A Guide to Choosing Loft Ladders
Buying a loft ladder makes access to the extra storage space in your loft much easier and a whole lot safer. The ladder that you buy is going to depend on your personal preference, the space available and how often you are going to use them. They range from a basic aluminium ladder through to space saving concertina and deluxe timber folding ladders to automatic electric ladders and custom designed loft and access ladders.
Remember: a loft ladder can usually only be used if you are using your loft as storage space. An inhabitable room will need a permanent staircase fitted that complies with relevant building regulations.
Main Types of Loft Ladder
In essence there are two main types of loft ladder, sliding and folding, which can be made in two materials, metal or timber. Most metal ladders are aluminium, although heavier duty ladders tend to be made from steel.
By far the easiest ladders to fit and use are the sliding variety. They are usually attached to the joists inside your loft and usually come as two or three section ladders. Most modern homes in the UK will have a loft opening big enough to meet the minimum sizes specified, or will easily be able to extend it to fit.
They don't usually come with a loft hatch supplied but can come with a kit that allows you to convert your existing hatch into a hinged hatch.
Budget sliding ladders are made of lightweight aluminium and are really designed for minimal, light usage. They are a lot noisier to use than the more 'deluxe' timber versions but do a straightforward job for a decent price.
There are two variants to the sliding model.
The first is the Concertina Loft Ladder. These ladders are excellent space savers requiring virtually no clearance or storage space in your loft and have small landing space requirements. This does come at a price however. Cheap budget concertina ladders are truly awful things. Because they require so much engineering they cannot be manufactured cheaply, when they are they are horrible ladders to install and use.
The truth is that we have stopped selling budget versions of these ladders. Our concertina ladders are either the incredible Dimes ladders made in Italy or heavy duty, almost industrial quality, ladders made in the UK. The ladders by comparison to other loft ladders are expensive but we have had nothing but glowing reports back from our customers.
A new addition to the sliding ladders category is the hugely impressive Telesteps Loft Ladder Range. Made in Sweden to very exacting standards these Telescopic Ladders have the same space saving qualities of concertina ladders married to a minimalist design aesthetic. These ladders are the perfect balance of form and function. They look fantastic and can fit in ridiculously tight spaces. The main benefit though is the price as the simpler design makes for a better value ladder.
Timber sliding ladders by contrast tend to be quieter, feel more secure and have spring actions which offer a smooth controlled closing and opening action. They are of course a bit more expensive but can come in a range of timber types and finishes to give a luxurious overall feel. Perfect if you plan to use the ladders frequently and have them on show.
Most come with handrails as standard, or as options, and deeper tread dimensions making them ideal for safely carrying boxes into the loft.
The second type of ladder is the folding style of loft ladder. They are fairly straightforward to use. The unit simply folds up, usually in two or three sections which end up stacked on top of each other on the loft hatch once fully closed.
By far the most popular, and practical option is the timber folding ladder. As before timber ladders tend to be quieter and smoother to operate than aluminum ladders and they feel more secure and robust.
Aluminium folding ladders can 'bend' or 'flex' as you stand on them which is entirely meant but can be disconcerting for some people.
Good quality timber loft ladders usually come with a 'frame' and a loft hatch attached ready to be installed in your loft opening. They will have locks which hold the ladder either in a closed or locked position and are usually 'sprung' to make them easy to lower or raise. You will have to make your loft opening the size required by the hatch supplied, but most have different hatch sizes you can choose and you should be able to find one that suits your dimensions.
About the Maximum Load of a Ladder
When you look at the maximum load figure listed under the ladder's specifications please bear in mind that if you intend to carry boxes into your loft space you need to add this weight on to your weight in order to be sure they will meet your requirements.
Guarantee and Life Expectancy
We have listed the Manufacturer's guarantee period under the specifications of each ladder. These vary from 1 year to 10 years depending on the ladder. We believe that a good quality loft ladder which has been correctly fitted and which is used within the limits set down by the manufacturer should give you trouble free usage for between 5 and 10 years.
Accessories for your Loft Ladder
You will see that we have a section for loft ladder accessories. It is worth considering whether you will extra options such as a hand rail or loft ladder extension piece. You should also think about a guard rail inside you loft for added safety.
If you are planning on installing the ladders yourself you should also make sure that you have a good, safe set of stepladders that are tall enough to get you into your loft without stepping above the safe working height of the stepladders. There are offers on to get a discount when you buy stepladders with our loft ladders, and conveniently we can deliver them all at the same time ready for you to get stuck in!
Loft Ladder guaranteed Fit Promise
How do I know if the Loft Ladders I want will fit in my House? The majority of people will be able to find a loft ladder that suits their needs and will fit in their loft. We have an extensive range of ladders available each with detailed information about the ladders’ fitting requirements and dimensions.
If you use our ‘How to Measure for Loft Ladders’ guide and send us your measurements we will guarantee that the loft ladders you choose will fit.
The truth is that buying the right set of loft ladders can be a little bit complicated. But we are the experts and we are always happy to talk to customers about their needs so feel free to call us on 01204 590 232 and talk through your needs. Make use of the tools on the site and the unparallel information about the ladders to make informed choices, then get us to double check and give you our guarantee.