How Dale built a ladder rack in his garage

Materials used with Lowes item numbers and 2013 pricing. I built more than one rack so that is why I bought more material:

  • 1/2" x 1'' flat fender washers item 43812 25 pack $4.73
  • 1/2" - 13 hex nuts item 43647 25 pack $4.74
  • 1/2" - 13 threaded rod item 44610 10 feet $8.57
  • 1" square aluminum tubing 8 feet item 11392 #31.33
  • 1/2" PVC pipe 10 feet item 23987 $1.82
  • 1" x 33" Deck baluster 5 pack item 44551 $11.57
  • 5/16" x 4" structural screws Home Depot SKU 518167


Step 1:

I used 5/16" bit to drill holes to support my racks in the attic and 1/2" bit to drill holes for the threaded rod. I inserted the square aluminum tubing inside the vinyl balusters to give them strength and a finished look. 


Step 2:

I needed a wider rack for the bottom of my 12 foot step ladder so I added some extra 2" x 4" boards in the garage attic and spaced my supports at 38". The rafters are on 24" centers and no extra wood was needed on my other ladders or for the top support of my step ladder.


Step 3:

I used a screwdriver to make a hole next to my 2" x 4" and used a dryway saw to cut out the square hole from below. I used 5/16" x 4" structural screws to support the top of my rack and to support the new 2" x 4" boards. These screws are longer than I needed, but I had them left over from another project.


A later project will be to repair the textured ceiling damage due to lack of heat in the garage. Since the supports are partially above my garage door, I needed to open the door and measure the space between door and ceiling. I subtracted 1" to give my supports clearance when the door is opened. Supports as seen from inside the garage:


Step 4:

I installed 1/2" threaded rod inside of 1/2" PVC pipe between the supports. This protects the ladder from the threads of the rod and lets the PVC act as a roller to help with hanging ladder. I installed double nuts and washers on the outside but only the PVC pipe and threaded rod between the supports. I decided to paint the hardware to give it a finished look. I tore off the paper towel after painting.


Finished project:

In my garage, I needed another ladder to help me hang this one. Put 1 end of the ladder on the rack farthest from the door and use another ladder to place the other end of the ladder on the rack near the door. You might want to tie off your ladder with a bungy cord, but I don't think it is going to move around since we don't often have earthquakes in my area. 


The 2 racks should be spaced so the ladder hangs at least 1' over each end.