How to Measure up For Loft Ladders

How to Measure up For Loft Ladders

02nd July 2015

If your home has an attic or loft, then it’s likely that you’ll want to make the most of the extra space you have. Whether you use the space solely for storage or want to leverage the extra room as living space, then accessing the loft safely is essential. We’ve already told you about the different types of loft ladder available so that you can choose the correct ladder to suit your needs. However, what about getting the right size ladder to do the job? Today we’re taking a look at how to measure up for a loft ladder so that you can get up to the loft with as little risk as possible. There’s always a certain amount of risk involved in using ladders of any type, so making sure you minimise the chances of a fall is vital if you want to keep you and your family safe at all times.

There are two types of loft ladder to choose from – folding ladders or sliding ladders (also known as concertina style ladders). The diagram below shows both types of ladder and you can clearly see where you should be measuring for each different section.

Floor to Ceiling Height

This distance is measured from the floor where the ladder will rest to the ceiling of the room or hallway. The measurement is needed if you choose a folding ladder or a ladder which has an integrated frame and hatch. The specifications on each loft ladder indicate the minimum and maximum floor to ceiling height for the ladder.

Floor to Floor Height

This is the distance from the floor where the ladder will rest to the floor of the room above (the attic or loft) and is required for sliding, concertina and telescopic style loft ladders because the ladder will be fixed to the floor with a bracket (usually supplied). Loft ladder specifications indicate the minimum and maximum floor to floor height that the ladder can be adjusted to fit.

Loft Opening Dimensions

This is the maximum size of the hole that can be made in your loft floor to accommodate a loft ladder and may be bigger that the size of your existing hole or opening. You’ll need to take into account the position of joists or any other obstructions (like cabling) that will limit how big an opening can be made. This measurement is necessary for sliding, concertina and telescopic style ladders and the specifications for the ladder will indicate the minimum size of loft opening that you will need.

Loft Opening Dimensions for Ladders with Frame/Hatch

A loft ladder that’s supplied with a hatch and frame will need a specific size of loft opening to be made for it to fit into. When you measure up for the maximum loft opening size, you’ll then know whether or not you can install a ladder with a hatch of a specific size.

Vertical and Horizontal Clearance

This is the distance in your attic space from the hinge end of your loft hatch vertically and horizontally to the nearest obstruction (this could be a boiler, the eaves of the roof or some other structural obstruction that cannot be moved).

Swing Clearance

This measures the arc through which a folding ladder will move when it’s retracted into the loft. Even though you have enough room when the ladders are fully extended for use, the swing clearance may prevent the ladder from folding away properly. You will need to measure the distance from the hinge end of your hatch to the nearest obstruction.

Landing Space

The same measurement you took from the hinge of the hatch to the nearest obstruction is also used to make sure you have enough landing space. Measure the distance horizontally on the floor from the hinge of the hatch to the resting place of the feet of you ladder when it’s fully extended.