Pros and cons of different loft ladder materials

BPS Access Solutions - Pros and cons of different loft ladder materials

Pros and cons of different loft ladder materials

Luckily, when it comes to choosing a loft ladder, there are lots of different options. There are a number of different loft ladder mechanisms which each have their own pros and cons in certain situations. From the complex extension mechanism of concertina loft ladders, to the simple but reliable sliding loft ladder, there are different options for different needs.

But the choice isn’t just about the extension mechanism. There’s also the material the loft ladder is made from to bear in mind. Besides the odd plastic loft ladder, which is less than ideal, loft ladders are usually either made from aluminium or wood. We’ll run through the pros and cons of each so that you have an easier time choosing the right loft ladder for your home.

Wooden loft ladders

Wooden loft ladders are the old-school choice, and they have a certain appeal which can’t be replicated by their metal counterparts. To start off with, even though you might think wood is considerably weaker than metal, it’s actually a very strong, durable material. This means that wooden loft ladders often have a higher weight rating than aluminium loft ladders. This can come in very handy if you have a loft which will be used to store heavy equipment .

Although wooden ladders are generally stronger, there is a trade off to be made in return. In this case it is the fact that wooden ladders are considerably heavier than metal ladders. This can quickly become a real nuisance if you need to extend and retract the ladder frequently. Wooden loft ladders can come with sliding mechanisms and folding mechanisms, both of which require the user to support the weight of the ladder temporarily during the extension process.

In terms of aesthetic appeal, wooden loft ladders are much more appropriate in a number of indoor settings. Some homeowners have very old houses and want to preserve the original internal design as much as possible. Depending on the décor of a house, a metal ladder with plastic step covers and a coloured handle would look very out of place. Wooden ladders, on the other hand, are much more suitable in buildings which have classic interior styling and features. Wood has been a go-to building material since forever, and there aren’t many rooms where a wooden loft ladder would look out of place. Wooden loft ladders also generally come with a wipe-clean surface, meaning they can be easily cleaned if they get dirty after use.

Aluminium loft ladders

Just as wooden loft ladders are better than aluminium loft ladders in many ways, aluminium loft ladders offer a lot that wooden loft ladders don’t. They may not have the same classic aesthetic appeal as wooden loft ladders, but aluminium ladders can look just as sleek in the right setting. Certain houses with a more contemporary interior design would suit the futuristic look of a concertina aluminium loft ladder much better. Concertina aluminium loft ladders are also an excellent choice for rooms where space is at a premium, thanks to the fact that they can extend straight downwards.

You may be wondering why metal loft ladders are almost always made out of aluminium, as opposed to steel, for example. The answer is because aluminium is much lighter than most other metals. This is an important attribute in loft ladders because they extend down from the ceiling. This means that the lighter they are, the easier they are to extend and less likely they are to hit a user standing below them in the face. Although aluminium is lightweight, it is still very strong, especially when formed into rigid beams and bars. That being said, aluminium isn’t the best metal for every component loft ladder component. Aluminium screws are significantly weaker than their steel counterparts. All quality loft ladders should have steel screws to ensure they are structurally sound and not at risk of failing unexpectedly.

In conclusion

To judge a loft ladder simply on the material it is made from is largely missing the point of what makes a loft ladder suitable or not in certain situations. Although the material, whether that’s wood or aluminium, is important, the extension mechanism is usually the much more important factor to consider. Wood and aluminium both make great materials for loft ladder construction, and both can make a great product with the right design. The only times you should be considering the material a loft ladder is made from are when deciding what looks best in a certain home from an aesthetic point of view, or when trying to buy a loft ladder which will be able to meet specific maximum load requirements. Otherwise, the material is just a secondary factor which shouldn’t really influence your decision too much.

If you would like to know more about loft ladders, or would like advice from out expert team, please get in touch.

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