If you have an attic in your home that can only be accessed via the ceiling then you
should install at ladder. Of course, you can always drag a step ladder out of the closet or a big ladder out of the
garage, but that is a hassle. You could also build a permanent set of stairs but they would take up valuable floor
space. Because most people will only be accessing the ceiling attic a few times a year, for things like retrieving
Christmas lights, a permanent staircase is not necessary.
There are basically two types of attic ladders: pull-down and folding. A pull-down ladder,
which is also referred to as a disappearing stairway, will remain in one straight piece. It is attached to the
rectangular door or hatch that is used to access the attic. When you pull down on the door or hatch the ladder
extends down and rests on the floor. The other type is the folding ladder, which can also be called an accordion
staircase. With this style, the treads fold up on each other into a compact unit.
The pull-down style is typically more sturdy than the folding style. This is because the
angle of inclination is like that of a traditional staircase. The folding style has a steeper angle of inclination
because it is more like a traditional outdoor ladder. This will make it more difficult to lug items up and down the
slope. The pull-down ladder will take up more space in the attic but will require a larger opening to fit through,
while the folding style is good for a smaller opening because it will require less space.
When it comes to ladder materials the choices are steel, aluminum and wood. Regardless of
the style you choose and the type of material, look for sturdy foot treads and quality hardware to ensure safety.
Some models also come with handrails. You also need to know the maximum weight that the ladder will hold. Take into
consideration not just the person climbing the ladder but also the weight of the items that they will be
Because stairs come in lengths, be sure you know the required measurement for the model
you are installing. Some will want you to measure the distance from the ceiling to the floor, while others will
want you to measure from the attic floor to the floor below.
On our site you will find many great articles and information to answer all your
questions about attic ladders.