Modern private houses are designed in such a way that every square centimeter is used in them. Even if the house is one-story, there is always additional storage space under the roof. Therefore, it is very important to provide decent and convenient access to the attic space, and this is facilitated by the attic staircase.
Features of the
Which design is better to choose for use in a private house is an individual question and even a little controversial. The final result, as a rule, is influenced by the availability of free space both on the ground floor and under the roof itself. And also the frequency of use of the attic is of no small importance. There are such premises that are used as rooms exclusively in the warm season due to the lack of appropriate heat and vapor insulation.
Today, one-story houses with an attic on the second floor are considered a very fashionable and practical trend. Convenience lies in the fact that the foundation of the house does not need to be strengthened when creating additional placement under the roof. Hence, comfortable, compact and relatively inexpensive mansard stairs began to arise.
When choosing such a design, one should take into account a number of features not only of a technical, but also of a physiological nature.
For example, you need to think about how comfortable it will be for the heaviest family member to climb into the attic, how safe the stairs will be in relation to the smallest residents or pets. These and other factors determine which type of attic staircase should be installed in your home.
A unique feature of the attic stairs is the ability to install it both indoors and outdoors. The street design is good in that there is much more space outside to roam, so you can safely install stationary models. But to get to the attic floor in the cold season, you have to get dressed and go outside. In addition, in the event of frost, the ascent can be traumatic. In any case, the choice of design depends solely on the consumer.
There are three main types of attic stairs that allow you to get to the premises.
- Stationary. Ladders that stay in place at all times, bolted to the floor, ceiling or wall. They will never budge. Most often they are installed in rooms with a large area. The spiral staircase is considered the most dimensional and convenient for use. Such structures are recognized as the safest and most stable.
- Portable. These are usually temporary ladders. Many owners of private houses, who do not need to frequently climb to the attic, have even come up with a special hidden niche for a ladder. In order not to run far into the closet for the climbing aid, it is always at hand, you just have to look into the false cabinet near the hole in the ceiling. There are two types of portable attic stairs: side ladders and stepladders. However, neither the first nor the second have sufficient security.
- Foldable. The most common type of attic stairs in houses with a small area, where it is impossible to put a stationary one. Folding structures are scissor, telescopic, folding and folding.
It is worth dwelling in more detail on the latest popular models. Folding ladders are inexpensive, easy to use and strong enough. The average weight that they can easily support is 150 kg. Today, manufacturers have invented a huge number of designs that help to conveniently, beautifully and stylishly save useful space.
It is not for nothing that the scissor attic staircase has such a name. The mechanism of its folding is a bit like this stationery. As a rule, these are metal structures, the vertical guides of which are interconnected in pairs by ends. Steps are fixed at the points of their intersection.
When folded, the ladder resembles an accordion. If you pull one step, all the others will begin to unfold, one after the other.
Scissor attic stairs are very compact, easy to install in a hatch, and withstand a maximum load of 150 kg. They are very strong and durable, sometimes equipped with folding handrails.
The telescopic structure is named after a telescope. The guides of each section have a smaller diameter in relation to the next, they are easily inserted into each other, forming a folded metal tube with crossbars. It is the lightest model and is often made of aluminum. It takes up the least amount of space compared to other models. The design is stable, robust and durable. However, it is not safe for the elderly and children.
A folding or sliding attic staircase is in high demand today. The uniqueness of this design lies in the fact that it completely hides behind the attic hatch and is located at the top. Usually it is a three-section ladder, each part of which is connected with a special fastening element. This allows you to lay the section one by one, not like an accordion as in the first version.
The ceiling part is firmly fixed to the hatch cover leading to the attic. Thus, in the folded state, the ladder should have the same area as the inner surface of the hatch.
The folding attic structure is completely different from the previous types. It does not hide in the hatch, and sometimes even acts as an additional piece of furniture on demand. Among the pluses, there is a way to mount it on the wall. When folded, it resembles a vertical fire escape. Unfolding, it turns into a standard marching structure with a lifting angle of no more than 45 degrees.
When choosing a folding attic staircase, you should take into account a number of features of both the design itself and external factors that affect comfortable operation.
For example, if the attic is cold and is mainly used as a warehouse, you should pay attention to the fact that the hatch cover leading upstairs must be insulated. It is quite easy to do this even for an inexperienced builder.
One of the important nuances in choosing a staircase for an attic is the material from which it is made.
The most popular materials for making loft stairs are wood and metal. Moreover, even different designs imply the use of one or the other, or even both types of raw materials at once.
- Scissor and telescopic ladders can only be made of metal. Aluminum tubes of the second type are light, but not strong enough, therefore experts advise using the telescopic option where there is no need to visit the attic every day. The steel sections of the scissor attic structure have a very strong structure and are practically not subject to mechanical damage. It should be remembered that a metal ladder is much heavier, but also more durable than devices made of other materials.
- Folding and folding options are most often made of wood. Although there are metal models of them. The wooden folding ladder provides a more pleasant tactile experience.The wood itself is quite warm, which allows you to use the structure even without shoes.
The combined ladder is less common, but has its own popularity in narrow circles. Its main advantages include the following:
- maximum durability and strength of the structure. Thanks to metal guides and wooden steps, it stands firmly on the floor in the unfolded state and easily folds, fixing itself on the attic hatch cover;
- wooden steps can be easily replaced in case of damage.
The disadvantage of the combined attic stairs is only in the price. In general, users who have opted for this particular model are satisfied with the purchase.
To correctly install the selected attic staircase, you need to make accurate measurements. And also pay attention to a number of nuances that are vital for the device of folding ladders attached to the hatch cover.
- The parameters of the ceiling opening, where a hatch with a ladder will be built in, are very important. The choice of location should be focused both on the size of the folding or stationary structure itself, and on the area and height of the attic. So, for standard stairs, a hole of 0.7x1.2 m is usually made.
- The maximum length of the folding ladder is 3.5 m. Anything more will already be the basis for the construction of a stationary structure. This parameter is directly influenced by the height of the ceiling in the house.
- The depth and distance between the steps is selected individually, according to the preferences and usability of all family members. In this case, the recommended dimensions for a stationary ladder are 26 cm and 20 cm, respectively. As for the folding structure, there are no such strict rules. However, the minimum depth can be 15 cm, and the maximum - 22 cm. The distance between the steps should be chosen so that there are no more than 16-18 of them in the entire structure.
- The angle of inclination of the stairs also largely depends on the design and the amount of space.on which it is located. The recommended angle for stationary models is 45 degrees. For folding options, it can reach 60 and even 75 degrees. When choosing the size of this parameter, it is also necessary to build on the safety of lifting to the attic at such an angle.
When choosing one or another folding structure, you should pay attention to the mechanism for raising and lowering the stairs.
As a rule, the folding mechanism of attic structures is activated by a slight movement of the hand. Usually, it is enough to pull on the hatch handle or a special lever to open the opening. It is also necessary to manually pull the lower part of the ladder, due to which the entire structure unfolds and stands firmly on the floor. Special rubberized tips on the "legs" of the ladder allow you to fix it in the desired position and not be afraid of slipping.
Manual opening and closing of the attic hatch is possible thanks to the use of hinged and spring mechanisms. However, there is another, no less popular method: on bowstrings, these are strong fabric strips that connect the hatch cover to the upper floor and prevent it from falling to the floor along with the stairs. But modern manufacturers began to release automatic sliding ladders on the market.
To start the wonderful machine, you just need to press the sunroof from the outside like a button.
The whole structure will easily decompose and will be ready for use. Attic stairs are rarely equipped with an electric drive, which is controlled using a remote control.
Tips & Tricks
Customer reviews of ready-made models of folding structures are ambiguous. Many people advocate the purchase of such a ladder, arguing that you can not waste time looking for materials and making it.And integrating a standard structure into a standard opening will not be a problem at all. Among the minuses, the other half of the respondents have the same argument. Ready-made standard stairs do not fit well into the non-standard interior and the original ceiling opening.
In order for the ladder to serve as long and better as possible, it is worth listening to the following advice from specialists in the repair and construction business:
- before proceeding with the purchase and installation, it is necessary to think carefully about the future design and draw a plan diagram with all the necessary dimensions;
- it is imperative to decide whether or not it is necessary to insulate the hatch to the attic. This will allow you to immediately purchase the necessary insulation material;
- the minimum possible parameters for the attic hatch should be chosen. The larger the opening, the lower the thermal insulation. If the attic is unheated, it will be cool in the house precisely because of the large hole in the ceiling, albeit covered with an insulated hatch;
- it is necessary to decide on the type of construction, depending on the area that you can count on.
In order to better understand the design features of folding attic devices and to facilitate the installation process for yourself, it is worth considering the phased installation of two types of stairs.
Installation of the simplest folding structure does not require a ceiling hatch and is carried out in several stages
- You need to purchase a finished wooden staircase. Its length should be 30–40 cm greater than the ceiling height in the room.
- Two short wooden bars, equal in length to the width of the ceiling opening, must be screwed up and down the stairs at the back with self-tapping screws.
- The ladder should be cut into two parts between the steps so that the upper part is 25 percent longer than the lower one. Bottom fasten both segments with card loops.
- On the opposite side of the ladder, you need to screw diagonally the beams 15–20 cm longer than the structure to give the whole device rigidity.
- Attach the ladder to the ceiling opening and attach the upper short beam to one side of the opening. Anchors are best suited for this procedure. As a last resort, you can use the same card loops.
- The hinge is screwed onto one of the ladder rails. The design is folded.
- A hook should be attached to the wall, which is subsequently connected to the loop.
The rating for the most popular folding loft ladder pushes the three-section sliding structure to the fore. It can also be made together with the hatch yourself at home using step-by-step instructions.
- Prepare the opening box for installation. If there was no hole in the ceiling before, it must be made. Measure the approximate perimeter of the manhole and add about 10 mm to the resulting figure. Cut out along the drawn contour with allowances. The inner perimeter of the opening is the dimensions of the future hatch. If lid insulation is required, all procedures must be followed immediately to ensure this. Be sure to think over steam and thermal insulation.
- Working with a finished attached wooden ladder… It is necessary to cut it into three equal parts and connect them already with the help of canopies-corners. In order for the structure to fold and fit neatly on the hatch cover, you need to install fasteners in one place of the cut on one side, and on the other - on the other.
- Install and secure the lifting gear. It is necessary to combine the staircase and ceiling structures. To do this, the top of the ladder should be resting against the rigid base of the hatch. Connect the upper parts of the supporting beams to the base of the door. Fix everything with self-tapping screws.
These are the main points in the installation, which must be paid special attention to so that the attic staircase does not cause much trouble during the installation phase. And also to please with its performance for a long time.
Sometimes you want to choose not only a high-quality, but also a safe, practical and convenient product. It is very important to take into account both aesthetic parameters and components. This will help a small selection of beautiful options for attic stairs, both folding and stationary.
The classic wooden three-section folding ladder with a hatch looks very miniature and even delicate. But it is absolutely stable, strong and durable.
The combined folding model looks strict, but laconic. Metal guides take the main load on themselves. Wooden steps make this construction environmentally friendly and make it possible to climb stairs even with bare feet.
Foldable scissor attic structure made entirely of metal. It has comfortable wide steps and can withstand heavy loads. A small railing handle is successfully attached to it.
The simple design of the aluminum telescopic loft ladder allows it to be folded in and out without any problems or energy costs. The material is unusually light, but it can also be quite fragile. It is not suitable for frequent use.
The all-metal standard folding ladder attached to the attic hatch has a very austere look and threatens long-term use. The original narrow stationary ladder is made of two materials: metal and wood. The base for the steps is made in the form of a ladder made of metal pipes of small diameter. Unusual lattice railings fit very harmoniously into the interior of the room. There is practically no free space under the stairs, but this does not interfere with placing chairs and a hanger a little closer to the niche.
The choice of attic stairs is very large today. But after weighing all the advice, your own wishes, aesthetic preferences and the functional load on an additional home structure, you can easily choose exactly what is convenient and pleasant to help you get to the attic. And tips for installing stairs will be an excellent help both for independent work on a project, and for simple control of the workflow.
You will learn how to install a Fakro attic staircase with your own hands in the next video.