Creating space in your loft not only gives your home added value but can also provide you with a cosy and unique living space. If you’re using your loft for storage or if it’s already a converted space, safe access to this area is key.
I’m sure you’ve heard stories about your uncles’ friends’ brother, who gets in his loft by crawling onto a window ledge, leaping on the banister and stretching into the loft. Well we are going to tell you that you don’t have to risk your life every time you want to access this space. Measuring up and selecting a loft ladder really doesn’t have to be a confusing task, with this guide you’ll be all set up in no time.
Measuring up can seem daunting, you’ll visit a website with hundreds of products and specifications and literally have no idea where to start, but don’t worry we are going to break it down for you below.
Floor to Floor Height
The measurement for floor to floor height is exactly that, the length you have from the loft floor to the floor beneath your loft, where the ladders will rest.
Floor to Ceiling Height
Again, the floor to ceiling height is pretty self-explanatory, it’s the measurement taken from the floor where your loft ladder will rest to the ceiling of the same room.
Loft Opening Dimensions
Here we are going to kill two birds with one stone as they say, (no animals will be harmed in the measuring of this loft). The loft opening dimensions are needed to ensure if you purchase a ladder with a hatch, the ladder will fit into the ceiling space. Even if you are going to keep your existing hatch and buy the ladder only it’s good to know the dimensions to ensure the ladder alone will fit comfortably.
Simply measure the height and width of the opening, once you have these dimensions you know if a loft ladder and hatch will fit or not.
For example, if you measure that you can make a loft opening with maximum dimensions of 1100 mm x 600 mm then you will know that a loft ladder with a supplied hatch size of 1000 mm x 500 mm will fit. Whereas one with a hatch size of 1000 mm x 650 mm will not.
Clearance are measurements that are often forgotten about, but they are just as important as the rest. There are three types of clearance that we need to take into consideration when purchasing a loft ladder; vertical, horizontal and swing.
The vertical clearance is the vertical space you have in the loft. If you measure the floor of the loft to the loft ceiling this will give you your vertical clearance which is needed when the ladder is being stored, if you don’t have a great deal of this not to worry, a telescopic ladder could be the perfect solution.
The horizontal clearance is the amount of space you have directly behind your hatch, horizontally to the nearest obstruction, a wall, a boiler or whatever this may be.
Swing clearance measures the arc that folding ladders make as they are retracted into the loft. To get this measurement you need to measure the distance from the hinge end of your hatch to the nearest obstruction (usually a wall). Your loft ladders may fit perfectly in the loft, but if they don’t fold and unfold properly, they are practically useless.
Landing space is the final measurement, we need to measure the area where the ladder can rest on the floor. This measurement is taken horizontally along the floor and ensures the ladder you select has the room it needs when in operation.
Choosing a Loft Ladder
When you have all your specifications your next job has been made much easier. You just need to find a loft ladder that will fit and function with those dimensions. If you have a small hatch a telescopic is perfect, for larger hatches a complete kit or even an electric loft ladder could be the ideal solution.
If you’re lucky enough to have a hatch size suitable for a range of loft ladders, it may be time to stick the kettle on and continue your research. There are tons of helpful guides online about choosing the right loft ladder for you, going into detail about robust timber loft ladders as well as lightweight aluminium ladders in a range of styles.
You’ve done the hard bit, and you’ll soon be able to access your loft space safely.