Choosing loft ladders – everything you need to know

A loft ladder can be a fantastic solution for any home. If you’re looking for an incredibly easy and efficient way to reach your storage space, a traditional staircase isn’t exactly the best way to do it. With a loft ladder, however, things are much simpler. They give you really easy access to your loft while also taking up a minimal amount of space.

But while it goes without saying that loft ladders are the best solution for your home, you’re still left with the choice of ladder type. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to choose the right loft ladder for your home.

What should you consider when choosing a loft ladder 

Choosing the right loft ladder is an important decision that will impact the aesthetics, functionality, and practicality of your loft access, and this is why there are a few things you need to consider when buying a loft ladder.

The size of the loft ladder

Foldable loft ladders come as assembled units, ready for installation. Choosing the right ladder size is very important. Loft ladders are available in various sizes and types ( 3 section or 4 section ). 

First thing you would have to check is the size of the opening where you are going to install a new ladder.

Loft ladders are installed between the joists so if you are creating a new opening you would have to measure the distance between joists. This will tell you the width of the ladder frame.

Next you would have to choose the length of the frame / box. When measuring the length take into the consideration also the steps sections swing distance when you will be unfolding the treads to make sure that you have enough room to use the ladder.

Information about swing space for each loft ladder can be found on our website under each product page where you can find helpful diagrams showing all dimensions.

The sizes of the 3 section ladders start from 55cm x 111cm ( Fakro LWK Plus) and the largest size is 70cm x 120cm ( Optistep ) so everyone can find the perfect size.

If your opening is limited you could also check the selection of our 4 section ladders, Optistep OM or Mini ladders.

These ladders are available in compact sizes such as 60cm x 94cm or 70cm x 94cm ( Optistep OM ) or 60cm x 80cm or 70cm x 80cm ( Mini ).

Frame size and opening size for installation

Dimensions of the loft ladders are advertised as either the external frame size or the size of the opening needed for installation. Important thing is to carefully read the product description where you can find the information about the real external frame dimensions and the manufacturer recommended opening size for installation. For example, for the Optistep 3 section wooden loft ladder in size 70×120 the external frame size is 68cm x 118.4cm . The manufacturer of this product recommends opening for installation 70cm x 120cm.

Before you make a final decision when choosing the size, please read the information about the frame sizes and opening sizes on each product page.

This information can be also found in helpful installation manuals which you can view or download from our website.

Minimum and maximum room height

Another important aspect when coming to choose a foldable loft ladder is the height of the room where the ladder is being fitted.

Each loft ladder manufacturer recommends the minimum and maximum room height and these dimensions vary depending on the manufacturer.

Foldable loft ladders are equipped with two side springs which help to hold the hatch door with step sections in closed position and to operate the ladder. These springs are quite powerful to hold the weight.

Tread sections, both the wooden and the metal, can be shortened if needed to adjust the height.

The reason why the manufacturer recommends the minimum height is that each ladder is tested at this minimum height and the manufacturer can guarantee faultless use when the product is installed.

If the tread sections are cut down more than the manufacturer recommended minimum there is a possibility that the ladder will not stay on the floor and treads will be lifted up.

This useful information can be found on our website on the products description pages.


Choosing the materials the loft ladders are made from

Foldable loft ladders come with either wooden or metal tread sections. By metal tread section we mean the stringes, steps are still in wood on both types.

Choosing this feature is mainly up to the personal preferences however the metal stringers are slightly heavier than wooden ones so you would have to think about this as well.

The frames on all of the loft ladders are made of pine wood.

Hatch doors

Loft ladders we offer ( Fakro LWK, Optistep, Mini, Thermo, Stallux ) come with insulated – sandwich type hatch doors that would prevent the heat loss. Additionally the frames are equipped with a rubber seale between the hatch and the frame.

Hatches are finished in white, both sides, which would blend in perfectly with every ceiling.

Safety features

Most of the loft ladders are equipped with one handrail so you could safely climb up and walk down.

If you would like to add additional handrails it would be an easy DIY as the ladders come with predrilled holes on the other side of the stringer so it can be added within minutes.

If you require additional handrail for the loft ladder you are purchasing on our website you can find this accessory on the product page.

Treads on loft ladders ( Fakro, Optistep, Mini, Thermo, Stallux ) are also equipped with special anti-slipping grooves.

Additional accessories for installation and perfect finish

Installation of the loft ladders is not very complicated however if you are in doubt please ask professionals.

To install the ladder some handy accessory to use are the installation brackets. These brackets are not required for installation, as the frame would have to be secured with the joists using wood screws; however , it might be helpful to correctly level the frame before it will be connected with the joists.

Once the ladder is installed for a perfect and neat finish you can use a lining trim kit ( architrave ). Lining trim will cover the gap between the frame and the ceiling for a perfect finish. Lining trim kits are available in white color and are made of PVC material. They are available in universal size suitable for all the size ladders we offer. Depending on the size of the ladder you are installing you might need to adjust the size of the kit to the size of the ladder. As this accessory is made of PVC it can be easily shortened using a saw or Stanley knife. 

The big advantage of the loft ladders we offer are the stile ends. All the loft ladders we offer come with stile ends ( plastic or rubber feet ) included to protect your floor.

Questions you need to ask yourself before buying the ladder

To get the best loft ladder, there are some key questions you need to ask yourself before you proceed. Answers to these questions will determine what kind of loft ladder is best for you.

Do you want the loft latch to be thermally insulated? Thermal performance is very important, especially as Britain enforces more climate changes regulations.

Do you want the hatch to have a nice white finish? The aesthetics and colour scheme of the loft ladder will impact how both your loft and your interior looks, so it is really important to make the right choice.

Do you want the ladder to come with ladder feet? Rubber feet or plastic feet will protect your floor.

Do you want the ladder to have handrails? Handrails can make using the ladders safer and more practical, and they can be a requirement for special needs people. It is always nice to have. 

Do you want accessories for your ladder? There are many types of accessories out there that can help you customize your loft ladder to your needs. Check to see if the specific accessories you need are available before you buy your loft ladder.

By answering these questions, you are bound to find the loft ladder that suits your needs.  At Sunlux, we offer excellent loft ladders from Fakro LWK, Optistep, Mini, Thermo, Stallux and more.

Contact us if you will need any help with choosing the right ladder.