The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Loft ladder

Fitting a loft ladder makes access to the extra storage space of your loft much easier and safer.

The size you choose will depend on the type of items you are storing. Aluminium ladders are the cheapest but feel less secure and are noisier than timber versions. More expensive ladders have a gentle incline, side handrails and a spring action which automatically shuts the hatch after it has been closed beyond a certain point.

Budget ladders are made of lightweight aluminium which either fold into two/three sections or concertina downwards. Concertina versions are easier to install and take up less hatch space but are not so convenient to use.

How to fit a metal folding ladder

Before buying, check there is enough clearance directly above and in front of the loft hatch within the loft. Some modern trussed rafter roofs have restricted space - check the packaging before you buy.

Following the instructions carefully, attach the metal brackets to the inside of the loft, firmly screwed to a boarded loft floor or directly to the joists. Check the ladder folds up and down smoothly and will stay in place when the hatch is closed.

Make up a new loft hatch or re-fit the existing hatch with hinges and a nylon or metal quick-release fitting, normally supplied with the loft ladder.

Finally, make sure the ladder works smoothly.

Rub candle wax along the metal sliding sections of an aluminium ladder to make it work smoothly.

Insulate the hatch

If possible, add insulation to the inside of the loft hatch. Use fibre insulation wrapped in a dustbin liner and stapled or tacked to the hatch. Check that this does not interfere with the ladder action.

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