How do I secure this ladder to the ceiling of my garage? Chains? Straps?
August 31, 2020 10:58 AM   Subscribe

My house came with a ladder that's mounted to the unfinished ceiling / roof of my garage using a rope and a pulley, and attached to a wall with a hinge. I worry that it will fall one day and crush my car - especially if there's an earthquake. What's a better way to safely secure this? Here's some photos of my situation:

I was thinking of using chains (too heavy!) or straps (which ones?) to tie the ladder to the joist as a backup in case the main rope failed. And then having a backup to the backup where the ladder is tied to the ties (is that what those are? ) at the top.

Would this work? How do i find straps for a purpose like this?
posted by FlatHill to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
A friend with a sorta-kinda-similar setup uses a winch. He uses one thats powered by a drill, but you don't need necessarily have it motorized. A winch with a metal wire wouldn't need tons of redundancy, and would potentially use the same pulleys you have there.

If an earthquake was big enough to fuck up a winch and cable, the ladder hitting your car would be the least of your concerns.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:17 AM on August 31, 2020 [2 favorites]

Since you don't go into the attic very often can you just remove the ladder and store it somewhere else? You could mount some kind of hook or latch below the attic door to hook the ladder on when you need it, or just toss the whole thing and get a proper aluminum ladder that you could also use for other purposes around the house.

But if you want to keep it where it is then I would get some polypro rope, tie it into the joists in a couple places, then tie an S hook onto the end and loop it around the ladder, hooking it back on itself.

They make these pulley systems for storing bikes and kayaks that you could use. Mount one above the ladder and hook it in.

As furnace.heart said above, any earthquake strong enough is probably going to take it down no matter what. Maybe just make sure the hinges are nice and secure.
posted by bondcliff at 11:22 AM on August 31, 2020 [3 favorites]

Id add a second pulley and heavier rope for peace of mind, or just replace whats there. The most likely thing to break is probably the pulley connection to the roof. So make sure thats attached well. Ropes are pretty strong, so anything that is going to snap a rope is going to do damage to other things, like your roof joists.
posted by TheAdamist at 11:39 AM on August 31, 2020 [3 favorites]

Make a nice loop of rope or climbing strap around that joist that runs parallel to the stowed ladder. Just loose enough that when the ladder is stowed, you can swing the loop around one free end of the ladder.

If the existing rope breaks, the ladder will swing down a little and be caught by the loop.

The whole goddamn roof will fall from an earthquake before that ladder pivot does. In which case, you got other problems than a car scratched by a ladder.
posted by notsnot at 12:26 PM on August 31, 2020 [4 favorites]

I agree that the best approach is making sure the regular attachment points are adequately secure, but if you really want to just make it's not going anyway I'd use ratchet straps because I don't have to trust my ability to competently choose a suitable knot and then tie it correctly, and nylon straps are very strong.
posted by aubilenon at 12:31 PM on August 31, 2020 [2 favorites]

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