Your questions answered: Loft ladders

Loft Ladders - Your questions answered

Your questions answered: Loft ladders

As all homeowners know, storage space, although not a glamorous subject matter, is up there as one of the most important requirements when it comes to choosing a home. From cupboards to garages, the more people you have in your home, the more spare space you surrender to storage. There are many inventive ways to maximise storage space in the home, but one of the most common, which many homeowners are fortunate enough to have access to, is the loft.

Unless you’re a bungalow owner, chances are you use your loft for storage. Loft space is a useful result of owning a home with an angled roof, and there are many different ways it can be put to use. Some homeowners choose to develop their loft into living space, decorating the interior, adding skylights and turning the space into an extra bedroom. Even if the loft space remains a storage space, the issue of access is a key concern. If the loft can’t be accessed easily, it not only adds stress to the daily routine around the house, it can also be highly unsafe.

There are a number of different access solutions for loft spaces and loft conversions, but it’s not easy to know what to look for if you don’t have experience choosing a loft ladder already. Just as there are lots of different loft ladder solutions for all different property types, there are lots of common questions relating to choosing and buying a loft ladder. We thought it would be useful to answer some common questions often asked by buyers so that you have a better understanding of what to look for.

What is a loft ladder?

While loft space can be accessed using a standard extension ladder, or even a stepladder, neither of these are the most practical solution. There are many different types of loft ladders for sale, and a number of different extension mechanisms to choose from. Most Loft ladders are specifically designed to integrate seamlessly with a loft access hatch or trap door. They have a frame which extends automatically when the loft hatch door is pulled from underneath. Because most of the work is done by the force of gravity, a loft hatch ladder is a very low-effort way of gaining access to a loft from a physical perspective. They also reduce clutter and maximise space, as the ladder is stowed away out of sight in the loft itself.

How do loft ladders work?

Loft ladders are essentially the same as extension ladders, except they use the power of gravity to extend downwards, rather than having to be manually extended upwards. The main selling point of loft hatch ladders is their ease of use, which is a direct result of the fact that they are attached to the top of a downwards-opening loft hatch. For this feature to work properly, a loft ladder has to be securely fitted to the top side of the loft hatch. Because of the size constraints of loft space and loft hatches, most loft ladders are extendable. There are, however, a number of different mechanisms that allow the loft hatch ladder to extend and retract. Sliding loft ladders are perhaps the most common form of ladders for lofts, as they are simpler and cheaper than most other types. Of all sliding loft hatch ladders, the 2 section loft ladder is the simplest and cheapest. Even simpler than 2 section loft ladders, however, are fixed loft ladders, which stay in position and can not be folded away into the loft without being detached from the loft hatch. If constant physical presence of the ladder is not a concern, fixed loft ladders can be a good, cost effective option.

SLIDING LOFT LADDER VIDEO

Are loft ladders safe?

Because loft ladders usually utilise gravity or some form of spring-loaded mechanism to extend, there are some important safety considerations to bear in mind. These safety considerations are important in both the installation and use of loft ladders. To ensure an extendable loft hatch ladder does not hit anyone standing below it in the face as it opens, some form of lock or spring mechanism is required. Additionally, a loft ladder is only as safe as its fitting. If the ladder is fitted to the loft hatch incorrectly, or the loft hatch is fitted to the loft floor incorrectly, there is a chance the entire ladder could come loose when in use. This is obviously a significant safety risk, so it is always advisable to get a professional to install and test the ladder before use.

Are loft ladders easy to fit?

Because loft hatch ladders typically have many different components and need to be fitted securely, the installation process can be quite tricky for someone without any prior experience carrying out similar work. Nevertheless, it is possible to install a loft ladder yourself as long as you have all the basic tools and equipment required. You may well need to alter the loft hatch in order to make it suitable for the ladder, as well as secure the loft ladder itself. Alternatively, paying to have a loft ladder installed comes at minimal extra cost. For a small additional labour fee, you can have your loft ladder of choice fitted professionally, giving you both peace of mind and a maximum functionality. At BPS Access Solutions we offer lifetime care so that you can be sure your equipment lasts for as long as you need it.

How to fit a loft ladder

The process of fitting a loft ladder will be slightly different depending on the type of ladder being installed. If you are going for a fixed loft ladder and open hatch, the process will be much simpler than it would when installing an extendable loft ladder. If you want a hatch in a specific location you may have to cut through the ceiling yourself. When doing this it is vital you don’t accidentally cut through any wiring, plumbing or structural supports in the ceiling. Once you have the correct sized hatch for the loft ladder, the process of constructing the ladder itself is pretty straightforward – just follow the instructions. The final step is to securely attach the loft hatch and ladder to one another. Once the loft ladder has been attached to the loft hatch, and the extension mechanism has been set up correctly, your loft ladder should be good to go.

How wide are loft ladders?

Loft ladders come in many different sizes. As the majority of loft ladders are extendable and can be adjusted with the addition of extra sections, length is not much of a concern. However, there are a few different widths that can be chosen depending on the type of loft hatch ladder chosen or the specific requirements of the loft in question. The wider the loft ladder, the easier it is to climb. However, this comes with the disadvantage of being heavier and also taking up more space.

How do you pull loft ladders down?

Again, the mechanism for pulling a loft hatch ladder down into a usable position varies from model to model. Because pull down loft ladders are attached to the top of the loft hatch, the majority of the ladder’s components are hidden away from view. Usually the loft hatch is pulled down with some form of attachment, such as a hooked pole, which allows users to reach upwards. When the loft hatch has been pulled down, the ladder mechanism extends with little effort.

What are the different types of loft ladders?

There are numerous different types of loft ladders for sale. Each loft ladder solution has its own specific design and functional characteristics. Besides the most basic fixed loft ladders, all other types of loft ladder have some sort of extension mechanism which allows them to fold away neatly into the loft. Concertina loft ladders, for example, extend using a series of pivoting links that extend like a concertina. These loft ladders are particularly useful in situations where there is not much space to play with due to the fact they extend straight downwards. You can see the concertina extension mechanism in action in the video below.

CONCERTINA LOFT LADDER VIDEO

Then there are sliding loft ladders, which operate in much the same way as conventional extension ladders. They tend to be much simpler than other types of loft hatch ladder, as well as being stronger. They can, however, be harder to reach and pull down when needed. Wooden loft ladders tend to be similar in the sense that they are strong but not ideal for use in tight spaces. Unlike sliding loft ladders, wooden loft ladders extend via a hinge. This hinge means that wooden loft ladders can also be hard to extend in tight spaces or without an additional attachment.

Another type of loft ladder which is much more specialized in its design is the vertical wall hatch loft ladder. Rather than fitting into a standard ceiling, a vertical wall hatch loft ladder extends out of a vertical section of wall. Lofts with this type of wall are much less common, but the vertical wall hatch loft ladder is designed specifically to provide access in these situations. Out of all the different types of loft ladders for sale, the vertical wall hatch loft ladder is also probably the hardest to install. This means that it is advisable to get a professional to install a vertical wall hatch loft ladder for you in order to avoid incorrect installation and potential issues in the future.

Where to buy loft ladders

There is a wide variety of different vendors selling loft ladders, from mainstream stores who sell all sorts of indoor and outdoor equipment, to more specialist vendors. When it comes to industry knowledge and choice of products, we’re at the leading edge of the industry here at BPS Access Solutions. The range of products on our web shop are available for delivery across the UK. We also offer professional installation services, as well a celebrated after sales service to help all of our customers get the most out of their products for years to come.

Which loft ladders are best?

It’s hard to say which type of loft ladder is best because they all have their own individual features and attributes which mean they are suited to different settings and situations. Ultimately, all loft ladders perform the same basic function, but pull down loft ladders are the best in terms of space and convenience. When comparing our grand wooden loft ladder and our deluxe wooden loft ladder, there are a couple of clear differences that make the grand version an even more appealing choice than the deluxe version.

GRAND WOODEN LOFT LADDER VIDEO

The additional features that set the grand wooden ladder apart from the deluxe wooden ladder include extra large non-slip treads and a higher weight rating of 200 kg. The additional reinforcement offered by the grand wooden ladder makes it a more appealing choice for a loft which will be accessed regularly, but not necessarily the optimum loft hatch ladder in all scenarios.

DELUXE WOODEN LOFT LADDER VIDEO

Which loft ladder should I buy?

If your loft space is going to be accessed regularly by a number of people, a heavy-duty wooden loft ladder may well be the most appropriate option. If having a ladder out for a long period of time is likely to cause inconvenience in your home, a large wooden ladder would probably not be the best choice. A sliding loft ladder offers quick set up as well as a higher weight rating. Meanwhile, concertina loft ladders work best in smaller spaces because they can be extended straight downwards. Some people like the aesthetic appeal of a wooden loft ladder as they work better with certain decors. Ultimately, it’s down to individual preference and the specifics of the room the loft ladder will be installed in.

How much are loft ladders?

Most loft ladders are at least £200, but prices vary depending on the type of ladder in question. Generally, sliding loft ladders are the cheapest due to their simple structure and design. The fewer sliding sections, the cheaper the sliding loft ladder, meaning a simple 2 section loft ladder can be bought for around £150. A wooden loft ladder will usually be more expensive than an aluminium loft ladder because they are harder to manufacture. Meanwhile, concertina ladders are the most expensive type of loft ladder because of their complex extension mechanism. It’s important to remember that the cheapest loft ladders won’t necessarily be the best suited to your individual requirements. The installation cost should also be a consideration when working out the total budget for the project.

How important is industry expertise?

When it comes to choosing a loft ladder, many people opt to pick one themselves based only upon minimal research or online guidance. Most of the time this does not cause any issues because in many instances loft ladder installations are relatively straightforward. As long as the loft is in a house which has been constructed using standard materials and methods, and there are no special requirements when it comes to the type of ladder needed, picking a loft ladder without guidance should suffice. A standard loft with some form of hatch already installed will work well with most types of loft ladder.

However, issues can arise if something has been overlooked or there are any unexpected hiccups during the installation process. This could be due to the presence of an unexpected roof beam where the loft ladder hatch is supposed to be installed, or even a miscalculation of the parameters of the ladder or loft hatch. To avoid issues like these, it is always best to have a consultation with someone who has experience installing loft ladders, even if it’s just a brief chat about potential options.

At BPS Access Solutions, we have many years’ experience advising clients about all kinds of access solutions, from scaffold systems, to staircases and, of course, all types of ladders. We advise commercial clients and homeowners on the best equipment for their own specific needs, and provide all sorts of loft ladder solutions. Discussing your project and getting to understand your individual needs is one of the most important parts of our business process. Once we have talked to you and are able to understand what you need, we can use our extensive knowledge of the industry and the equipment currently available. You know what you need, and we know what will work best for you when it comes to loft ladders and other access solutions.

We also provide industry-leading installation services. Our expert installation technicians have years of experience installing every type of access solution on the market. They are trained to ensure all equipment installations meet and surpass necessary safety requirements. If you would like to know any more about any of the loft ladders we have discussed, or would like advice on which loft ladder solutions would work best for you, please get in touch.

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