How to Choose a Loft Ladder

Published: 25th March, 2020.

From the UK’s favourite installers of made-to-measure loft hatches & ladders supplied.

It can be easy to be stuck for choice when browsing loft ladder options, as you may see, we have more than just one kind of ladder, for more than one kind of homeowner.

We’ll always guide you to choose the best ladder option for your home and some people choose to install their own ladder. It’s always best to get a professional to install your made-to-measure loft hatch and ladder, as they will know exactly how to ensure it’s installed to a safe and secure standard - plus any incorrect installs are covered with a lifetime guarantee.

Here at The Loftman Company, we’re one of the top-rated ladder installers in the UK, in fact - the average Loftman probably fits more ladders than he’ll ever climb in a single lifetime. You can trust us to carry out a flawless ladder fitting, friendly customer service while leaving no damage or mess in your home!

Types of Loft Ladders

1. Sliding / Folding

Sliding and Folding Ladders always come with 2 - 4 sections, and build onto the hatch which features spring mechanisms so that they maintain the desired opened or closed position without losing balance or base traction.

When you're ready to enter the loft you’ll need a pole to safely open the hatch (we’ll supply if you don’t already have one) – this is to safely ensure that you can open and close the hatch without the weight of the ladder falling pulling down and damaging the hatch or ceiling.

While sliding and folding loft ladders are great simple options for allowing you to access your loft, you should know how much space they’ll be occupying when stowing away - you may find that there’s some pipes or woodwork that are blocking the area in which the ladder should be tucked away into.

Popular folding/sliding loft ladders we install are manufactured by legacy UK brands such as Youngman, Fakro, Abru, Stira and Titan.

2. Concertina

This kind of ladder may be more suitable for you if your floor to floor measurement is smaller than the average household, properties such as cottages may find this to be the case. When stowed away the concertina ladder will take up less space than a folding/sliding ladder would horizontally and vertically, which is ideal if you know some obstacles within your entry space need catering for. It manages this by scissoring together from the bottom to the top and collapsing down into a much more convenient size for stowing away. You’ll still need a pole to ensure you don’t open the hatch too quickly or without full control of the swinging motion.

Our main supplier of Concertina / Scissor Ladders is Midlands-based loft experts Fakro.

3. Telescopic

The Telescopic Ladder is a fresh design that is just as innovative as the concertina ladder but to go that extra further in value, you’ll find this ladder takes up even less space above the hatch. Its smart collapsible mechanism makes it easy to stow away inside itself, and the deep non-slip treads ensure a safe and steady climb. This also comes with the spring-assisted hatch to ensure a controllable opening and features Carpet Protectors to avoid damaging your landing!

The Loftman Company is proud to supply Telescopic ladders produced by the renowned Youngman.

It could be the better option for those with muscle conditions or the elderly for example as it can include a handrail. It can also come made either from metal or plain timber for a nice wooden design.

For those with limited space in the loft near the hatch and in the landing space. By design, the ladder naturally has rung-style side handles connecting each step and can be used similarly to a handrail. It takes up even less space than the concertina and is flatter.

Telescopic ladders would often be cheaper than a concertina ladder of the same brand/quality.

Loft Ladder Size Specifications

Consider the dimensions of your ladder where on the landing it’s safe to install it. You need to always ensure that there is enough space on the landing for safe use of the ladder you choose and that your ability to enter the loft safely is compromised just because you prefer a certain design - rest assured, at The Loftman Company we’ll always be transparent with you, if we feel like you’ve chosen a ladder that doesn’t seem suitable, we’d rather encourage a different kind and know our customers are safe.

Floor to Ceiling Height
If you’re thinking of going for a folding ladder, then this is one measurement you can’t ignore! Always ensure there's enough space for the ladder to open fully. And bear in mind that on the other hand if you have higher than average ceilings, you’ll have too much space, but we take these details over the phone often to double-check that you have sufficient landing space and that you aren’t expecting a ladder that doesn’t reach the floor. Fortunately, you should also be able to find the min/max requirements that are defined for any ladder before you purchase.

From Landing to Loft Floor
This is required more for the concertina, telescopic and the sliding ladders as they feature extra brackets that are fitted to the loft flooring. This is another measurement that can’t be ignored due to the safety of installing something that doesn't quite fit properly - if you make the ladder more vertical than it’s intended to be, this could be an issue if it’s too steep to use correctly then the non-slip treads will not be as effective.

Expected Hatch Space
Upgrading to a much larger hatch is often required when replacing an older design, while this widens the entry space and is all-round safer, you need to be considering what's in the loft now that's fitted close to your current hatch. Bear in mind that cables and pipes could be found around here, and the positioning of wooden joists aren’t always going to work in your favour. Assess the space and see what can be optimised, and be prepared in case you need to rearrange things, or ever have to pay for a plumbing service to move pipes.

Swing Space
You need to consider the space in which the hatch opens into, firstly check the ceiling space, you’d be pretty unlucky to have your landing light directly in the space you want your new hatch to occupy. Not always likely but it’s an obvious one to go and miss. Secondly consider the swing space of the hatch and sliding ladder, in between the opened/closed resting positions, you need to consider this arcing movement as you’ll need to accommodate for any joists blocking a straight clearance, or any hanging wires that could get caught on it.

Picking The Right Loft Ladder

When choosing your new loft ladder don’t feel lost for choice, hopefully, our guide has enlightened you somewhat and explained the purposes of each loft ladder. But one thing to remember, as one of the UK’s highest recommended loft companies, we’re always happy to offer free advice based on your measurements, and if there’s any reason we think you’ll be happier with a more appropriate ladder we’ll let you know!

View our entire collection of loft ladders in our brochure!

We only supply the UK’s most trusted loft ladder brands, built from the best hatches and materials for the job. And you’ll be happy to know we offer a lifetime guarantee on all our services. But to make your money last longer in the long run, we always recommend having raised loft boarding installed if you want to get the most out of your loft.

This goes for everything in the loft; raised loft boarding protects everything from damp and condensation, including your pipes and wires, ladders, stored items, and on top of that you’re improving your houses heat retention and energy efficiency!

Talk to us today about this.

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