Trim Your Attic Access

Trim Your Attic Access

Yesterday, I told you about all of our house decisions and gave a partial list of what we’ll be working on upstairs, while we’re prepping to sell.

At the top of the list, the ugly attic access had to be handled! Check it out…

hallway before pic

Here’s a close up…

Attic Access held up with nails

Do you see what’s holding it up?  Nails!  They drove nails into the 2x4s and then the ceiling part just rests on those.  It’s awful and ugly.  I’ve seriously been planning on fixing this since we moved in… almost 10 years ago.  I’m pretty sure ladybugs and no telling what other creepy-crawlys come in through here because it’s not completely seated.

I guess when you rarely go upstairs, it’s “out of sight, out of mind.”

No time like the present!  Let’s fix this!

Measure the opening

First, I measured each side of the opening.  The ceiling cut out that is now resting on nails will need something to sit on, so my trim will need to come in a bit and make a lip.  This means that whatever my measurements are, I need to subtract about an inch so that my trim is smaller than the opening and creates that lip.

My measurements were 29.5″ x 31.5″

My trim pieces should then measure 28.5 x 30.5.

Make the cuts

You can see in the picture of the hallway at the top of this post, my sweet hubby had already removed the carpet and the door to the back bedroom at the end of the hall.  I used the door trim from that to make my attic box trim.

I cut the pieces at 45 degree angles and laid them out to make sure they all fit together.

cut trim

I put a staple in each corner to (somewhat) lock these in place.

Nail it up

With my husband holding this up, I nailed it in, making sure that the lip on each side was even. Then I used some pliers and pulled the staples out that I had used in the previous step.

attic trim

Here’s another close up of those lovely nails holding up the ceiling cut out.

nail close up

Prime, Fill and Paint

While I was working on this, guess what?!  One of those creepy-crawly spiders must have gotten mad that I was sealing up his home and swooped down and bit me on the neck!  I stayed in bed all day the next day, but thankfully it went down and I’m fine… but I did order some killer spray from Amazon, so those little dudes are done for!  I used this stuff at my rental house and it’s AMAZING!  I’ll put a link at the bottom of this post.

Prime – Before I primed, I ran my sanding block over the trim just to rough it up a little and prep it for the paint.  I primed this using my Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer.  I love all things Zinnser, the primer sticks really well and covers up just about anything.


Here it is primed.

primed trim

I filled the nail holes and seams with paintable caulk.  I tried out my new Ryobi Automatic Caulk Gun and…

ryobi caulk gun

I’m not loving it.  It makes me so sad… because I LOVE all of my Ryobi tools.  It worked, but it was a total caulk party.  I had it on the wrong setting and the caulk came out way too fast, so maybe it was user error.  I’ll try it again when I put down baseboards and have a ton of caulking to do… but for small jobs like this, I’ll stick to my manual caulk gun.

After the caulk dried, I painted the trim.  I wanted it to blend as much as possible with the ceiling, so I used my ceiling paint.

Last I removed the nails and the ceiling piece fell right in to place!

Here it is!

painted attic access

Wait, the light kind of looks weird here… check out this one in the natural light.

nat light attic access

Sooo much better!!!  Why didn’t I do this 10 years ago??!!

Tomorrow I’ll be telling you all about painting the ceilings and walls and I have a special surprise for you!!!

Until then, stay fearless!



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  1. Great job! My attic access is in my bathroom closet, and it’s only used for emergency. I guess that’s the case with most acessesses… unless you have one of those nice drop down stairs and can actually USE your attic for storage.

    ps I’m interested to know if the caulk gun works when you use it for the baseboards.

    • Mrs. Do It Herself says:

      Thanks Gail! I’ve never been up in this one. We have another one on the opposite side of the house that has a full sized door and you walk in to it. But ALL attics creep me out! haha

      I’m interested in the caulk gun as well. I loved how easy it was to push the button, but it all came out so quickly. I’m going to practice before using on the baseboards and hopefully will master it! I typically love ALL Ryobi products and thought I would this too. We shall see!