Congratulations! You have purchased a new sliding loft ladder, now your life will be made easier by being able to access your loft easily and safely!
However, there are a few things to bear in mind before you begin to install your new ladder. Avoid rookie errors such as ensuring there is enough space within your loft to fold the ladder when not in use, ensuring that you have an additional ladder to use whilst installing your loft ladder and ensuring that the ground area where the ladder is pulled down to is suitable.
Remember loft ladders are only designed for use at home and should not be considered to be a permanent staircase. It should be treated as any other ladder when in use and should not be used by pets or anyone under the age of 16.
Before you start
Make sure the sliding loft ladder you have purchased is suitable for use in your home. In particular ensure that the ladder will be able to open to it’s minimum height and not exceed it’s maximum height – these issues are particularly relevant if you live in a property with lower or higher than average ceiling heights.
You also need to ensure that there is space in your loft for your ladder to fold up in. So check the pitch height in your loft and the minimum internal loft height required for safe installation of your ladder. Remember your ladder will need to fold up and will be lifted into your loft when not in use. Look at the diagram below to give you an idea:
Finally, before you start, ensure that you will not exceed the maximum load which will be indicated clearly on the packaging.
Get the right tools
To avoid personal injury and to safely install your sliding loft ladder, you will need the correct tools for the job. You will also need another suitable ladder which will enable you to access the loft safely whilst you are installing your sliding loft ladder.
Installing a sliding loft ladder is a two person job so you will need a competent person to help you to install it – one person working in the loft and the other at ground level.
You will also need the following tools and equipment:
- Tape measure
- Sharp point Bradawl
- Drill and 2mm, 3mm and 13mm wood drill bits
- Phillips screw driver
- 2x 8mm spanner
- 17 mm spanner
- Wood glue (is optional)
Unpacking your ladder
Carefully unpack your ladder checking carefully for any damage that might have occurred in transit. A damaged loft ladder will require a replacement so unpack to check the contents as soon as possible.
Check that you have all the components necessary to assemble and install your sliding loft ladder:
Installing your loft ladder
Only proceed to install the sliding loft ladder if you feel confident in doing so. Remember to work tidily and keep tools and parts away from the loft hatch where they could drop or on the floor area where the could be a tripping hazard.
You may need to install wooden batons or noggins to be able to fit the pivot bar or retaining bar in the correct position, however, never be tempted to fit unauthorised parts to the sliding loft ladder itself as this will invalidate it’s warranty.
Take care when installing the loft ladder and do not attempt to use it in any way until it is fully installed. If any damage is caused, for safety reasons it will need to be discarded and replaced.
Preparing the trap door
If you do not have a loft ladder already, your loft hatch may be of the push up variety. You need to have a trapdoor that you pull down to open. The first 4 steps will show you how to prepare and fit a loft door complete with opening assembly ready to install your sliding loft ladder. If your loft door is already in place, you can go straight to step 5 – installing the ladder.
Hanging the trapdoor:
Attach the hinges to the trapdoor by drilling 2mm pilot holes and screw the hinges, equally spaced, to one end of the trapdoor using 4x 18mm screws. Install the trapdoor by positioning the fitted hinges against the hatch frame and mark the fixing hole positions. Drill 2mm pilot holes and screw the hinges to the hatch surround using 4x 18mm screws.
- Your new trapdoor should have a minimum thickness of 20mm with a 2mm gap all the way around when door is fitted in the hatch.
- Trapdoor will attach to the same side of the hatch frame as the loft ladder.
- Minimum gap of 50mm between the top of the trapdoor when closed and top edge of the frame.
- Optional – fill the screw holes with wood glue before inserting the screws to increase strength.
Preparing the trapdoor
Hold up trap door in the closed position.
A&B: At the opposite end to where you have fitted the hinges, measure and mark a line onto the trapdoor, 31mm from the edge of the frame. Measure and mark a centre line.
C: Open the trapdoor and drill a 13mm hole where the lines meet and sand off any rough edges
Fitting the catch assembly
Push the twist catch collars (no. 3 & 4) into each side of the hole you just drilled with the large catch collar (no. 4) on the outside of the trapdoor.
Insert the pivot pin (no. 5) through the outside of the hatch through the hole and secure using the second nut (1). Ensure the pivot pin can twist freely.
Place the catch lever (no. 2) onto the pivot pin (as shown) and secure using the second nut (1). Again ensure the pivot pin twists freely.
Catch bracket fitting
A: Measure the thickness of your trapdoor and add 9mm. Draw a line this distance up from the bottom of the hatch opening, parallel with it. Close the trapdoor and mark a vertical line on the inside of the hatch frame where the centre of the twist catch meets the hatch frame.
B: Open the trapdoor and position the catch bracket on the hatch frame, lining up with the vertical and horizontal lines as show ring. Mark the fixing hole positions.
Drill 2mm pilot holes and fix the bracket using 2x 18mm screws.
Installing the ladder
Remove the end caps and slide on the pivot bar stops
A: Remove both end caps from the stiles on the back of the loft ladder, closest to the end where the rubber feet are fitted.
B: Slide a pivot bar stop onto each stile (side) of the ladder, do not secure in place yet.
A pair of pivot bar stops have already been installed at the top of the loft ladder.
Slide on the pivot bar assembly
Ensure the pivot bar is fully assembled, with the pivot bar sliders slotted into the pivot bar rod.
Slot the pivot bar assembly onto the stiles.
The pivot bar brackets MUST be the correct way round, as shown with the brackets in an upside down “L” position.
Slide on remaining pivot bar stops and refit end caps
A: Slot on the remaining 2 pivot bar stops, do not secure in place yet.
B: Slot both stile end caps back on to the ends of the stiles.
Attach 2x handrails
Attach the handrail to each side of the loft ladder.
Place washers (no. 2) onto the 65mm bolts (no. 4), insert through the handrail, mounting block (no. 3) and ladder. Fix using the nuts and washers (no. 1 & 2).
Tighten using an 8mm spanner.
Extend the loft ladder
Release the locking catch close to the bottom of the loft ladder and then the catch on the top of the front section.
Extend the ladder fully until the locking catches engage securely with the other catches.
Attach the pivot bar
WARNING! DON’T USE LOFT LADDER UNTIL FULLY INSTALLED.
One person is needed in the loft for this part of the installation. Position the pivot bar brackets onto the top of the loft hatch frame, on the side the trapdoor is hung.
Position the loft ladder in the centre of the hatch and make sure it is square with both feet flat on the floor. The pivot bar brackets must be pushed up against the sides of the loft ladder.
Mark the screws holes onto the frame with pencil, drill 3mm pilot holes and then fix using 6 x 35mm screws.
Set the pitch of the ladder and fix top pivot bar stops
A: position the ladder at the correct angle between 65 and 80 degrees. Alternatively, use the red and white sticker on the side and once you get the white line vertical the ladder is at the correct pitch.
B: Position the 1st pair of pivot bar stops against the pivot bar sliders and tighten. Make sure the ladder is level and square before tightening stops.
Attach the 2x retaining bars
Fix the retaining bar (no.4) to the top of the loft ladder using the fittings pre assembled to the bar. Tighten using 2x 8mm spanners. Tighten the nut securing the angle bracket (no. 5) to the retaining bar (no. 4). Do not over tighten, the bracket must be able to move freely. Fix the angle bracket to the attic floor using 2x 18m screws. Do the same for the 2nd retaining bar on the other side.
Install additional wooden noggins to fix the retaining bar in the correct position if necessary.
The retaining bars must be in line with the ladder not at an angle.
Stow the loft ladder away and further fix pivot bar stops
A: release the 2x catches found on the right hand side of ladder. Slide the 2 front sections up until the catches engage with the other catches.
B: Push the ladder up into the loft by hand as far as you can reach and then insert the stowing pole into the side of the bottom rung and push the loft ladder up until fully stowed away safely.
C: Slide the 2nd pair of pivot bar stops up to meet the pivot bar sliders and tighten securely with screwdriver.
Using your slider loft ladder
Installed correctly, your slider loft ladder will give many years of outstanding service, however to keep it working at it’s best, be sure to check through the instruction leaflet and carry out any recommended maintenance on the ladder.
Specifically, here at BPS Access Solutions, we recommend that you check that the 4 pivot bar stops are secured in the correct position and the screws are tight.
Make sure that the fixings and handrail are secure before each use, tighten screws and fittings as necessary.
Always use your slider loft ladder in accordance to the manufacturers instructions and additionally, follow the instructions given on the side of the slider loft ladder.
How to open and close your loft door
To close the trapdoor
Insert the pole into the twist catch and push the trapdoor up into its closed position and turn the catch clockwise to lock.
To open the trapdoor:
Insert the pole into the twist catch and turn the catch anticlockwise to unlock. Carefully lower the trapdoor using the stowing pole.
How to pull your loft ladder out of the loft and put it back again
Insert the pole into the bottom rung of the ladder and carefully pull out and down simultaneously. Ensure you carefully control the descent of the ladder so as not to endanger any persons or animals.
When the ladder stops, release the 2 catches found on the right hand side and extend it until the catch engages with the other locking catches. DO NOT use the loft ladder unless the locking catch is fully engaged.
Before you use your slider loft ladder
When the ladder is deployed, make sure that:
- The locking catch is fully engaged.
- Both feet are flat on the floor.
- The ladder is at the correct angle (65-80°).
Using your slider loft ladder safely
When in use, you should treat your slider loft ladder in the same way as you would treat any other ladder, however it should only ever be used as a loft ladder and not for any other purpose.
When the ladder is in use, only one person should be using the ladder at any one time. You should not carry loads in excess of 10kg whilst on the ladder.
Always wear sensible footwear with clean, non-slip soles and face the ladder at all times whilst keeping a grip on the ladder at all times when climbing up or down the ladder. Never over reach on a loft ladder, you could overbalance and injure yourself.
Do not use the loft ladder if you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Lastly, keep your loft ladder clean. A quick wipe down regularly will be sufficient, however keeping your slider loft ladder clean and dust free will ensure it continues to work properly.
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