Sliding loft ladders vs folding loft ladders
Although it may sound simple, there are a number of different factors to bear in mind when choosing the right loft ladder for your home or workspace. Not only does the material a loft ladder is constructed from have an effect on its performance and aesthetic appeal, the extension mechanism it uses will also make a big difference to its practicality in various situations.
There are two main overarching categories of loft ladder – fixed and extendable. As their name suggests, fixed loft ladders remain in place and cannot be retracted or removed without being dismantled first. This type of loft ladder remains in place so that the loft can be accessed whenever needed. The other type of loft ladder is the extendable loft ladder or pull down loft ladder, which extends and retracts into the loft via a hatch. This extension and retraction mechanism allows these space saving loft ladders to be conveniently tucked away when not in use. Not only does it free up space in the room below the loft, it also gives the room a much cleaner appearance.
As far as pull down loft ladders go, there are few different extension mechanisms which allow them to be retracted into the loft. The most complicated and expensive extension mechanism can be found on concertina loft ladders. Concertina loft ladders are made from aluminium and have multiple pivoted joints which extend like a concertina. Once extended, steps in between the two rows of pivoted joints allow users to climb up into the loft space. While this type of loft ladder is strong and great for use in rooms without much space, their complexity makes them significantly more expensive than other types of extendable loft ladder.
The two other types of extendable loft ladder – sliding and folding – are generally more popular alternatives to concertina loft ladders. Both types have their own pros and cons which make them a good choice for different reasons. If you’re looking at new pull down loft ladders and are unsure what sliding and folding loft ladders bring to the table, we’ll run through the pros and cons of each below.
Sliding loft ladders
Sliding loft ladders are the more common of these two different types. This is partly due to the fact they are generally cheaper and easier to install than folding loft ladders. The simplicity of their design is the main reason sliding loft ladders are cheaper than their folding counterparts. Essentially, they operate just like an extension ladder does, with two or more ladder sections which slide past each other and lock in place. Because they extend straight down, sliding loft ladders are often referred to as space saving loft ladders.
Sliding loft ladders can be constructed from aluminium or wood, meaning that they can fit a number of different interior aesthetics. Aluminium is the most common choice, as it offers the strength to support loads of up to 150 kilograms, whilst also being light enough to extend and retract with ease. Being lightweight is a major advantage when it comes to convenient everyday use. With a spring-loaded retraction mechanism, sliding loft ladders can be accessed and stowed away by most members of the family, whether old or young. As long as proper safety precautions are followed, sliding loft ladders are the best type of loft ladder when it comes to ease of use.
Folding loft ladders
Folding loft ladders are the other common type of extendable loft ladder, and they bring different things to the table. To begin with, folding loft ladders are generally constructed from wood. This is not because wood is the only material suitable for this type of extension mechanism, it is more because heavy duty loft ladders cannot always rely on a sliding mechanism to provide enough strength. Wood is a very strong material, making it great for use in heavy duty loft ladders. But wood’s strength comes at a price – namely weight. As a result, a sliding mechanism is not a safe or convenient extension mechanism for wooden loft ladders because there is a much higher likelihood that the ladder could suddenly extend and hit the user below in the face.
As a result, a folding mechanism provides a much safer means of extending a heavy duty loft ladder. When it comes to convenience, folding loft ladders are not quite as easy to extend as sliding loft ladders. But with the right tools, i.e. a pole to pull down the loft hatch and the ladder itself, they are still easy for most people to use. Another advantage of folding wooden loft ladders is their appearance. When extended, they resemble a solid, fixed loft ladder, as opposed to a standard extension ladder. When combined with the fact that they are wooden, which has a more classic aesthetic appeal, wooden folding loft ladders can be a much better choice in houses with a traditional décor.
Hopefully, our brief explanation of the differences between folding and sliding loft ladders has given you a better idea of which type is best for you. If you would like to know more or would like further advice from a member of our expert team, please get in touch today.
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