How can I maximise storage space with a loft ladder?
Lack of storage space is a problem encountered by many homeowners for a variety of reasons, for example the size of the house itself, a new or expanding family or the expense and inconvenience of hiring professionals to expand the existing footprint of their home. However, there is an easy answer to this that many homeowners overlook despite its potential. Virtually all homes have a loft of some sort, but this is often neglected as storage space as accessing it can be inconvenient or hazardous due to a lack of a secure loft ladder or an existing but old and unsafe one.
Luckily there are a number of options available to a practical homeowner who would rather fit their own ladder or replace an existing one that is no longer fit for purpose. I shall describe three of the most popular loft ladders below along with their individual physical merits and aesthetic differences. The choice between wooden loft ladders or aluminium is largely due to whether they are to remain in place or be a more discreet space saving ladder that can be tucked away when not in use. Most sliding loft ladders designed to be fitted by the homeowner also come with the necessary materials to convert the more common push up loft hatch to drop down instead so the ladder can be installed with the minimum of fuss and physical effort or, if preferred, a replacement insulated hatch can be fitted to provide a more secure mount and reduce heat loss via the hatch. They are usually lowered by means of a hook and pole and have a spring-loaded mechanism to ensure they slowly descend with no risk of hitting the user below.
An Aluminium slider is usually the most cost-effective option and a good choice of sliding loft ladder when landing space below is not restricted but the owner still wants to store it out of sight until needed. They are also the best choice of Aluminium ladder if a handrail is required for extra safety and stability whilst ascending. It is recommended that one with twin locking catches is chosen as these will minimise the chance of the metal twisting or breaking and make the ladder more sturdy overall. It is also worth selecting one with non slip treads and a pivotal arm for ease of deployment.
Of the two choices of Aluminium loft ladder these are usually the easiest to install as they are ready assembled and only need fixing securely in place. These are the best choice for a smaller loft hatch or if space below the hatch is limited as they occupy less floorspace once extended, although they can be adjusted to different climbing angles for flexibility of use. They are also useful if loft space above is confined as they fold into a small cube above the hatch when retracted, leaving as much storage space spare as possible. Despite their appearance they are surprisingly strong due to locking carriage bolts to reinforce their structure (although it is worth checking for Steel bolts rather than Aluminium as they increase the strength of the ladder and are less prone to breaking) and whilst lacking a handrail still allow the user to grip the projections above the treads for stability. Again, it is worth checking for non slip rubber treads on the ladder for extra safety.
Aluminium is a popular choice as it is strong and hard wearing for a metal of its weight and has a clean, utilitarian look. Its lightness also makes these ladders easy to fit and generally can be attached to an existing hatch without putting any undue stress due to weight on it, simplifying installation and saving on financial outlay. They are usually fitted with rubber feet or wheels at the base to prevent slipping and reduce wear and tear on the floor surface below.
A wooden loft ladder is often the best choice if it is to remain in view whilst in use as it is a more naturally attractive material that will complement the wooden fixtures around it. The best wooden ladders are made from Larch wood, a stronger, harder material than the Pine or spruce that are sometimes used. This has a stronger, more durable feel when in use and is far harder wearing. As a hard wood it is far less prone to warping or twisting over time, thus extending its life span. These are also easy to clean and maintain and if treated well can be just as permanent a fixture as an aluminium ladder. Also, as with the Aluminium slide ladder these can easily be fitted with handrails to provide safer access, especially for children or users with mobility issues. Most wooden loft ladders are specially designed to fit between ceiling joists with the standard spacing used in most homes so that when retracted they lie flush in the gap between joists, giving a wide enough tread for safe access but minimum work and effort during installation.
One other option to consider is opening up the loft hatch and fitting a permanent wooden staircase to the loft. This has the advantage of turning your loft into a fully functional extra room for your home with permanently open access as well as extra storage space. This is also worth considering if you have a very high ceiling where a balcony platform or mezzanine level could be installed, not only expanding your storage options but also adding an attractive feature to an existing room. While this is an ambitious project for many owners for those will the skill and ability it is a rewarding and practical addition to their home. Many suppliers include attractive luxury wooden staircases in their range of loft access options for those seeking a more permanent solution.
Each of these options has its own merits but the eventual choice is down to individual preference and the ability and confidence of the homeowner in fitting their own ladder. Budget and available space are the two main practical factors to consider but the supplier will be able to offer information and advice on which product would be more suited to the individual consumer and property and give advice on installation.
If any of the options discussed above are the solution you are looking for, BPS Access Solutions have a full range of range of high quality loft ladders and staircases that conform to all the latest safety standards and a team of friendly expert staff who would be happy to provide advice on all aspects of purchase and installation.
Please visit our website at: www.laddersandscaffoldtowers.co.uk
Call us on: 0333 006 9776
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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