Choosing the right type of loft ladder
For many homeowner’s space is a limiting factor and making the best use of what is available is important. Expanding the existing footprint of their home is often impossible for a variety of reasons. Most modern homes simply lack the land to build on and few homeowners have the skills or the inclination to take on such a project themselves whilst hiring professionals is usually very expensive. This, along with the mess and disruption any building project entails is enough reason to look for other alternatives. Moving to a new house is one solution but many people lack the budget, especially in the current economic climate, or simply don’t want to leave home they’ve settled into. Luckily, most homes have a loft of one kind or another that can be put to use in this event with the minimum of work and expense.
This can greatly expand the space available whether it becomes another bedroom, a study or office or just extra storage space. It is worth considering which means of access you will then be using. Due to the size of many homes, fitting a permanent staircase as a means of access will not be possible and a loft ladder is the perfect space saving answer. A variety of loft ladders are available that are easy for most homeowners to fit themselves with little fuss or cost. There are a few issues to consider before choosing to make sure you pick the right loft ladder for your needs:
Factors to consider
- Budget: The first thing to consider is the available budget or how much you are willing to pay. Do you wish to install a luxury loft ladder or a simpler and more utilitarian model? There are many different styles and models to suit most customers budget.
- Available space: This covers two considerations, the space available in the loft itself to store the ladder when not in use and the space on the landing below for when it is deployed. If the loft itself is small, then a model that only takes up a small space when retracted is more suitable and if the space below is limited there are models available with a very small footprint when in use or adjustable deployment angle. Distance from floor to loft should also be measured to ensure the correct size of ladder is chosen.
- Ladder users: The individuals using the ladder can also dictate which type is chosen. If it is to be used by children, the elderly or users with limited mobility, a very stable ladder with wide treads should be chosen. Loft ladders with handrails are also a good choice in this case. Many come equipped with handrails as standard or they can be purchased separately and attached to give a safer means of access.
- Ladder materials: whether you choose an aluminium, steel or timber loft ladder comes down to two factors, aesthetics and purpose. Many people prefer the natural look of a wooden loft ladder and they come in a variety of finishes to match the surrounding household fixtures when in use although a lot of people prefer the clean look of aluminium. If the loft is mainly being used for storage it is worth considering folding loft stairs with handrails as these have a higher weight tolerance if heavy loads are being transported and the wide treads and handrails give greater purchase.
Once these factors have all been considered, there are four main types of loft ladder to choose from. Each of these has its own merits depending on the individual requirements of the homeowner. There are also many accessories that can be purchased to further tailor the ladder to your specific needs
Types of loft ladder
- Aluminium slider ladder: These consist of two or three aluminium sections depending on the length required which slide out to form a complete ladder when in use. These are then locked in place with spring loaded locking catches to give extra stability. They are supplied with handrails to grip while ascending for extra safety and come with non slip rungs and rubber feet which protect the floor below and stop the ladder sliding. For those on a limited budget or looking for the most cost effective option this is the best choice. Due to their aluminium construction they are lightweight and easy to fit by one person but still strong and durable, with a weight limit of 150 Kg which is suitable for most day to day uses. When retracted, the sections slide back and sit on top of the hatch.
- Concertina loft ladder: The best choice when it comes to space saving ladders. These are designed to fit particularly small or narrow access hatches and occupy a far smaller space on the floor below compared to other loft ladders. When stored away it folds into a small cube, occupying the minimum space in the loft, ideal if the loft space itself is small. When lowered it extends into a narrow ladder which is then secured with sturdy carriage bolts. Due to the design it is worth choosing a model with steel bolts as these are much stronger than aluminium and less prone to wearing and snapping with repeated use. On extension a double sprung mechanism at the top takes the weight of the ladder, lowering it slowly at no risk to the user. Although these do not usually come supplied with a handrail the upper parts of the concertina extensions can be gripped whilst climbing for extra stability. Again, the aluminium used makes these lightweight and easy to fit.
- Deluxe wooden ladder: These are sturdy wooden folding ladders that fold onto the back of the hatch when stored. When deployed the double sprung counterweighted hatch lowers slowly and safely and the ladder can be unfolded for use. The best wooden loft ladders are made from larch rather than cheaper spruce or pine which are often used. This is a harder wearing wood less prone to warping or bending over time. If a more natural finish is desired these are ideal with an attractive wipe clean finish. It is worth finding a model with handrails or fitting them yourself for added safety.
- Grand wooden loft ladder: Similar to Deluxe models, these are wooden loft ladders with extra deep and wide treads reinforced with steel to give a greatly increased weight tolerance. This makes them the best wooden loft ladder if you are likely to be transporting heavy loads to or from the loft space and if equipped with handrails are the safest of all models, justifying the higher cost.
At BPS Access Solutions we have a range of high quality loft ladders all conforming to the latest EN 14975 safety standard and all with a lifetime guarantee and next day delivery. All are designed to be fitted by the home user with as little difficulty as possible and come with full instructions. All of our loft ladders come with the necessary components to convert the traditional push up loft hatch to the drop down version needed. We also have a wide range of loft ladder accessories, from grab rails and hatch balustrades to insulated and fire rated hatches. If you have any questions, please contact our friendly expert staff who will be happy to advise you on the best choice of loft ladder for your home.
Telephone: 01959 572 932
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