Loft Ladders Review: The Always-Popular Concertina Model

One DIY project that many homeowners undertake is fitting or upgrading their existing loft ladders. A robust loft ladder allows more efficient use of the space because larger, heavier or bulkier items can be carried up or down the ladder with safety and ease. There are several types of loft ladder, each of which is appropriate for a variety of settings. However, if you have limited space, it’s likely that you’ll need a concertina-style ladder, because these are ideal for small areas where space is at a premium. Read on to learn more about this type of loft ladder, along with a brief review of one model we’re happy to recommend.  At the end of this article, you’ll also find a few tips and hints for fitting a concertina loft ladder. So, let’s get started.

Loft Ladders: What Exactly is a Concertina Model?

A concertina loft ladder has a unique and innovative design that allows it to be retracted in an accordion style. Generally made of metal, usually aluminium, these ladders feature a structure that compacts easily into a small space. It’s a simple matter to deploy the ladder when it’s needed, yet it stows neatly away when not in use. This type of ladder is built into the loft hatch, which means that when you lower the hatch door with the operating pole, the ladder is always ready to be pulled down.  Concertina ladders have many benefits, including a compact size and retractability. In contrast, other types of loft ladders tend to be bulky and cumbersome, taking up much space in the loft.

Loft Ladders: The Concertina 3.05m Model

This ladder is recommended for spaces with vertical floor to ceiling heights up to 3.05 metres, but is also available in various other heights up to 3.66m.  It’s well-suited to applications in which space in the loft is limited or where the loft opening is small. We like this model, and are happy to report that it’s ideal in homes where space inside the loft is limited. This is so because of the way the ladder folds compactly into a cube shape. In addition, it needs no clearance outside the opening perimeter of the loft. These design features make the ladder exceptionally easy to fit in practically any size loft opening, making it ideal for DIYers.

Loft Ladders: More About the Concertina 3.05m Model

Concertina ladders have a unique design which allows for worry-free fitting in just about any loft. This one has rubberised non-slip treads, an important safety feature, especially when carrying a heavy or bulky item.This is a feature not found on competitors’ models. DIYers will be happy to learn that the ladder is supplied fully assembled. It even comes with a kit for converting a lift-up type hatch door into the drop-down type required by the ladder. We’ve found this ladder to be quite strong. It will support a maximum load of 150kg. Remember, though, that the maximum load rating includes the weight of both the user and anything that’s being carried up or down the ladder.

Loft Ladders: Additional Features of the Concertina 3.05m Model

We noticed that this ladder has extra-deep 80mm treads that have a generous width of 340mm, which makes the ladder both safe and easy to ascend and descend, even if you’re carrying something. Another premium feature we discovered is that the ladder is fitted with a carriage made from stainless steel, along with stainless steel bolts. Lesser models use aluminium bolts that are more likely to fail than steel ones. The steel bolts give the ladder a remarkably solid feel. Operating the ladder is quite easy, thanks to the two springs that support its weight whilst it’s being lowered or raised. In addition, the base position is adjustable, which lends a high degree of flexibility, especially in cases where the space in the room below the ladder is limited.

Loft Ladders: A Few Important Dimensions

Thanks to its highly functional design, the ladder needs a minimal loft aperture of only 430mm wide on the side on which the ladder is attached. In addition, the length required is just 570mm, which makes the ladder suitable for a wide range of applications. The ladder comes with full fitting instructions written in plain, clear English. We also like the ladder’s superior anodised aluminium finish that’s both durable and attractive. Anodisation is an electrolytic process that makes aluminium as strong as steel, whilst maintaining its light weight. This ladder sells for about £250.00, but do be sure to look for it on special offer from about £140.00, including VAT.

Loft Ladders: Concertina Model Fitting Notes

Most competent DIYers should be able to manage installation with just a few simple tools. It is wise, however, to have an assistant help you lift the ladder into place. If your loft hatch is a loose, lift-up type board, the first step is to convert it to a swing-down door that’s operated by way of a pole with a hook on one end. It’s also wise to re-fit the board in a lower configuration that’s flush with the architrave. This not only looks more attractive, but also allows maximum room for the ladder to be fitted. If your board isn’t made from wood, you’ll need to fit a wooden one. The ladder comes complete with all fittings for the door, including hinges, screws and catch. The catch also includes the bolts needed to connect the eye to the bottom of the door. To operate the door, simply insert the hook at the end of the operating pole into the eye and pull down gently. Reverse the process, i.e., push, to raise the door. For the operating pole, you’ll need to buy a length of 18mm dowel that’s determined by your ceiling height. Then just attach the hook with the two supplied screws. Finally, screw or bolt with carriage bolts the ladder backboard to the hatch surround, ensuring that the ladder is securely and safely attached.

For the ultimate in loft ladders, the concertina model is worth a serious look.

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