How to Install a Loft Ladder
Getting in and out of the loft can be a tedious task. A good quality loft ladder can help save a lot of time and can prevent mishaps from occurring. Most people in the UK use step ladders, chairs, or elevated footstools to access their lofts. They have to go to their sheds or garage (sometimes even in the rains) and drag the ladder to the attic entry. Not only is this unnecessary, but also harmful if you slip and fall. Climbing up into the loft with a torch or a box of tools is dangerous.
Instead of getting into the hassle of finding a step ladder, you could simply install a loft ladder that is safe, easily accessible, and quick to install, store, and use. Loft ladders are ideal in homes that need direct access to the extra space, and should not be used by children and senior citizens without supervision.
Let us look at how you can install a good quality loft ladder to make your life easy.
What to Consider Before Purchase?
The first thing to remember before making a purchase is that the ladder you are buying is suitable for your home. You should consider the minimum height and space required, the weight-bearing capacity, and folding length available before finalizing a purchase.
Tools required for Loft Ladder Installation
As with any changes that need to be made to the house, there are specific tools you would need before you start the installation process of the loft ladder. These tools will ensure you avoid injuries and will aid with a safe installation.
- Cordless Drill
- Drill Bit Set
- Tape Measure
- Pencils for marking
- Carpenters Square
- Craft Knife
- Protective gloves and eye protection glasses
How to Install a Loft Ladder?
Create a Loft Hatch: Start by choosing the perfect spot for the entry to your loft. Consider the dimensions for the loft ladder, the space required to shut, fold, and store it, and the gap needed for ease of movement. Ideal space would be enough for movement, a small gap for steady release and haul, and headroom once you enter the loft space. Keep all your tools handy at all times, so you do not have to reach too far to get them quickly.
Once you have an approximate idea of the loft hatch space, don your protective hands and eye gear, and drill a small hole using the cordless drill with a suitable bit from the drill bit set.
Use a pencil and carpenters square to mark the approximate sizes on the hatch space. Measure the dimensions using a tape measure. Once done, check the hole space from below and above to ensure enough room for easy and quick movement.
Fit the Ladder: Cut carefully along the dimensions marked using a saw. If you have an existing loft hatch, you can increase the dimensions proportionally per the new loft ladder measurements. You may need to support the new space with some battens. Level the battens and secure lengthwise pieces of wood to the sides of the new opening. If you have a trapdoor, attach the hinges of the new ladder to the trapdoor using the cordless drill. You can also fill the holes with wood glue for extra strength.
Read the installation instructions carefully and lay all the pieces of the ladder assembly near the hatch opening. Assemble the loft ladder. Place the ladder in the floor opening, by checking that the position is flush with the ceiling of the floor below. If attaching the loft ladder to the trapdoor, line up the horizontal and vertical lines on the hatch frame.
If not, slide the pivot bar stops after removing the end caps. You should carefully remove the end caps located on stiles. These are on the back of the loft ladder. Slide the pivot bar stops on each stile of the ladder. Once the pivot bar is wholly assembled, slot the entire pivot assembly on to the stiles. Now refit the end caps securely into position. Next, attach the handrails on each side of the ladder.
Final Step: Extend the loft ladder by releasing the locking catch on the bottom and top of the front part of the ladder. Keep the loft ladder positioned in the centre of the hatch and align the sides with the pivots on the wall hatch. Check the angle of the position, and fix the retaining bar to the bracket. Check the ladder installation by releasing the catches and sliding the front sections up and down and stowing the ladder safely.
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