We've covered the topic of ladder safety in a couple of our previous posts and highlighted that it's very important to choose the right ladder for the right job. One type of ladder which is extremely popular here in the UK is the loft ladder. These are ladders designed to be fixed permanently in the loft space and make it easy and safe for you to ascend into the attic space of your house. For very little cost, they can open up a large under-utilised space in your house which can be used for storage or hobbies and can add huge value to your property. Loft ladders are manufactured in either aluminium or wood and can slide, fold or concertina in on themselves in order to store in a much smaller space, out of sight in the loft when not being used. Loft ladders offer a much safer way of getting into your loft, rather than trying to balance a ladder against the loft opening, or standing on top of a step ladder and lifting yourself in as many people do. Surprisingly, installing a loft ladder can be quite simple and will help prevent future accidents!

An Overview of Installing Loft Ladders

Installing most loft ladders is a task that's quite straightforward for someone who has some rudimentary DIY experience and a range of basic tools. Aluminium sliding or concertina type loft ladders will usually be installed above your existing loft hatch door which must be modified to swing down rather than push up into the loft as many older hatch covers do. This is the most difficult part of fitting a loft ladder but you shouldn’t let it put you off. Often you can utilise the existing hatch cover if it is robust enough, but if not, a new door can be made simply using a suitably sized piece of 12 -19mm plywood, block board or MDF. All our loft ladders are supplied complete with two hinges and a locking catch, enabling you to install the swing down door without further purchases. The door should be hinged along the back edge and mounted flush with the ceiling. You should cut the door as accurately as possible so that it fits snugly within the hatch surround and complete the job by pinning a wooden bead around the hatch frame in order to form a draught proof jam for the door. Catches supplied with loft ladders are designed to be easily operated from ground level with the pole supplied allowing you to open and close the loft door without resorting to standing on stools or chairs etc. to reach it. The loft ladder is then fixed to the floor of the loft so that the ladder can be lowered into its working position after the hatch door has been opened... this is done again with the aid of the pole. For speed and simplicity of installation, it's hard to beat the concertina type aluminium loft ladder. This will fit most existing loft openings without the need for enlarging the hatchway, whereas the 2 or 3 section sliding aluminium loft ladders, due to their design, may require the loft opening to be enlarged before installation; while this can be achieved fairly easily, it is important that it is done correctly to preserve the strength and integrity of the ceiling structure and you may wish to employ a professional fitter to install your ladder if you need to enlarge the hatchway. All ladders carry their minimum required hatch dimensions and clearance sizes clearly shown on their packaging or web page and it is vital that you check these dimensions before purchasing your preferred model. You will also need to check the distance vertically down from the loft floor (where the ladder will fix) to the landing floor below, don’t worry about the angle of the ladder, the manufacturer allows for this when writing the installation guide, you simply need to measure straight down or ‘Floor to Floor’ as it is usually described, in order to choose the correct loft ladder model. A few models such as the concertina type and the folding wooden type require ceiling to floor measurements rather than floor to floor heights, so be sure to read the specification and check your measurements carefully prior to buying. An increasingly popular design of loft ladder is the wooden folding type. This design originated in Scandinavia where timber is plentiful and has been the material of choice for house building for centuries. Their pleasing aesthetics and spring assisted action has helped to make them the most popular design of loft ladder currently available. This design of loft ladder features 3 short wooden ladder sections with wide comfortable treads, joined with metal hinges which allow the ladder to fold back onto itself for storage above the hatch door. These ladders invariably come ready mounted within their own wooden frame and with a fully insulated and decorated spring loaded trapdoor, making operation very easy and safe. However, this design will certainly require an enlarged opening in the ceiling to be created, and this must be done accurately in order for the complete ladder, frame and trapdoor to sit squarely and operate correctly.

Examples of Quality Loft Ladders

Alufix Concertina Aluminium Loft Ladder Loft Ladders The answer to limited space problems... the Alufix is a top quality concertina-type loft ladder which closes into a small cube and sits over the trapdoor taking up no loft floor space and requiring minimal vertical clearance in the loft, making it an ideal choice for anyone with smaller lofts with limited headroom clearance. Featuring extra wide treads (80mm / 3") for comfort, Spring controlled operation, and supplied fully assembled for immediate simple installation....the Alufix comes complete with hinges for the trapdoor, a door catch and pole hook only (buyer to supply own wooden pole) Suitable for: • Minimum Hatch size = 500mm (20in) wide x 600mm (24in) long • Floor to Ceiling heights between 2.46m (8ft) and 2.73m (8ft11) • Maximum Load 100kg (15st. 10lbs) The Alufix remains one of our bestselling loft ladders, mainly due to its clever design which will allow installation in tight spaces where other loft ladders would not fit. The Alufix is a well-established design, and has been around for many years and is testimony to the saying the simple ideas are always the best. To download a product brochure visit : https://www.midlandladders.com//images/ALUFIX%20BROCHURE.pdf

Youngman Easiway 3 Section Alloy Loft Ladders

The Easiway is a high quality 3-section aluminium loft ladder from the biggest name in the business "Youngman"..... Comfortable 2in wide treads set this ladder apart from all its competitors in this price bracket. It is supplied with a tubular aluminium handrail for safety and user confidence which can be fitted to either side of the ladder, and comes complete with an operating pole, trapdoor hinges a door catch and fully illustrated instructions, in fact everything you need for quick, simple installation. A strong guide arm connects the top of the ladder to the loft floor for controlled, smooth lowering and stowing of the ladder in and out of loft with ease... a quality product which will give you years of trouble free use. Specification : • Manufactured to comply with EN 14975 • Floor to floor heights between 2.3m (7ft6) and 3.0m (9ft10) • Minimum hatch size of 432mm (17in)wide x 508mm (20in) long • Vertical clearance needed above loft hatch = 750mm (2ft6) • Horizontal clearance needed behind hatch = 1050mm (3ft5) • Duty Rating : 100kg (15.7st) The Easiway is probably the nation’s favourite loft ladder. There are thousands in everyday use in homes throughout the country and they offer great features and simple installation for an unbeatable price. To download a brochure visit : https://www.midlandladders.com//products/Youngman_Easiway_3_Section_Alloy_Loft_Ladder-170-52.html Youngman "ECO" S-Line Wooden Loft Ladder Loft LaddersFrom YOUNGMAN... the biggest name in the business... this beautiful solid spruce ladder breaks all the rules by offering superb quality at a budget price... and now supplied complete with a tubular handrail and protective pvc feet at no extra cost!! we don't know how they do it. The ECO S-Line has been specifically designed to fit snuggly between UK standard 600mm joist centres meaning minimal fuss when installing. This superb, solid spruce 3 section folding ladder requires no clearance in the loft as the three sections fold back onto the trapdoor and store within the frame itself. Suitable for all ceiling heights up to 2.81m (9ft3) or 3.51m (11ft6) with the optional extension kit. This quality ladder has 80mm (3in) deep grooved treads for comfort and safety and is pre-mounted onto the fully insulated white faced trapdoor with full rubber seal that will blend beautifully with any decor. Mounted within a solid spruce frame ready for easy installation, the ECO requires an 1150mm x 570mm (3'9" x 1'10") opening in your ceiling, the complete unit then simply screws into place. Powerful dual spring counterbalanced door for easy operation, complete with one handrail which can be attached to either side, pvc feet, operating pole and installation guide. ECO S-Line is tested and certified to EN 14975:2006 and is FSC & PEFC certified meaning all the wood used in the production of this ladder has been sourced from responsibly managed forests. For more information on the Youngman Eco loft ladder visit : https://www.midlandladders.com//pdf/Eco_S_Line_literature[1].pdf We hope you have found this information useful in helping you choose a loft ladder for your home. The ladders described above are just a small selection of the range of top quality loftladders we carry in stock for free next day delivery. To view our entire range, visit https://www.midlandladders.com//catalog/Loft_Ladders-4-1.html or call us on 01527 821651 to chat to our helpful, friendly sales team.