Complete Guide To Choose A Loft Ladder For Your Home

Home treatment specialists claim that it would not make sense to have a loft without using a ladder. Other ladders might help you reach the loft space, such as a step ladder or even an “action” ladder. But none of them provide the same advantages as the loft ladder.

If you’re going to purchase a ladder for the loft space in your house, be sure to invest in one that’s of high quality.

Table of Contents

How To Choose The Right Loft Ladder

best electric sliding loft ladder ideas

A loft ladder is a retractable staircase that can be pulled from the ceiling to give you access to the upstairs space, then folded back up away when not in use.

A loft ladder helps you get up and down from the loft quicker, easier, and safest. It can make a difference between a loft that gets used with all of its contents and one that’s forgotten.

Installing a loft ladder or fold-down stairs is a relatively straightforward DIY project that can be done in as few as 3 hours.

Retractable loft ladders usually come as pre-assembled kits for delivery to your home or pick up at a local building supply store.

But there are various factors to consider as you decide which ladder to purchase.

Location Of The Ladder

loft ladder ideas on tiny houses

loft ladders are created to fit between the framing of the ceiling, which is on the floor (or base) of a loft. Before installing your loft ladder, make sure that it is positioned between existing joists or trusses. Don’t forget to choose a loft ladder size fit for space between existing joists or trusses when possible.

Sometimes, the ladder will fit into a pre-existing loft access hatch. In other cases, though, you may need to enlarge or create a new opening.

When finding a spot for your loft ladder, be sure it is located in a safe area where there will be enough room to maneuver up and down the stairs and as you enter the loft.

Not all lofts have the same framing, so how you enlarge or install a loft opening will depend on what type of framing your loft uses.

Type Of Framing

loft ladder ideas in black metal frame

You may already know from experience that your loft framing comprises trusses or individual rafters and floor joists. Trusses can be assembled as a system of members joined by gussets (metal connectors).

The structural integrity of the components cannot be compromised, which means you can not cut or alter them. When installing a loft hatch and stair system, the plan typically places them in a space between two trusses.

Standard framing can usually be rearranged to pass through a hatchway opening or install additional openings. Still, it becomes more complicated when trying to work around existing rafters and joists.

Joist Or Truss Spacing And Orientation

minimalist white loft ladder ideas

Standard size loft ladders are designed for lumber that has a 24-inch spacing between each joist. So there are approximately 22 1/2 inches of open space between the pairs of joists.

If the gap between your framing is less than 22 1/2 inches and one of those gaps falls over where you’d like to install the ladder, no prep work will be required. If not, additional framing may be needed.

When installing a ladder, it’s possible that the joists running perpendicular to the position of where you are trying to install. In most cases, this can be overcome by installing headers and double-joists with standard framing. However, trusses make installation more difficult because you cannot cut them on site.

Many alterations will be difficult to complete and expensive, so you should seek guidance from a specialist about the options available.

Basic Space Requirements For An Loft Ladder

squared metal loft ladder ideas in black color

Full-size loft ladders require an opening in the ceiling of at least 22 1/2 x 54 inches. Your first step is looking for a space with this much clearance. Please make sure there is enough space between the top of the ladder and ceiling to mount and dismount with belongings safely.

Too, be sure to account for headroom, so you don’t hit your head on the top of the framing when using a ladder. Finally, make sure there’s a sufficient amount of open space on the ground below the loft opening to accommodate the ladder when it is fully extended.

There are a variety of factors that influence the length required, like the ladder-type and model. Make sure to follow instructions on your specific model before purchasing.

When space is limited, consider purchasing a ladder that is designed for closets or other small spaces. Some models need less floor space than standard ladders.

Length And Weight

Loft ladders in different lengths are sold. You will need to measure the distance from your ceiling to the floor and choose an appropriate size for your loft ladder.

The weight rating of a ladder is related to the load capacity. You should choose a ladder with higher weight ratings and is sturdier as you would need it for heavier loads.

To be safe, you should consider investing in a ladder capable of supporting the combined weight of your heaviest user and their fuel packages. However, this may mean that a 250-pound capacity is sufficient for the job, although 300 pounds may be better even if it means more framing.


folding wooden loft ladder ideas with special lit

There are three materials that loft ladders can be made out of aluminum, steel, or wood.

Aluminum is a popular choice when it comes to ladder because it’s lightweight and solid. However, aluminum won’t corrode from exposure to relative humidity or temperature change over time.

A wood ladder’s lifespan often parallels the length of the house. This ladder may be more likely to succumb to moisture and temperature change, as well as natural defects.

Usability Features

Loft ladders come in a variety of styles and designs that accommodate differing opinions. Much of this is based on personal preference. These are some of the features you should consider if you’re limited on space and funds:

Rungs vs. steps: Different retractable loft stairs have different step heights- some shallow, while others like climbing a ladder. The steps are not like regular stairs, and in most cases, it’s best to climb up and down as if you’re on a ladder.

Folding vs. telescoping: Some ladders fold, while others telescope out in an extension-ladder format. There is also a type of ladder that extends in a concertina pattern, which can sometimes be referred to as “concertina.”

Angle: Staircases and loft ladders typically have a steep angle, as opposed to regular stairs. Some people prefer the angle of the stairs that is not too steep for accessibility or safety purposes. Ladders typically have the same angle as those used when painting houses or cleaning windows. Stairs have a slope, but this angle is not as steep.

Handrail: Some loft ladders have a handrail. Keep in mind that climbing them usually means carrying items in one hand while climbing with the other. Do you prefer to climb with a railing or just use the ladder rungs? That’s up to personal preference.

Types Of Loft Ladders

red loft ladder ideas on pool house to loft bed

The cost of installing loft ladders varies based on the type you choose. Some types only need to be installed in existing attic access, and some require a complete installation, including an access hatch. In general, loft ladders are divided into four types/categories :

Folding Ladders

concertina loft ladder ideas

A loft ladder with a folding feature might sound complicated, but they are actually effortless to use. The ladder folds up into sections that can be easily stacked underneath the hatch once it is closed. A folding ladder will typically be made of wood, which can be a charming addition to any home.

Concerns about the safety of folding ladders are unwarranted; they have been deemed completely safe. The ladder will not fold onto you while climbing it if that is what you are scared of. The locks on the segments, when fully locked, will keep the ladder from moving.

Concertina Ladders

concertina loft ladder ideas

A concertina ladder is one of the most compact ladders on the market and durable yet lightweight aluminum. They can make an ideal addition to any homeowner’s home safety kit.

Concertina ladders are accordion-style, which means they open and close easily. Loft ladder companies typically only carry these if you need anything other than the typical straight one.

Sliding Ladders

modern home with sliding loft ladder ideas

You’ve probably seen a sliding loft ladder at one point in your life; these are common because they’re versatile and have aesthetics that appeal to many people. If you don’t plan on visiting your loft regularly, this type of ladder will be the best option. The sliding ladder also easy to use, inexpensive, and also lightweight.

Electric Loft Ladders

electric sliding wooden loft ladder ideas

Yes, some loft ladders are actually electrically powered. There are two different types of electric loft ladders: semi-automatic and fully automatic.

An electric loft ladder is the same as a folding ladder, but it closes with the touch of a button. Homeowners looking for convenience will find that aspect especially appealing.

How To Install A Loft Ladder

cozy loft bed with metal loft ladder ideas

When you buy your loft ladder, make sure to read the accompanying instructions carefully. This will ensure that you don’t install your ladder incorrectly.

Since you can’t expect to install a ladder in your loft hatch because most hatches are not suitable for this, these instructions will assume that you will create an opening on the ceiling before installing the loft ladder.

Tools You’ll Need

To perform a loft ladder installation, you will usually need to bring the following tools with you: hammer, screwdriver, measuring tape, and an electric drill. Other items like saws, knives, and a carpenter’s box are also helpful but not necessary. If you have all of these things with you before starting your project, everything should go smoothly.

Creating A Loft Hatch

First, you need to select a good location for the loft hatch. Here are some things to consider when determining where it should go:

  • Check the loft ladder to see what size opening it requires. The hatch will need to be large enough to accommodate the ladder’s frame with some gaps on all sides.
  • When you head up the loft ladder, make sure there’s adequate overhead clearance so as not to hit your head.
  • When you find the right spot for your loft hatch, drill a pilot hole, so you know the location and can make sure it’s safe from above and below. The attic space you chose may not be an ideal spot when it’s viewed from the ground floor.

Once you have figured out the right place, it is time to cut your new opening.

Fitting The Ladder

You will need to add battens underneath the opening you have created for your new loft ladder to fit correctly. Measure and nail two pieces of wood directly below the opening frame – make sure your battens are level with one another and securely fitted together.

Now lower the ladder assembly into the floor opening, making sure it is flush with the ceiling. Next, check from below – or ask someone else to check for you – that the frame is level with the ceiling.

Before moving on, ensure that the ladder is opening and closing correctly in its current position.

Securing Your Loft Ladder

safety convenience home loft ladder ideas beside kitchen

Once you’re happy with where your ladder is positioned, it’s time to secure it in place. Drill two holes on the top and the bottom of each side of the frame (three holes for longer sides) and use screws or nails to keep it in position.

Ensure the ladder is secure before using it. Depending on what type of product you purchased, you may need to cut a lower ladder section to match your floor’s length.

Above are the steps to build a loft ladder. Of course, if you do not have any DIY skills or lack time to complete these tasks yourself, you can hire someone else.

Factors Affecting Loft Ladder Installation Prices

bright white loft bed with pipe loft ladder ideas

When you receive quotes for loft ladders, make sure they include the installation process as well.

Before the work is even started, a visit from an experienced contractor will take place. They’ll see what needs to be done and give you several options for starting your ladder installation. When you are offered a price over the phone, be polite and end the conversation rather than negotiating.

To determine the overall cost, we’ll take a look at what factors come into play :

  • Type of loft ladder.
  • Whether or not you need a new hatch.
  • It would be cheaper to install a loft hatch and ladder than to cut out a separate hole for the new entry point if you have an existing opening.
  • When constructing a new hatch, you typically provide some draught excluder.

A typical and custom-made two-section aluminum ladder can cost anywhere between £175 and £250, including the price for supply and fitting.

The range of pricing discussed is on the lower end, so you can expect price variations to be most pronounced if you have special requirements or are purchasing a different ladder type.

List Of Loft Ladder Ideas

There are many types of lofts ranging from cozy attic loft spaces to unique loft ladder designs. Scroll down to view a list of some common loft ladder designs which we have carefully chosen for you.

Adorable Country Kids Bedroom With Metal Rolling Loft Ladder

adorable country kids bedroom with metal rolling loft ladder

This country kid’s room features a vaulted ceiling with rustic wood beams and a metal rolling ladder that leads to the boy’s playroom, which has plenty of space for imaginative games.

The boy’s room features built-in stacked bunk beds with an iron railing and a ladder. The bedding in the room is orange and brown, too.

This room has built-in bunk beds with white and green bedding for the top bunk, a ladder that’s built-in to each bed frame, and an area rug with stripes on it going from orange to brown.

Pink And Gray Girls Room With White Loft Ladder

pink and gray girls room with white loft ladder

This top-selling pink and gray girl’s bedroom features a white slipper chair at an RH Teen Avalon Storage Desk under twin antique brass scones.

A white ladder leads a loft beside a gray upholstered bed situated on the floor beneath a white and gold chandelier.

Gray Loft Ladder On Cottage Bedroom

gray loft ladder on cottage bedroom

A cottage bedroom features a high ceiling and is accented with the Williams Sonoma Home Equestrian Leather Tack Chandelier. A Navy wingback headboard dressed in white and navy stitched bedding sits next to a brass lamp that faces a gray ladder which leads to a loft space of the same color.

Blue Kids Bedroom With Play Loft Ladder

blue kids bedroom with play loft fitted with ladder

With a white and blue color scheme, the girl’s bedroom is filled with natural light that flows in from the window. The room features pale blue gray paint on one wall, and an intricate Moroccan-style headboard draped over her bed dressed in matching royal blues shams.

Nearby sits a nightstand next to another lamp by the other side of her small window trimmed out subtly yet noticeably in shades of navy ribbon. The child’s bedroom has a wooden stairway ladder that leads to a play loft.

Pool House with White Loft Ladder

pool house with white loft ladder

A blue-and-white pool house featured a floor of blue quatrefoil tiles in front of bamboo accent chairs with lime green pillows and placed facing a white chinoiserie coffee table.

The table in front of a white sofa bearing a shadowbox hung from the wall above it and illuminated by an impressive chandelier. Windows dressed in white and blue roman shades flank a loft fitted with a white ladder located between Barbara Barry Go Lightly Sconces.

Pipe Loft Ladder On Tiny Homes

pipe loft ladder on tiny homes

Within the home, vinyl plank flooring is found, as well as a rustic steel barn door. Storage stairs go up to the loft bedroom with a king-size bed, and there’s ladder access to the storage/guest loft.

Dark Blue Loft Beds With Gray Built-In Ladders

dark blue loft beds with gray built in ladders

This kids’ bedroom is a dream come true for anyone who’s ever loved the color blue. The room features two-toned ladders and wall-to-wall dark stained wood safety rails, which make it easy for your little ones to get in and out of bed with ease. It also has built-in loft beds dressed in navy sheets, making them perfect napping spots during summertime!

Mint Green and Blue Boys Room with Ladder to Loft Bed

mint green and blue boys room with ladder to loft bed

A clever and creative bedroom is created by mixing mint green, blue bedding accented with white. The lofted space can be reached via a sturdy rope ladder fixed to the ceiling next to an open window.

Shared Boy’s Bedroom With Loft Ladder

shared boys bedroom with loft ladder

There are L-shaped built-in beds in the boy’s bedroom with storage drawers dressed in gray and blue striped duvets. These beds can be seen alongside a loft play area lined with sports banners, accessible by climbing up a ladder from one of the corner built-in nightstands.

Sturdy Loft Ladder In A Compact Room

sturdy loft ladder in a compact room

If you have a tiny room, why not add an extra piece of storage space to the loft above with sturdy and comfortable stairs? That way, you can make the most out of unused space without having to build costly staircases. It makes a great feature, too – who wouldn’t enjoy having their own cubby hole to hide in?

Fitted Wooden Loft Ladder

fitted wooden loft ladder

This cottage boy’s bedroom has an en suite bathroom and a custom walk-in closet. A play loft is fitted below the white shiplap ceiling, with a wooden loft ladder attached to two blue barn doors on rails that allow him access!

Black Ladder Leading To A Play Loft

black ladder leading to a play loft

A child’s bedroom with an iron bed is accented by black and white bedding. The room has a mustard yellow throw blanket and sits on gray carpeted flooring.

The bed is beside a black dresser, lit by an oil-rubbed bronze lamp. The lamp sits at the bottom of the ladder to the loft.

The ladder places against a wall that is painted gray. The loft has an iron railing mounted beneath the vaulted ceiling with only one rustic wood beam protruding.

Simple Loft Ladder Staircase

simple loft ladder staircase

This dark, brown, and beige loft ladder sits in the center of this contemporary bedroom. The modular design allows for easy access to the second level without needing a traditional staircase.

Wooden Loft Staircase Which Has A Side Ladder

wooden loft staircase which has a side ladder

This is a wooden loft staircase design with a side ladder and desks under the stairs. This is a modern idea for staircases, and it can be used as an office.

Vintage Ladder On A Kitchen

vintage ladder on a kitchen

A light-filled open kitchen is under a loft, with white shaker cabinets. The countertop has leathered black granite and a farmhouse sink, paired with a polished chrome gooseneck faucet in front of the wall covered in white subway tiles. This beam is illuminated by glass pendant lights set off by a glass cabinet on each side.

The kitchen is equipped with blond oak wood floors and stainless steel appliances.

Loft Ladder Ideas FAQs

Why Is It Important To Choose A Loft Ladder With Wide Treads?

When selecting a loft ladder, it’s important to consider safety. Wide treads/steps allow people using the ladder to have a secure footing and better balance. Another factor to consider is the ease of getting out (e.g., in case of a fire) and comfort features that would satisfy everyone’s needs.

If you’re installing a loft ladder in a commercial or industrial setting, it’s wiser to choose one with wider steps. This is also recommended for residential settings where the ladder will be used more frequently.

What Information Should I Have Before I Buy A Loft Ladder?

Before you purchase a loft ladder, one important thing to do is to measure the exact dimensions of the existing opening and double-check those measurements in the detailed information of each loft ladder you are considering.

One other important consideration is the pivot height – or the amount of space a ladder will need to move unless it’s folding or unfolding.

What Are The Main Things To Consider When Buying A Loft Ladder?

When it’s time to buy a loft ladder, four key factors come into play:

  1. The strength of a ladder relative to your weight
  2. How often a ladder will be required
  3. The material the ladder is made of.
  4. The opening mechanism of the loft ladder (for example, sliding, telescopic, or concertina).

What Type Of Loft Ladder Should I Buy?

Depending on your budget and needs, you may find one type of loft ladder that suits you better than the others. We’ve listed each type below with its main pros :

Advantages Of Wooden Loft Ladders

  • Often sturdier than other variants
  • The classic choice
  • Traditional look and cozy feel
  • Quiet and smooth to use
  • Physically warmer when climbing

Advantages Of Aluminium Loft Ladders

  • Ideal for those on a budget
  • Easy to install
  • Lightweight and convenient
  • Safe and easy to use

Advantages Of Telescopic Loft Ladders

  • Hardy construction
  • Easy to install (even for novices)
  • Combining convenience with a minimally-designed, sleek look
  • Telescopic loft ladders are compact, making them perfect for tight spaces or small space
  • Simple to use

How Can I Make Sure I’m Using My Loft Ladder Safely?

At Browns Ladders, safety has always been and will continue to be one of our top priorities. The following are some simple tips for the safe use of ladder ladders:

  • Know and obey all manufacturer instructions.
  • Always remember the maximum load of the loft ladder (100kg).
  • If you need help carrying items from the loft, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
  • If you are in a hurry, take extra care to avoid any unnecessary accidents.
  • Ensure your loft ladder is well maintained and that the parts are lubricated regularly, at least once every few uses.
  • Don’t use a loft ladder if it shows any signs of damage or wears.

Quick Loft Ladder Inspection Checklist

Before you use the loft ladder, always:

  • Check for any broken, missing, or loose components
  • Check for sharp or rusty edges
  • Keep an eye out for wear and tear on ladder feet before using the ladder.
  • Always wipe the ladder clean of any dirt or grease before it is used.
  • Check for rot or cracks in timber ladders.
  • If you see any signs of serious damage or defect, get a replacement ladder.

What Legislation Are Loft Ladders Affected By?

The legislation that covers the standard for loft ladders is EN14975. The law may be exhaustive, but here are a few important points:

  • The minimum weight capacity for the ladder to the loft is 150 kg.
  • To prevent the ladder from becoming too steep, it should be set at an angle of 61 degrees when deployed.
  • The rungs have the potential to bend under pressure
  • The width of the space in between the stiles or handrails.
  • The loft ladder descent control prevents it from extending too quickly and injuring someone.

In Essence,

When evaluating loft ladders, people often mistakenly focus solely on the type of material it’s made from. It is also important to consider how suitable an item is in a certain situation. An extension mechanism is a more important consideration than the type of material loft ladder. Both wood and aluminum are great materials for loft ladder construction, making a good product with the right design.

Consider the material of loft ladders only when choosing the right aesthetic for your home or when you need a ladder that’s strong enough to hold heavy loads. However, the material is simply a secondary consideration that shouldn’t really affect your choice.

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