I’ve made the cut to the two side stringers and there is a large gap between the top and middle section of the stairs when I climb the stairs.
If you notice a gap between the top and middle sections of the stairs this means the bottom stringer has been cut to the wrong length. You will need to recheck your measurements, as you may need to take a little more off the bottom section. But you should go through the operating instructions first to make sure you are using the Stira correctly.
You should now have a fully fitted Stira ready for use.