My contractor is here working on the bathroom remodel, and he had to go to the attic a couple of times. The pull-down stairs are, I believe, original to the house, wooden, and very rickety. He said that they are dangerous (they are) and offered to replace them with a more robust aluminum unit. (He also said he’d knock $100 off his installation fee since he’s already here. Fair enough.) This morning, they cut down the frame of the old stairs and found out that the entire stairwell was attached to the ceiling joists with finishing nails. Kevin is going to be using quarter-inch lag screws to hold the new stairs up.
All this is actually rather par for the course in this house. Every time we do any work or remodeling we discover so much half-assed construction.