Almost every private house or cottage has attic or mansard, usually used as a nursery, guest room or lounge. However, it is not comfortable place for putting a ladder, as it takes much space. In this case, the best solution will be the use of extension or folding ladder, which (if necessary) you can descend, and then hide upstairs. In assembled form, this block can be stored in the space of the ceiling. It doesn’t take space below and is almost invisible. It can be opened by means of electric drive or manually. To prevent accidents with an unintentional opening and unauthorized entry, all folding models are equipped with the locking mechanisms.
Construction of sliding attic stairs
Almost all models have two sections. One of them is attached to the hatch door, while the other moves down along the guides. To make it comfortable for you to get up and down, some models include handrails you can hold onto when climbing and descending. The steps of attic stairs have special notches so that you don’t slip during the movement. They are covered with powder paint. To make the prefabricated structure safe and durable, you must pay attention to how the steps are connected with the lateral elements. The best connection is n-shaped. It is called “swallowtail” or “tongue-and-groove”.
The hatch of attic construction is made of chipboard, while fiberboard is usually used for facing. It is very easy to open this folding construction. All you need is to hook the ring with a metal rod and pull it down. You can use the automatic option of managing this construction. In this case, you should only press the remote button, and the ladder will go down itself. This is very convenient, but these models are quite expensive.
Special insulation materials are used in the manufacture of the attic hatch covers, which helps to keep your house warm.
Criteria for the selection of the right model
The main criteria is a correct calculation of the structure size, as it occupies certain space when unfolded. If you decided to install the metal ladder in the attic, its surface must be covered with a zinc coating. It is not profitable to buy the folding construction without this coating, as attics are rarely heated; the air is almost always damp, which promotes the formation of corrosion. If you want to use the ladder for a long time, you should buy the ergonomic models. To make rise and descent safe (especially, if the attic is used as a nursery), it is better to choose the blocks with handrails and fences.
Installation of sliding attic constructions
To install the telescopic ladder correctly, you must calculate the size of opening, where the structure will be mounted. Before buying one or another model, you should invite the master who can precisely measure the size of structure and opening. However, you should keep in mind that some manufacturers indicate not the size of opening but the dimensions of the basket in the instructions. For such attic stairs, you should buy the hatches with insulation to prevent the heat loss from the room.
Installation of attic stairs
If you don’t want to call the masters for the installation of sliding stair block, you can assemble the structure on your own. This requires a participation of two persons – one must work upstairs, and the other– downstairs. At first, you should check all the sizes to make sure they coincide. Then lift the block to the attic and fasten the bars from the lower side of the opening, on which you should lay the mounted block.
To save the right angles during the installation, you should install the braces between the basket and the opening wall. After that, fix the front and rear of the block to the opening using the screws. Now, remove the auxiliary bars and open the attic ladder. In this form, the fixation of basket sides with the screws is produced.
It is essential to fill the gap between the basket and the opening wall with fixing foam to prevent the heat loss and fix the structure securely.
After finishing the installation, you should establish the mechanism of opening and closing. You can read how to do it in the instructions, attached to the model.
Main sizes, offered by the manufacturers
After measuring the dimensions of the opening, you can choose the right size of attic ladder. The sliding structures (120х60 cm), used at the cottages and in the private houses are especially popular. If you take the most famous brand (such as Fakro) as a basis, the models can have the following sizes:
LST (opening option – scissors) the height of the room must not exceed 290 cm:
LMKKomfort (opening option – segments) the height of the room must not exceed 280 cm:
When calculating, you must consider not only the size of opening, but also the additional space, necessary to unfold the construction (i.e. you must have 40-80 cm to spare). With a length of 80 cm, you may require 120-160 cm, while with a length of 120 cm you may need 160-200 cm, as a flight of stairs always has an angle of 60-70 degrees from the floor.
Common hatch represents a carpenter’s plate 1.6-2.0 cm thick. However, to keep the rooms warm, the manufacturers release them with insulation (in this case, their thickness is about 3.2 cm). The framework is made of the same plates, laid on the periphery, and closed with chipboard and fiberboard at the top and bottom (while the heater is laid between them). Some models are intended for the cold climatic areas. The thickness of their cover is 6.2 cm.
The size of attic ladder must be chosen according to the height of the room. If the height from the floor to the ceiling is 3 m, and the proposed length of model doesn’t exceed 2.8 m, you can’t install it. For the correct operation of such model, you need to buy some additional elements and fix them in the lower part. If the height of the room is less than the length of construction, it can be adjusted. Sometimes, you just have to saw off the unnecessary length.
What you need to know about steps and stingers
Metal or wood can serve as a material for the working details. Even if the attic ladder is metal, rails or steps can be made of wood. Buying such combination, you must pay attention to the quality of wood– it should be free from cracks and other damages. The best details are made of solid wood and don’t have any intermediate compounds.
Treatment of wooden details represents the common impregnation with antiseptic. Therefore, you can use any finishing coat- varnish, tint or paint. If the rails and steps are made of metal, they are usually covered with zinc or paint. Buying one or another model, you must take into account the maximum performance. Standard version weights 150 kg. However, as such elements are usually provided with a safety margin, heavy load is not a problem for them.
We hope that you will be able to make the right choice of attic stairs with a hatch for your house. Feel free to tell us how you collected and fix this construction.