At Al’s attic ladders probably the most frequent question that we are asked on a daily basis is what are the advantages of the more expensive folding timber attic stairs compared to the cheaper aluminium type attic ladders such as the Glide Away? To help you make your mind up first we should look at what would actually fit your loft and then consider the ladder type, let’s have a quick comparison on the measurements displayed on most portals such as www.atticladders.com for example and most importantly the floor to floor height and the floor to ceiling height. Timber attic stairs or ladders are always measured from floor to ceiling height, that’s the key measurement, whilst aluminium attic ladders are measured floor to floor (attic floor level to floor below) With that out of the way the next step is to consider the opening size, timber attic stairs generally come with their own door and frame and you need to alter your opening size to facilitate the stairs the standard opening size being 120cmx60cm, wider and narrower models are available. Aluminium attic ladder generally do not come with a trapdoor and fit into the existing hatch size which is converted over to open down.
At this point some people are already restricted to the aluminium type and even a particular model depending on the floor to floor height, but let’s say you not! Personal choice is next so here are some advantages of the timber folding stairs 1. The trapdoor is larger so you can fit larger items through it, such as large suitcases. (2) The trapdoors are insulated and have draught excluder built in to prevent heat loss or draught the Folding attic stairs is a god example. (3) The timber attic stairs have a flat step, most but not all aluminium ladders have rungs. (4) Timber ladders are more pleasing to the eye. (5) They are quieter whilst operating and when in use)
With aluminium attic ladders they tend to be more rugged and less pleasing to the eye, they are certainly noisier when in use but some models are cheap and efficient, they get the job done so to speak. Standard ladders such as the Glide Away and Glide Away + aluminium ladders don’t need the opening size altered so they are quick and easy to install. The larger industrial types such as the Star 1, The Star 2 and the Delight models are extremely tough with flat steps and the opening can be altered if required, they are suited to old houses with very high ceilings and industrial premises alike.
These are some points to take into account when deciding which attic stairway suits your situation best, we hope that you find them helpful. Below the videos show typical examples of folding timber stairs and a typical attic ladder.
At Al’s Attic Ladders we specialise in fitting roof windows, fitting roof windows to new houses is very straight-forward but to existing roofs its very different and requires years of experience to perfect. At Al’s Attic Ladders fitting Velux roof windows Roof Windows or indeed other brands of roof windows to existing tiled roofs is relatively easy compared to flat stone slated roofs. Blue Bangor of Spanish stone slates are good examples of slated roof cladding that you would typically find in Ireland or the UK . With tiled roofs the tiles can be easily removed and replaced around the new window being fitted, but not so in a stone slated roof, you would need to rip the slates from the ridge (top of roof) down to below the bottom of the window line, which is an option, but not a viable one.
At Al’s Attic Ladders we use special equipment to cut the roof open to the size of the window being fitted and successfully install the roof window or replacement roof window This method is viable and much faster and neater. It requires great skill from the fitter, the end result should look as though the windows were always there, without blemishes to the roof and existing stone slates.
We have fitted such windows in Ireland, England and the Netherlands. We offer this service for conservation projects and family dwellings alike. Below a typical stone slated roof.
When it comes to flooring an attic, best leave it to the experts. Your attic has probably the largest potential storage space in your house most people dismiss the idea of using their attic simply because they have no easy access in the first place.
Let’s start with the idea of using your attic for storage, first you need safe and easy access to your attic which means, you need a folding attic stairs or an attic ladder, next you need good lighting, then comes a large floor area and perhaps even a roof window for daylight and good ventilation.
Flooring the attic is perhaps the most daunting task mainly because attic joists are usually not level, and there are fixed obstacles in the way, timbers, wiring, insulation, pipes and much more, every attic is different.
At Al’s attic ladders we are all carpenters we have built traditional roofs from scratch and assembled truss roofs, so for us attic flooring is very straight forward. Normally we start with what the customer wants, often a small area of flooring around the trapdoor will suffice, such as the amount provided with our attic packs 1, 2 and 3 Standard loft boards made from flooring grade chipboard will suffice, after all they are manufactured for attics and comply with EU standards and they work well. They are manufactured with a tongue and grove joint for good fitting so what’s the point in wasting your money on more expensive materials, this type of loft floor is screwed securely down to the attic joists.
Flooring all of your attic or large areas of your attic is a little different in the sense that you have to deal with more obstacles mainly your attic insulation, wiring and pipes therefore we recommend raising your attic floor level with thick batons, this allows for extra insulation if required.
The batons are screwed down at 60cm centres, packers are placed to level the batons, they are raised above pipes are wires where possible, extra insulation can be placed between the batons, but not compressed (as the insulation would lose some U-value) When this is completed large sheets of Plywood or equivalent material is securely screwed down across the batons and locked together at the joints. This type of flooring is for heavy use, wires and pipes can be accessed at a later date if required by unscrewing the fixings, nails are never used.
Attic Storage Solutions for You!
What makes an attic the perfect storage place in any house is it that the structure is already in place, the roof, the floor joists and access, but most importantly attics are dry and well ventilated, which means the items that you store in your attic don’t become damp and mouldy the way that they might in a garden shed or other out-buildings. Most attics are unused for storage mainly because of the difficulty accessing the attic in the first place. At Al’s attic ladders we specialise in attic storage solutions, attic rooms, roof windows, access ladders and dormers, we can convert your attic to a full habitable room or a really nice storage area.
This article is mainly about utilising your attic for storage, the fact that the main structure is already in place makes most attics really affordable to utilise. At Al’s attic ladders we offer simple to more complex storage solutions, most people just want easy access to their attics by means of an attic stairs or loft ladder an electric light and a small floor area to store on, and that’s fine, and it’s cheap! For this type of storage solution we would recommend our attic storage solution 1, which includes a Glide Away attic ladder, electric lighting and 60 ft sq of flooring. Another simple storage solution is our attic storage solution 3, what’s the difference you might ask? Well the stairs mainly. With Al’s storage solution 3 you get a folding timber stairs, this actually gives you a much bigger opening into your attic, the stairs itself has a flat step and a nice rake or angle to walk up safely and comfortably with, it’s a very high quality product and comes with an insulated trapdoor, draught excluder, safety handrail and easy operation. Each storage solution has its own virtues and very often depends on the individual building layout. A site survey may be required.
Roof WindowsAttic Pods are another storage solution option and are geared to truss type roof structures and are not suitable for all attics, basically “Attic Pods” are when the inner “A” area of the roof truss is lined with warm-board rigid insulation forming a wall, therefore sealing the attic area off from the rest of the attic, a Velux roof window is fitted giving light, and ventilation when required, a floor is put in place and of course a folding attic stairs is fitted. The Attic Pod is a cheap way of forming what could be classified as a small computer room or a storage area.
A full storage room is an option if you feel that you want the maximum from your attic space, in fact your attic is basically converted to a room, but without a full staircase, for this option a site inspection is definitely required. Please feel free to call us at Al’s attic ladders we have a wealth of knowledge in the building trade and attics are our specialty! We can arrange an inspection if required or choose from our range of competitive attic storage solutions.
Roof WindowsAl’s Attic Ladders specialise in Velux roof window replacement. If you have an older Velux model from the 80’s or 90’s you may be considering replacing it with a new generation Velux window. New generation Velux windows are constructed using Velux Thermo Technology, giving you the comfort of a high performance window with a high U-value. Al’s attic ladders specialise in removing old Velux windows and replacing them with the current available model which is the exact same size.
Frequently we are asked to replace bathroom windows with a new electric or solar operated Velux Integra window, especially that Velux operating cords are no longer permitted due to safety regulations. Velux windows can be replaced from inside the building, even when located up a shaft or tunnel, thus keeping costs down. Alternatively your Velux roof window can be fitted from the outside using scaffolding.