Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tips to Build a Loft Bed Ladder

Since loft beds are often for our children, we want them to be as safe as possible. Though it's true that a five foot tumble onto carpet is more likely to result in an object lesson than a serious injury, most parents nonetheless take steps to make sure climbing into bed is safe and easy for their little ones. Most loft beds come with a ladder, or with built-in climbing steps. If your loft bed did not, or you picked it up second hand with no ladder, building one is a project that takes less than an hour.
1. Measure the distance from the floor to six inches above the top of the bed's mattress.
2. Cut both 2"x4" beams to match the distance you just measured.
3. Using a pencil, mark both beams for where you will place your rungs. Place the mark at the center of the beam, evenly on both sides. Place the first and last marks six inches from the end of each beam. Space the remaining six marks evenly along the remaining length of the ladder. For example, if your ladder is five feet (60 inches) long, you'll mark your beams at 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42 and 48 inches.
4. Drill a one-inch diameter hole one inch deep at each of your marks, using the auger bit.
5. Using a drill bit 1/8 inch narrower than the diameter of your 2-inch wood screws, drill a hole in the center of each auger hole, running all the way through the remainder of the beam.
6. Use the same drill bit to drill a hole one inch deep in the center of both ends of each wooden dowel.
7. Vigorously sand every surface of all your lumber. Bare feet will be moving along this at night. You want to avoid splinters. Don't worry about sanding the interior of the holes or the ends of the dowels. Neither will be exposed once the project is finished.
8. Apply a layer of wood glue to the auger hole at the far end of each beam.
9. Connect the beams by inserting one end of a dowel into each of the glued auger holes. Anchor the dowel in place with a 2-inch wood screw driven through the predrilled hole in the beam and into the end of the dowel.
10. Repeat steps eight and nine for the remaining dowels.
11. Attach the ladder. If your loft is made of wood, screw the ladder in place with the five inch wood screws. If made of metal, attach using the circular clamps.

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