Whether you've recently remodelled and have added an attic space, or the current stairs to your attic have broken, you need to ensure you choose the right style of stairs for your attic before you purchase them. You also need to size them properly, and consider how easy or difficult it would be to use a certain type of attic stairs. Note a few considerations for how to choose the right attic ladder or stairs for your home.
1. Building codes
The first thing to do before choosing an attic ladder is check local building codes. There may be restrictions or requirements as to the type of stair system you will use for your home. If you've added an attic, your builder should be able to assist, but if you need to replace the ladder, check with your city or county building authority for guidance.
Note the dimensions of an attic ladder very carefully; this includes the width and the height. The width shouldn't be as wide as your attic door as you don't want to install the ladder right on the door edges; this puts weight on the edges which in turn might make the door splinter. You should install a door that is just slightly more narrow than the door to your attic.
The height of an attic ladder may be measured from the floor of your home to the floor of the attic or from the floor of your home to the ceiling of the attic. A taller ladder can make transferring easier since you can hold onto the ladder while stepping on or off, whereas it will take up more space, so consider this measurement carefully before purchasing.
The weight limit of the stairs should also be considered as part of this measurement. Be honest with yourself about your own weight, and remember to note the weight of heavy items you might carry up the stairs with you. Choose a ladder that will hold both safely and easily.
3. Pull-down versus folding
Pull-down attic stairs are often harder to install as you need to work around the telescoping mechanism when screwing this type of unit to the attic door. Folding attic stairs are often more lightweight and may not be as sturdy, and they may require more physical strength to fold and unfold. However, they can be easier when it comes to installation. They are also good for smaller spaces where a pull-down set of stairs may not easily fit.
Talk with a professional from a company like Direct Skylight Supplies to learn more about attic ladder options to determine what will work best for your home.