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Loft ladders? Any recommendations?

20 replies 16K views
SurbybirdSurbybird Forumite
294 posts
Hi

I need to have a loft ladder installed as part of some home improvement works. I've been told to get aluminium instead of wood and it needs to be retractable and lightweight so that I can push it back up in the loft when it is not in use. However, is fitting one a DIY job or is it best left to the professionals? I don't want to spend a fortune on this as I also need to board the loft at the same time. I don't generally have access to any help with my DIY jobs so if it is more than a one-man (or woman) job I think I'll need to have it fitted for me.

Can anyone recommend a company that can supply (and possibly fit) a loft ladder at a reasonable cost, please? I am on the Hampshire/Surrey border if that helps.

Thank you

Kate
August £10 a day challenge- £27/£310
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Replies

  • Ebe_ScroogeEbe_Scrooge Forumite
    4.7K posts
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
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    I fitted a loft ladder myself just a few weeks ago. I bought it from HomeBase, it's a 3-section aluminium one, they had several different ones in stock. It was a piece of cake to fix, the only hints I would give you are :

    1. Measure the size of your loft hatch, and the distance from the floor to the loft hatch, before you buy. The ladders all had labels on them saying what dimensions they were suitable for.
    2. Read through all the instructions before you begin - with my ladder some of the instructions were a bit unclear, but it became obvious a few steps ( sorry for the pun ! ) further on.
    3. If you're going to board the loft, do that first - or at least board the area where the ladder's going to go. This will make it easier to fix in place.

    Oh, and price-wise, Homebase had a selection from about £30 up to about £180, so take your pick. I'm sure any DIY shop will have a similar selection.
    I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.
  • SurbybirdSurbybird Forumite
    294 posts
    Brilliant, thanks!

    I shall head off to Homebase to look at loft ladders at the weekend then, as their '15% off' sale is on.

    I'll also look at getting enough boards to do the inside of the hatch area at the same time.
    August £10 a day challenge- £27/£310
  • TuckerTucker Forumite
    1.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
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    One problem might be the hatch.

    It may need changing to one that pops down on a hinge, as oppose to one that you push up.

    Personally, I don't think its that easy a job and might require 2 people at stages.

    I bought an aluminum one a few months back that was going cheap on HUKD at half price. I and haven't fitted it. First off I need to change the hatch opening. I also discovered the timber support within the roof is in the way and it is therefore more hassle than it's worth!!

    Whatever you do, don't remove any roof timber to make it fit unless you get a structural engineer to offer advice.

    Check what clearance you need and make sure it will fit.
  • ftofto Forumite
    588 posts
    Loft laders are a pain in the rear to fit.Certainly not always a easy diy job
  • macmanmacman Forumite
    44.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts
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    I get a lot of flyers through the door offering to supply and fit loft ladders from about £120 (London prices). Bearing in mind that they're about £70 for a 2 section spring-loaded one, and it's a days' work, that seems like a reasonable price.
    However, being a dedicated moneysaver, I bought one from B&Q (rare to find things there at competitive prices, but it was the best one I could source after some research) and fitted it myself. Not tricky, but a bit long-winded-modifying the hatch to drop down was the tedious part.
    I would recommend you go for the automatic ones that retract when you push them up, but they do require sufficient free space to one side of the hatch, so measure up before you buy. Definitely go for aluminium over wood, a fraction of the weight.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • sjc_2sjc_2 Forumite
    685 posts
    I managed to do it myself, bought a white UPVC Loft Hatch off the Web to replace existing push up wood one. Needed to slightly enlarge hole, but was cutting in to plaster board. You need to ensure the loft hatch you get fits between two beams, most do.

    I then bought one of the aluminium telescopic ladders, as the gap in my loft to the roof is pretty low, so didn't have adequate clearance for a three part ladder. Not cheap but very good and easy to use.
    Cheers
    Steve
  • supermonkeysupermonkey Forumite
    749 posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
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    i found wickes did pretty good ones for about £20 a few years ago. wasnt too hard to fit either to be honest. had a great idea for easy lighting to!
  • danderdander Forumite
    1.6K posts
    I had one fitted by the Loft Shop a few years back. at the time they had all inclusive fitting prices on their website, but they don't seem to do that anymore, you have to contact them for a quote. I seem to remember paying £399 for supply and installation of a top quality fold-down wooden ladder. I think their prices for a basic aluminium supply and fit started at below £150, but as I say this was a few years ago and they now make you email for a quote. For a survey fee, they would come and look and advise if your loft ladder plans were ok and if you went ahead that fee came off your fitting bill. I went with this option because the hatch for the wooden ladders is pretty big, and my pre-existing hatch was tiny.
  • Right. I have decided to go down the DIY route in true MSE style.

    I have seen a 3 section aluminium ladder with handrail etc in Homebase and being a MSE I am going to buy it there on 15% day this weekend.

    I have measured my loft hatch and it is approx 60cm square which seems to be large enough but I will have to change from a push-up cover to a drop down. Do I need to buy one of these or can I make my own from a piece of MDF or something and a couple of hinges and a catch of some sort?

    I have investigated inside the loft opening and have clearance on 3 sides but will need to install a piece of timber across where the ladder will go as there is already a short piece there (part of the roof support by the look of things but I am no expert) but not enough to fix the ladder to.

    So my shopping list now looks like this:

    - 3 section aluminium ladder
    - dropdown hatch cover or materials to make one
    - timber (4"x2" looking at what is already there) to provide secure fixing point for ladder
    - some boards so that I can get in the loft once the ladder is in without falling through the ceiling below (I am very clumsy)

    If I have missed anything off, can someone shout at me, please?

    I have all of the necessary tools and equipment so I think I am ready to go, assuming that I can do this without the help of a lovely assistant.

    :D
    August £10 a day challenge- £27/£310
  • espressoespresso Forumite
    16.4K posts
    Surbybird wrote: »

    I have measured my loft hatch and it is approx 60cm square which seems to be large enough but I will have to change from a push-up cover to a drop down. Do I need to buy one of these or can I make my own from a piece of MDF or something and a couple of hinges and a catch of some sort?

    I bought an aluminium loft ladder from Homebase when they had a 20% ladders deal on a 15% off weekend - good deal. Included were hinges and a catch that you rotate using the supplied pole that is also used to hook onto the ladder to pull it down and push it back up. Everything required was included, right down to the last screw.
    :doh: Blue text on this forum usually signifies hyperlinks, so click on them!..:wall:
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