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Loft Ladders – Which Ones Should You choose?

The attic, especially the unused one, is a place we don’t visit very often. We tend to store things we don’t need there and only go in there to add more items. This is why many people decide not to build a traditional staircase, thus gaining a lot of space and money, which can then be used to finish another room. 

In this case, an excellent compromise is the loft ladder, which can successfully replace the traditional one. However, what kind of stairs should you choose in order to be sure that they will be comfortable, safe to use, and will also insulate the ceiling well? After all, it’s worth remembering that the attic is often unheated, so you should take care of insulating the hatch to the top as much as possible to prevent heat loss in the building. 

What Types of Loft Ladders are Available? 

As we mentioned at the beginning, an attic is not usually a presentable room and therefore does not require a presentable staircase. A traditional staircase is also not advisable for the reason that it interrupts the continuity of thermal insulation through a permanent opening in the ceiling. A folding loft ladder is the best solution for such space. There are currently three most popular types of solutions to choose from. These include: 

Folding Loft Ladders 

This is the most frequently chosen type of loft ladder. They are characterised by a simple and durable construction and low price. They are most commonly made up of three or four parts. The parts are connected to each other by hinges so that they can be folded and do not take up much space. Usually, this type of staircase is made of wood, although you will also encounter steel or aluminium versions. 

Scissor Loft Ladders 

Scissor stairs are mostly made entirely of metal. Unlike the previous solution, these fold into an accordion and unfortunately are considered by many to be less comfortable. However, they do have one big advantage – to a certain extent, you can adjust their length, making it easier to fit them precisely to the height of the room without having to trim them. They also take up very little space when closing and opening. 

Extendable Loft Ladders 

Extending loft ladders are most similar to folding ones, although they do not have hinges. They are replaced by special fittings that allow the parts to slide past each other. In addition, extendable loft ladders can have the greatest fitting height – up to 3.35 metres! Of course, they will also suit lower rooms, as you are able to adjust them to any height. They also take up less space when opening and folding than folding stairs, unfortunately, as you may have guessed, they are more expensive.
Read more about the types of loft ladders, as well as the possibility of purchasing them from a reputable manufacturer at https://www.fakro.co.uk/loft_ladders/. 

How to Choose a Loft Ladder Properly? 

Choosing a loft ladder may seem like a simple task on the surface, but in the final analysis may not be so easy. First of all, you should select the stairs according to the previously made opening in the ceiling. If the ceiling is wooden, you should look for a box that is the same width as the spacing of the beams. Finally, remember the rule of thumb of keeping a few millimetres of spacing between the beams, in order to fix and insulate the box. 

In fact, the most important issue to address when choosing a loft ladder is minimising so-called thermal bridges, i.e. places through which heat can escape from the interior of the house. This is particularly important in the case of an uninsulated loft. In that case, let’s take care to install stairs with the lowest possible heat transfer coefficient. A good quality staircase has this coefficient at a level of 0.5 to 0.8 W/m2xK. If the loft is insulated, you can opt for slightly cheaper solutions with a coefficient ranging from 0.8 to even 1.2. 

Another important aspect you should look at is the height of the box. If you have a concrete ceiling that is plastered underneath, the box should be no thicker than that. Wooden ceilings usually have a suspended ceiling, so in this case, the stair flap should face the plasterboard ceiling. 

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