A Guide To Buying Attic Ladders

Posted on: 8 July 2015

An attic ladder makes access to your attic much safer and easier than teetering on a chair or balancing on a small set of steps.  Here's a brief guide to what options are available.

Styles of attic ladder

There are two main styles of attic ladder, both of which are available in aluminium, steel or wood. 

Concertina sliding attic ladders

Concertina sliding attic ladders are the easiest to use and fit.  They generally come in three sections and are fitted to the joists inside the attic.  The standard size will fit most attic hatches, but the aperture can be extended to fit relatively easily, if necessary.

If your attic is small and you have limited landing space, a concertina sliding attic ladder is a good choice.  They're great space-savers, needing almost no clearance room or storage space in your attic. 

The aluminium versions are light-weight and are the cheapest option.  As such, they're best-suited to minimal use, and they have the disadvantage of being rather wobbly and noisy to use.  Steel attic ladders are more suitable for frequent use, especially if you carry heavy items up to your attic space on a regular basis, although they are quite expensive and are still pretty noisy. 

Timber sliding ladders by comparison are much quieter.  They are also heavier, which makes them feel more secure.  An integral spring-loading system provides a much smoother opening and closing action.  These advantages come at a price, but they're ideal if you use the ladders frequently.

Sliding attic ladders are available with handrails and extra-deep treads, if required. Both these features make transporting items to and from the attic a much safer exercise.

Folding Ladders

Folding ladders are easy to use.  The ladder simply folds up in two or three small sections.  The sections stack up on the attic hatch when it's closed. 

Timber folding ladders are smooth, quiet to operate and give the user a secure, steady feeling.  In comparison, aluminium folding ladders are inclined to flex when bearing weight.  Although this is quite normal, it can be rather alarming until you get used to it.

Decent quality timber attic ladders come ready to install with a customised frame and an attic hatch.  They have integral locks for added stability and are sprung to make raising or lowering easy.  There are different hatch sizes available to suit most dimensions.


If you have fairly good DIY skills, you may be able to install the ladder yourself.  However, most DIY stores and appliance suppliers have professionals who will happily measure and install your ladder for you.  This is probably the best route to take if your attic hatch requires enlargement to accommodate your new ladders.

A good quality set of attic ladders are the safest and easiest way of accessing your attic storage space.  Contact a company like Direct Skylight Supplies for advice on which type of ladder would be best-suited to your needs and how it can be installed.