Replacing Access Stairway Springs

Dear NH,
What's the best/safest way to replace a broken spring on a folding attic stairway?
JR from Little Rock, AR

You must replace the spring when it's under the least tension, which is when the door is up. So unless you have an alternate access to the attic, you'll need a helper to hold the door closed while you work on it and, if necessary, get you the tools you forgot!

You'll have to use a vicegrip or fabricate a bent piece of steel rod as a "puller" for the spring to give it that last bit of stretch. Wear eye protection and gloves in case you accidentally let the spring go.

Depending on the stairs and the amount of working space you have, it is sometimes helpful to partially disassemble the steps. However, if you do, the door will no longer stay open when pulled down, since the weight of the stairs counterbalances the springs.

Since one broken spring usually means the other is not far behind, replacing both at the same time might be a good idea!

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