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How to fit a loft ladder



Fitting a loft ladder can be a pretty straightforward process, allowing you to access your loft area with ease. Once your loft ladder has been installed, you can make use of your attic space for storage or convert it into another living area.

There are many types of loft ladders on the market, from wooden soft ladders to telescopic models, so trying to find the right guide for your needs can be challenging. To help you, we have compiled this comprehensive guide on how to fit a loft ladder. We will be covering expert tips and taking you through the process step-by-step.

It’s time to unlock your valuable storage or living space!

How to fit a loft ladder – what you will need

Before you begin fitting your loft ladder, you will need to gather the right tools and materials. Loft ladder kits are available, providing the items needed for installation. Nevertheless, you may already have the tools ready. Here are some suggestions on what you will need:

Once you have these ready, you can start working your way through the steps below.

How to install a loft ladder hatch – Step-by-step guide

Before you begin installing your new loft ladder, you will need to make an opening in your ceiling, unless you already have an existing loft latch.

You must choose a suitable location for your new loft ladder and hatch, ensuring there is enough headroom when entering the loft space above. Ideally, the latch should be at least one metre from an external wall, and away from an existing staircase.

Once you have selected a spot for your loft ladder and hatch, it’s time to inspect the area and get started. For this project, we highly recommend getting help from another person. We must also note that this can be a challenging task for anyone with little to no DIY experience. Therefore, if you’re unsure of any aspect of the installation, it’s best to seek professional help.

  1. Check that there are no cables or pipes running through the selected area of the loft hatch. You can do this with a stud detector.
  2. If the spot is clear, use a pencil and a straightedge to mark out the size and shape of the opening. These measurements should be included with your loft ladder installation guide. We recommend lining up both sides of the hatch with existing ceiling joists, as this provides stringer support for the ladder.
  3. Once everything has been measured carefully, drill four holes in each corner and place your jigsaw into place to cut the lines marked out.
  4. Safely remove the cut-out piece of ceiling before sanding the edges of the hatch opening.
  5. With the help of another individual, install the frame of the hatch so it supports the loft ladder’s weight. Make sure the box frame is flush against the ceiling for stability and safety.
  6. Now, measure the hatch’s length on the ends where there are no ceiling joists, and cut two planks of wood at this equal length.
  7. Attach the planks between the ceiling joists with screws, forming a square or rectangle for holding the ladder in place firmly. You can also add strips of wood on the edges of the new hatch for further security.

If your attic space has no lighting, you can set up a small light for better visibility.

And, that’s it – you should now have a loft ladder hatch ready to support your loft ladder.

Checking the ladder opens correctly

Before the installation process begins, you need to make sure the ladder opens in the right direction. Doing so will depend on your loft’s layout and the position of the joists.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Firstly, you need to mark the position of the ceiling’s opening.
  2. Make a small hole in the centre of the marked opening and cut a small piece of plasterboard.
  3. Now, check the ceiling joists’ position and adjust the position of the opening if needed.
  4. Your loft ladder should be fitted so it runs in the same direction as the joists. This ensures the ladder is secure and supported safely. If you install the ladder against the joists, it may not support a person’s weight.

By making sure your loft ladder runs in the right direction, you guarantee safe and sturdy support. This step is crucial for hassle-free access to your loft space and peace of mind.

How to install a loft ladder – Step-by-step guide

The first thing you need to do is to unbox your loft ladder from its packaging. Check that all parts are present, such as:

  • The ladder
  • Handrail
  • Hinges
  • Fixing screws
  • Installation guide

If you have an existing loft hatch, make sure your new loft ladder is the correct size. If not, you will need to adjust the opening.

Once you have determined you have all the necessary parts, it’s time to start putting the ladder together. These steps will depend on the type of loft ladder you have, but the manufacturer instructions will guide you through this particular process. Contact the manufacturer if you are unsure.

Now you have your loft opening and ladder prepared, it’s time to fit your loft ladder. Once again, make sure you have a helping hand, as this is very difficult to do on your own.

  1. Begin by placing your ladder into the opening and positioning it properly. Make sure the ladder is level and flush with the ceiling.
  2. Using screws and brackets, secure your ladder in place, making sure it is securely attached to the joists and there is no movement.
  3. You need to secure the folding section and steps to the opening. To do so, check that the ladder is level and the folding section is completely flush with the floor, adjust if this is not the case.
  4. Secure the ladder to the loft opening using screws (these usually come with the ladder kit).
  5. Once your ladder has been attached, check that it functions correctly and efficiently. Climb up and down the first few steps of the ladder very carefully to find out if it is stable and safe to use.
  6. If there are any further components, like grab bars or handrails, install these according to the manufacturer’s guide.
  7. Complete the installation by sealing any apparent gaps around the ladder and the loft opening. Doing so will prevent any heat loss or drafts entering your home.
  8. Once again, test the ladder to ensure it is completely secure and safe to use. If everything is sturdy and secure, you have successfully fitted your loft ladder!

Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s guide very carefully. If you are unsure on any stage of the installation process, seek help from a professional with experience in loft ladder installation.

In Summary

Installing a loft ladder from scratch can be a little tricky, especially for anyone with little DIY experience, but it is possible. Installation guides are typically very thorough, guiding you through the process very carefully.

Once your ladder has been installed, you can access your attic space without any hassle, using it as another room or for storage. As always, safety is paramount – always follow safety guidelines and wear protective gear to ensure you are safe throughout the installation process.

Enjoy your new loft ladder!

If you require additional advice or have a question for our team, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us using this form or via phone at +441639849847.


What tradespeople are best for fitting loft ladders?

There are professionals who specialise in loft ladder installation, but most builders should have the skills to do the job correctly.

How much is it to install a loft ladder?

Currently, the average loft ladder installation costs around £250 to £300, but various factors can affect this price, such as materials needed, size, and type of loft ladder.

How long does it take to fit a loft ladder?

In general, fitting a standard loft ladder takes approximately two to three hours, depending on the loft ladder’s material and whether any hatch adjustments need to be made.

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