It might be difficult to know exactly which loft ladder you should pick. After all, there are so many different things to consider when it’s time to pick a ladder for your loft. There’s the length of the ladder to consider, the type of the ladder, the material of the ladder and several other factors. It’s almost so troublesome that I can imagine some people giving up and simply choosing to not get a loft ladder. But loft ladders are a necessary part of a loft, especially if you are not installing a staircase. A loft ladder is needed to ensure that you can easily and safely access your loft as a storage space. If your loft is used as anything else, a ladder is not suitable as fire and building regulations would apply.
To help you with choosing a ladder for your loft, we have come up with this guide to introduce you to the few types of ladders available.
Heavy Duty Concertina Loft Ladders
Concertina loft ladders are basically, the best loft ladders possible. These ladders are great for saving space – they take up little to no space inside the loft and also require little landing space when extended. There are budget versions of concertina loft ladders, however, they are often terrible and easily broken. A heavy-duty concertina loft ladder is what you should get instead! These ladders are a lot more expensive in comparison to all other loft ladders. However, they are of high quality and can withstand industrial use. Getting a heavy-duty concertina loft ladder is an excellent choice for your home if you are planning to reside there for a great many years.
Sliding Loft Ladders
These ladders are the easiest to install and use for your loft. Essentially, these ladders are extendable. This enables you to pack them up when they are unused in order to save space. Such ladders are fitted to the joists inside of your loft and they come in either three or two sections. However, you do have to check and ensure that your loft has an opening that is big enough for such ladders.
Most sliding loft ladders do not come with a hatch for your loft. However, that is not a major issue as they, instead, come with a kit for your existing hatch. These kits will enable you to make a hinged hatch out of an existing hatch, thus, ensuring that the ladder you purchase will work perfectly for your loft.
Sliding loft ladders come in two different materials – hardy timber and lightweight aluminium. The lightweight aluminium ladders are designed to be budget. They are highly affordable but designed to only be used lightly. They are also noisier to use than their timber counterparts. The timber ladders are more costly, however, they are able to withstand greater weights and usage.
Telescopic Loft Ladders
If the cost of a heavy-duty concertina loft ladder has deterred you, then a telescopic loft ladder might be your next best choice. These ladders embody the boons of a concertina ladder as they are equally space-saving. The only difference is that telescopic loft ladders are simpler and more minimalistic in design. This enables the telescopic loft ladder to retail for a lower price than our heavy duty concertina loft ladders.
Apart from that, these ladders are also super chic and modern looking and would be the perfect addition to your home. If your lower floor to loft height is smaller than average, say, between 2170 mm to 2880 mm, then the telescopic loft ladder would be perfect for you!
Folding Loft Ladders
This is the second type of loft ladder available and such ladders are essentially able to fold themselves up. These ladders come in either two or sometimes three sections and when they are not in use, the sections can be folded and stacked on top of one another on top of the loft hatch.
Again, for folding loft ladders, they are two main material types to choose from – aluminium or timber. Timber folding loft ladders are often the popular choice as they are more discreet and smoother. They also feel more hardy and safe as compared to the aluminium folding versions. The aluminium versions may contort a little whilst in use. This is by design, however, it can still feel unsafe and terrifying for some.
Timber folding ladders are also a better choice as such ladders often come together with a frame and loft hatch. This makes installation easier and the hatches also have locks which are used to fix the ladders in either a closed or locked position. When usage is needed, the locks can be sprung and the ladder will be lowered easily. When purchasing such a loft ladder, it is important to measure and know the size of your loft opening. Your hatch will have to match the loft opening in order for the installation to be possible. Hatches often come in a variety of common sizes, therefore, you do not have to worry too much about finding one that fits your loft.
Electric Loft Ladders
Electric ladders are perhaps the ultimate luxury for your loft. As the name suggests, electric ladders are ones that run on electric. This then enables the ladders to either be semi-automatic or fully electric. These ladders are essentially folding ladders. The only difference is that they are powered by electricity and can be controlled through the use of a button. This is the ultimate ease for you. There is no need to spring your hatch to lower your ladder. Instead, all you need to do is press one button and the ladder will descend for you.
Other Miscellaneous Information – Loading, Guarantees and Fitting
It is important to remember that every ladder in this guide would have a maximum weight load. Please remember to keep that in mind as you make your purchases. When bringing items into the loft, do remember to add the item’s weight to your own weight before climbing up. Ensure that the total weight does not exceed the ladder’s maximum loading as that would be unsafe.
Most ladders are backed by a manufacturer’s guarantee and this can differ for every ladder depending on their type, material and brand. As a good gauge, a high-quality loft ladder should last you five to ten years.
Fitting a ladder or hatch for your loft can be hard. To ensure that you get the best fit, you should always consult with a professional first.