Selecting a suitable loft ladder for your needs

Whilst our Product Selection Tool is in development, we have summarised our full range of loft, roof space, wall hatch, mezzanine level and commercial access products for your assistance below.

Important: Loft ladders are generally used for accessing a loft for storage space. If you are going to frequently access the loft (for example as a bedroom or home office) then you may want to consider a more permanent means of access such as a loft stair or spiral stair, with the attendant Building Regulations considerations. In all circumstances, we recommend referring to your local Building Control Officer at your Local Council to ensure your plans are acceptable under Building Regulations.

Many of our products have been widely used in the past in conjunction with Building Control, but the interpretation of the requirements for any particular situation remains solely with your Local Building Control Department.

The solutions we offer are:

  • Loft Ladders
  • Loft Stairs
  • Space Saver Stairs
  • Spiral Staircases
  • Mezzanine Stairs and Ladders
  • Vertical /Wall Access Ladders
  • Electric Loft Ladders

Loft Ladders

There are 3 main types of loft ladders available: Sliding loft ladders, Concertina loft ladders and Folding loft ladders. Let’s take a closer look at each type and potential product solutions.

Sliding Loft Ladders

Sliding loft ladders fall into several categories: Traditional sliding loft ladders, Telescopic sliding loft ladders and Electric sliding loft stairways.

Traditional sliding loft ladders

Traditional sliding loft ladder

Traditional Sliding loft ladders provide a straight forward operation and they are simple to install. These ladders are available in both metal and wooden options and are typically made of two or three sections that slide and fit together. As sliding ladders are mounted to the loft floor then you will need to consider your floor to floor height when choosing the appropriate model. These types of ladders usually operate within the smallest of opening sizes so they are often used in modern homes.

Sliding loft ladders are not usually supplied with a hatch, therefore you will need to take into consideration that your existing hatch will need to be a drop down type for this type of ladder to work effectively. In some cases, the loft ladder will actually come with trapdoor hinges and a catch to allow the conversion of your existing hatch.

As sliding loft ladders store on the loft floor, you will need to take into consideration the storage length (Blue arrow ‘A’ marked on the illustration). The storage height is also a factor as on storing, the ladder is pushed away at an angle. A height allowance (Red arrow ‘B’ marked on the illustration) is therefore required to allow the sliding loft ladder to arc over into the stored position.

Note: All our sliding loft ladders have the minimum storage length and required clearance height detailed in the Technical Data section on each product page.

Sliding loft ladders are a cost effective solution as they are generally the least expensive type of loft ladder on the market. If you are requiring a lightweight aluminium ladder that is strong in design and for occasional use then you may want to consider the Titan 3 section Aluminium Sliding Loft Ladder or for a high end sliding loft ladder suitable for both domestic and commercial applications, compliant with EN14975 and supplied with two handrails as standard we recommend considering the Youngman Deluxe 2 Section Aluminium Sliding Loft Ladder.

Telescopic sliding loft ladders

If you have height and storage space restrictions, then a telescopic loft ladder is a useful sliding alternative. This metal ladder type is durable and able to withstand tough usage with ease. The operation is very simply with a single button press to release each tread and lock it into position. The Youngman Telescopic Loft Ladder is available in our range, offering two model options.

Electric sliding loft access - electric sliding stairways

The Electric loft ladder and stairway market is growing all the time with new models constantly being introduced and we provide the highest quality electric sliding solution available. Our electric sliding stairways are not loft ladders. The crucial difference is that a stairway is used as a normal stair – by descending facing forwards, whereas a loft ladder is descended facing the ladder.

Our Windsor Sliding Wooden Electric Stairway is a beautifully British made product guaranteed to make an impression in any home. This bespoke craftsman made electric wooden stairway is a joy to own and use.

The measurements to consider when choosing an electric loft ladder will be the floor to ceiling height and the size of the structural loft opening (length x width). Unlike a manual sliding loft ladder which can operate in smaller size loft openings, the electric loft ladders will need more generous size loft openings to operate within.

Concertina Loft Ladders

Concertina loft ladders are always of metal construction and can be an ideal solution if you are limited on loft storage space. The whole ladder stores within the loft opening meaning that more of the loft floor area is available for storage. There are a number of different variants:

  • Standalone concertina loft ladders (no hatch attached - manual operation)
  • Standalone concertina loft ladders (no hatch attached - spring assisted operation)
  • Concertina loft ladders (complete with hatch)
  • Vertical/Wall access concertina loft ladders
  • Electric concertina loft ladders

Standalone concertina loft ladders (no hatch attached) - manual operation

Standalone concertina loft ladder

These are mounted just above the ceiling height on joist material so you will need to consider the distance from your floor to the mounting point when measuring up and choosing the right product. Another important factor is the size of your structural loft opening (length x width). As the concertina is storing within this space you need to make sure it is sufficient for operating the product.

Our most inexpensive standalone concertina loft ladder is the Dolle Alufix Concertina Loft Ladder. This is available in 3 height sizes and comes supplied with a timber backboard so it can be easily mounted. This is operated manually using a pole.

Standalone concertina loft ladders (no hatch attached) - spring assisted operation

We also offer high-end standalone concertina loft ladders which are constructed to a high spec and are heavy duty rated making them suitable for commercial applications as well as domestic. The Columbus Piccolo Premium Aluminium Concertina Loft Ladder and the Columbus Junior Aluminium Concertina Loft Ladder have the added feature of a spring assisted operation providing enhanced control over the descent and ascent of the ladder.

Concertina loft ladders complete with hatch

Concertina loft ladders that come complete with a hatch are available from a range of manufacturers including Columbus, Dimes and Fantozzi. Again storage space in the loft is not an issue with this type of product as the concertina loft ladder stores on the trapdoor and the casing frame supplied secures to the loft opening.

The measurements to consider when making your choice will be the floor to ceiling height and the size of the structural loft opening (length x width). Please note that the structural opening size listed on a product page is the size that you would need to make your loft opening. The manufacturer will actually supply the unit to measure 10 / 15mm less than this size to provide a fitting tolerance. Most manufacturers will offer bespoke sizes so if you cannot make adjustments to the loft opening there may still be a chance the product will work.

Product recommendations for the concertina with hatch type would be the Fantozzi Alluminio Concertina Loft Ladder, Columbus Exclusive Aluminium Concertina Loft Ladder and Dimes PAN Steel Concertina Loft Ladder.

Vertical/Wall access concertina loft ladders

Getting access up to a hatch situated high on a wall can be a difficult task, and we have a full range of metal concertina loft ladders to solve the problem.

Loft ladders for vertical / wall access can be classed in two categories; either a standalone loft ladder (no hatch included) or a complete unit (hatch and casing frame included).

The standalone loft ladder type will require the existing hatch door to open outwards. The important measurements to consider for this product would be the floor to floor height (measured from the floor below to the floor level you are trying to reach). Also the structural opening size of the hatch (height x width). Our most keenly priced standalone wall access loft ladder is the Dolle Alufix Vertical Concertina Loft Ladder. This is ideal for a vertical door in a wall or for mezzanine floor applications.

However, if the application needs a complete unit (hatch and casing frame included) then these are always made specially to order and come in a wide variety of specifications to suit the individual project. As this is a specialist product, speaking to our technical team for further advice is always a good idea.

Electric concertina loft ladders

The use of electric loft ladders in commercial projects is well established, and the domestic demand for electric loft ladders is growing all the time. The ease of operation combined with the highest quality engineered products is a winning combination. All electric concertina loft ladders are metal and come complete with a trapdoor.

Our most cost effective product is the Fantozzi Electric Aluminium Concertina Loft Ladder supplied complete with two remote controls to operate both the trapdoor and ladder. There is a choice of either a grey or white powder coated finish and additional extras include telescopic handrails, top exit grab rails and black carpet tiles fitted to the treads.

Folding Loft Ladders

Folding loft ladders are available in both wooden and metal versions and they always come complete with a hatch as they would not be able to operate without it.

Folding loft ladders are available in three main options: Wooden folding loft ladders, Metal folding loft ladders and Electric folding loft ladders

Wooden folding loft ladders

Wooden folding loft ladder

The wooden folding range of loft ladders we supply are from the excellent Danish manufacturer Dolle. They are a sturdy option and offer smooth, quiet and effortless operation. The design of the loft ladder will usually come in 3 or 4 sections that are stacked up on each other when the loft hatch closes.

The benefits of choosing a ladder from the Dolle range is that the trapdoor is insulated. The Dolle ClickFix 76 Timber Folding Loft Ladder has the best insulation value on the market (U-value: 0.49 W/m² °C). The trapdoor is also spring assisted meaning it will not fall down once in its stored position as the springs hold it in place.

The measurements to consider when choosing a folding loft ladder will be the floor to ceiling height and the size of the structural loft opening (length x width). Folding loft ladders come in a range of standard sizes set by the manufacturer, however you will find that they can offer bespoke sizes if you cannot make adjustments to your loft hatch opening.

A folding loft ladder does require a certain amount of space to unfold (Blue arrow ‘A’ marked on the illustration). This dimension also known as swing clearance can be found in the Spec Sheet / Technical Data Sheet (Downloads section) for each product.

Installation of timber folding loft ladders is quite straight forward as it is just a case of fixing the ladder arms and springs to the unit, securing the casing frame to the loft opening and then making height adjustments (may require cutting the ladder down for lower ceiling heights).

Metal folding loft ladders

If you prefer a metal folding loft ladder then you might want to consider the Fantozzi Tre 3 Section Steel Folding Loft Ladder or the Fantozzi Quattro 4 Section Steel Folding Loft Ladder. Both these folding loft ladders can be used for commercial applications as well as domestic with ceiling heights up to 5m possible. As standard, they are fitted with double sided handrails and two top exit grab rails to provide a secure and safe climb into the loft.

Installation of metal folding loft ladders firstly requires the metal casing frame to be secured to the loft opening with the use of brackets/fixings and then making height adjustments with the ladder in its usable position. Metal folding loft ladders will not require cutting as the product is made to suit the ceiling height dimension you provide at the time of purchase.

Electric timber folding loft ladders

Electric loft ladders are becoming increasingly in demand as a premium product for discerning customers. Electric timber folding loft ladders not only have all the advantages of storing in the space above the trapdoor (included) but are effortlessly operated by remote controlled or hard-wired electric motors.

A popular timber electric loft ladder which provides a folding action would be the Skylark 3 Section Electric Timber Folding Loft Ladder. This is a very nice looking ladder (high craftsmanship and design) complete with trapdoor and fixed frame all of which are insulated and draft sealed. It's operation is controlled by one remote control handset, one hardwired switch in the loft and one on the lid of the unit.

Loft Stairs / Fixed Ladders

Our Loft Stairs range includes a number of flat-packed kits (all timber construction) which will provide an ideal solution when accessing your loft space. These can be adjusted to suit varying heights and widths (cutting required on site) and can be varnished or painted to suit the new surroundings. Compared to a traditional staircase which is pitched at a 42° angle, these loft stairs can achieve steeper angles between 53° and 63° (dependent on model choice), meaning you are saving on valuable room space. Two of the most popular sellers are the Dolle Madrid Stair Kit and the Dolle Arundel Stair Kit. They come supplied with a handrail as standard with additional options such as a 2nd side handrail, ladder slide system and hook & bar set also available. Under Building Regulations a fixed ladder with two handrails is normally acceptable for access to a habitable room in loft conversions.

Remember when looking to install one of these loft stair kits you will need to take into consideration your floor to floor height and the floor space dimension (length x width). If you are going through a ceiling opening then you will have to take into account the structural size (length x width). The length of the opening is important for making sure you have enough headroom as you do not want to be hitting your head on the ceiling while climbing into the loft. The width of the opening is important as you want to fit the width of the product (including handrail) within the opening. Plus leaving a little extra clearance so you can hold onto the handrail as you climb the loft stair (known as finger clearance).

Don’t forget that checking building regulations with your local authority with respect to your individual project is always recommended if considering this type of product.

Space Saver Stairs

The Space Saver Stairs within our range are a modular type which incorporates a timber tread together with sturdy steel supports and a balustrade to enhance the overall design and usability. Always supplied with a top mounting plate so they can be securely fixed to a joist/wall just below the floor level and a base mounting plate for floor fixing. It is not just a straight flight installation that can be achieved as most of the space savers offer the flexibility of incorporating turns so multiple configurations are possible. The configurations possible for each product will be demonstrated in the Spec Sheet / Layout Configurations (Downloads section).

Space saver stairs are an elegant solution for homeowners struggling with spatial restrictions, as they provide a safe, permanent loft access without compromising the aesthetic of your home. There are a range of designs by different manufacturers, with choices in metalwork colour, timber types and balustrade designs to choose from. As with loft stairs, the important measurements required for a space saver stair are the floor to floor height, floor space dimension (length x width) and structural opening size of the ceiling (if going through a ceiling).

A popular product within our space saver stair range is the Gamia Mini Stair Kit available in two metalwork colour options White or Silver grey.

Don’t forget that checking building regulations with your local authority with respect to your individual project is always recommended if considering this type of product.

Spiral Stairs

Spiral Stairs can make a real design statement in your home, with a variety of modern and contemporary designs. Most of the spiral stairs we offer use either timber or metal treads secured to a solid steel centre post, completed with a balustrade positioned on the spiral’s outer edge. When choosing a spiral stair you will need to consider the following:

  • Interior or exterior use - interior spirals will use timber or metal treads/exterior spirals will use galvanised metal or cast iron treads.
  • Floor to Floor Height - measure vertically from the floor below up to the floor in the loft area.
  • The diameter of the spiral stair - selecting a diameter that will fit your floor space (length x width).
  • The size of the ceiling opening - if going through a ceiling opening you need to make it sufficient enough for the diameter choice. Also taking into account finger clearance for the handrail.
  • Starting and finishing position - At what position you will enter the spiral and leave the spiral via the landing tread. The Spec Sheet / Installation Instructions (Downloads section) will provide help with this for each product.
  • Choice of timber type & timber shades - The timber treads are available in beech laminate, solid beech or oak. The timber shades include natural, dark walnut, cherry or anthracite (options dependent on product type).
  • Metalwork colour - The powder coated colours include White, Silver Grey and Black (options dependent on product type).

A popular product within our spiral stair range is the Gamia Wood Deluxe Spiral Stair Kit available in a choice of two diameter sizes 1200mm and 1400mm from stock. The Gamia Wood Deluxe comes with solid beech treads (natural or dark walnut shades) and a solid beech handrail to match. All metalwork is available in either a black or silver grey colour. It is able to achieve a floor to floor height up to 3450mm with the purchase of additional tread kits. Optional extras include upper floor balustrade (matches stair balustrade) and a riser bar kit (to comply with building regulations).

Don’t forget that checking building regulations with your local authority with respect to your individual project is always recommended if considering this type of product.

Mezzanine Stairs and Ladders

The inclusion of a mezzanine floor area is becoming ever more popular in modern day homes and we are able to offer an excellent selection of product types suitable for this application. These include Mezzanine Ladders, Loft Stairs, Space Saver Stairs and Spiral Stairs.

When accessing a mezzanine floor area the most important factor when choosing a product will be the floor to floor height (measured vertical from the floor below to the mezzanine floor). If you are requiring a product that is not permanently fixed and can be moved when not in use then we would recommend looking at the Dolle Straight Flight Wooden Loft Ladder and the Loft Centre Ash Straight Flight Wooden Loft Ladder accompanied with a hook & bar set.

If you want a permanently fixed product leading up to your mezzanine floor then another key factor for product selection would be the floor space dimension on the ground floor (not the mezzanine). You would need to measure both the length and the width of the area you have available. This is an important aspect when choosing a loft stair, space saver stair or spiral stair as you do not want to miscalculate and find out the product is too big for the floor space. Note: Dimensions relating to floor space can be found in the Technical Data or Downloads section on each product page.

Important: It is your responsibility to ensure that compliance with building regulations and any local authority approvals necessary have been obtained. This will vary according to your application and we advise you to always check before going ahead with a purchase.

Vertical/Wall Access Ladders

Getting access up to a hatch situated high on a wall can be a difficult task, but we have a range of Vertical / Wall Access loft ladders that will do the job.

Loft ladders for vertical / wall access can be classed in two categories; Standalone wall access ladders (no hatch included) or Wall access ladders (hatch and casing frame included).

A standalone wall access ladder (no hatch included) requires the existing hatch door to open outwards. The important measurements are the floor to floor height (measured from the floor below to the floor level you are trying to reach). Also the structural opening size of the hatch (height x width). With some of the sliding versions of the standalone loft ladder, you will also need to take into account the storage length and storage height dimensions (discussed earlier in the Sliding Loft Ladders section).

The complete unit types (hatch and casing frame included) for vertical / wall access are made to order products. To make sure the manufacturers make them to suit your specification it is important that the correct floor to floor height and structural opening size (height x width) is provided. The casing frame of the unit will always come 10/15mm smaller than the structural opening size requested so it allows a fitting tolerance.

Note: All the important dimensions can be found in the Technical Data section on each product page.

Electric Loft Ladders and Electric Sliding Stairways

The Electric loft ladder market is growing all the time with new models being introduced on a regular basis. The designs are available in timber or metal and they cover the 3 main types available – Electric Concertina Loft Ladders, Electric Folding Loft Ladders and Electric Sliding Stairways. Take a look at our extensive range of Electric Loft Ladders from a host of manufacturers.

Obviously, you are paying a lot more compared to your standard manual loft ladder, but you are getting a luxury product that meets the user’s requirements. Electric loft ladders will either come hard-wired to be controlled by a push button fitted on the wall or some products have a remote control option. At present all our electric loft ladders come fitted with a hatch, however some new models on the market have been designed to work without a hatch and we will hopefully be bringing some of these models to our website in the near future.

The measurements to consider when choosing an electric loft ladder will be the floor to ceiling height and the size of the structural loft opening (length x width). Unlike a manual sliding loft ladder which can operate in smaller size loft openings, the electric loft ladders will need more generous size loft openings to operate within.

If looking for a metal electric loft ladder, then our recommendation would be the Fantozzi Electric Aluminium Concertina Loft Ladder. A well-priced product in the electric range that comes complete with two remote controls to operate both the trapdoor and ladder. Choice of two ladder colours either a grey or white powder coated finish. Additional extras include two telescopic handrails, two top exit grab rails and black carpet tiles fitted to the treads.

A good timber electric loft ladder equivalent which provides a folding action would be the Skylark 3 Section Electric Timber Folding Loft Ladder. The Skylark is a very nice looking ladder (high craftsmanship and design) complete with a trapdoor and fixed frame all of which are insulated and draft sealed. Its operation is controlled by one remote control handset, one hardwired switch in the loft and one on the lid of the skylark. Additional extras include two handrails, battery backup and an anti-collision system.

Our electric sliding stairways are not loft ladders. The crucial difference is that a stairway is used as a normal stair – by descending facing forwards, whereas a loft ladder is descended facing the ladder. The Windsor Sliding Wooden Electric Stairway is a perfect example. It is a British made product guaranteed to make an impression in any home. This bespoke craftsman made electric wooden stairway is a joy to own and use.