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What You Need To Know Before You Buy Attic Lift

Send heavy loads to the attic—with the press of a button

Mike Berner

Having attic space above your garage just about doubles your storage options. But carrying stuff up the ladder is a hassle and can be dangerous. An attic lift makes the chore safe and effortless. You can even store things like a lawn mower or snow blower that you wouldn’t think of hauling up a ladder.

A lift is easy to install if your garage has the right bones, and it uses power you likely already have. We’ll tell you what you need to know before you buy and walk you through the installation.

BEFORE YOU BUY

ASSESS THE CEILING STRUCTURE: Standard trusses or framing may not handle the weight of a loaded lift or all the items you want to store. Attic or storage trusses, on the other hand, are designed to support extra weight. If your garage attic has a floor (plywood or OSB) and enough space for you to stand up, chances are you have trusses suitable for an attic lift.

If you’re not certain whether your attic can bear the load, it’s best to consult a structural engineer.

SHOP ONLINE: Attic lifts aren’t sold in any brick-and-mortar stores we’re aware of, but several brands are available online: VersaLift, Auxx- Lift and Aladdin storage lifts were the options we found. Prices ranged from $900 to $3,500. We chose a top-of-the-line VersaLift model, which cost $2,600.

SPACE REQUIREMENTS: There are several models of the VersaLift; we used the 24-in. model with wireless remote, which needs an opening of 22-1/2 in. between joists, 46-1/2 in. along them and 4 ft. of vertical clearance. You also need to know the distance from the garage floor to the attic floor because the models come with different lengths of cable.

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September 2019