The loft in your house gives you extra storage for some of the things you may not have an urgent need for. Accessing the loft either to do inspection, pick a few items, or to do some renovation work requires that you get an appropriate loft ladder. The ladder you buy entirely depends on what your personal preferences are, the space that is available, and the frequency of usage.
There are different types of loft ladders from the aluminium one which is basic in design to the concertina which is space saving. For safety of loft access, it is important you carefully choose your loft ladder so that it matches your hatch. To enable you to do this, there are certain factors you must consider.
Floor to Ceiling Height
This measures the distance stretching from the floor all the way to the point where your loft ladder will rest on the ceiling. This is usually required where the loft ladders you are using are designed in the folding style or have an integrated hatch and frame. As you inspect the specifications for your loft ladder, you will see indications of the minimum and maximum height from floor to ceiling that the ladder can be fitted.
Floor to Floor Height
This measurement covers the distance from the floor all the way to the other floor of the above rom which is usually the attic or loft. This type of measurement is mostly required for concertina, sliding, and telescopic loft ladders. This is because these ladders have to be fixed to the floor through a bracket. Just like the folding style ladders, these ladders will also have a minimum and maximum indication of the floor to floor height they can be adjusted to fit.
Loft Opening Dimensions
For your loft ladders to fit in the loft floor, there must be a hole that is large enough to accommodate it. Looking at the loft opening dimensions which are usually indicated on the loft ladders, you will know the maximum size of the hole that should be made. That said, you must consider the position of joists as well as other obstructions like cabling which naturally put a limit on the size of the loft opening.
Vertical and Horizontal Clearance
This measurement covers the distance from the nearest obstruction to the hinge end of your loft hatch horizontally and vertically. The obstruction could be anything from a boiler to the eaves of the roof or any other structural obstruction which is immovable. For instance, when you look at the loft ladders & hatches by Fakro, you will see the required maximum clearance indication which technically takes into consideration the loft ladder movement into the loft space all the way through the arc to their final resting position.
When the loft ladders are being retracted into the loft, they move through an arc. Swing clearance is the measurement of this arc. If you don’t factor this in well in advance, you may think you have enough room when the ladders are fully extended, but when it comes to folding, the swing clearance may not allow for that.
The last consideration when matching your loft ladder to the hatch is the landing space. By carefully looking at the measurement from the nearest obstruction to the hinge of the latch, you can tell if you have adequate landing space. The landing space is simply the horizontal distance measured along the floor from the resting place of the feet to the hinge of the hatch once the loft ladders are fully extended.