Pull-down attic ladders are commonly made of aluminum, while others are manufactured from timber or steel. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that will last for many years, then aluminum attic ladders are the best choice. They are sturdy, lightweight, and can resist rust and corrosion even when frequently exposed to humidity.
Timber is another material used as an attic ladder material. These sturdy ladders are typically cheaper than aluminum ones, but they are more vulnerable to the effects of humidity and extreme temperature than aluminum.
Galvanized or stainless steel is another material used as an attic ladder material. Like wood and aluminum, this material is prized for its durability and longevity. Steel ladders, however, are heavier than aluminum or wood ladders.
Pull-down attic access ladders are designed to fit between your ceiling joists or trusses. You can install an attic ladder to an existing ceiling access hatch, but check if its opening fits right into the hatch so you don’t have to modify your ceiling when it’s time to install the ladder.
But if the existing ceiling access hatch is too small, you can always enlarge it or cut a new one altogether. When cutting a new access hatch, make sure that there’s plenty of room for you and the things you’re bringing into the attic to move around. It might seem like a good idea to hide the access hatch above a narrow closet or nook in your house, but moving large boxes, paintings, or holiday decorations is going to be a pain if the ladder doesn’t have enough landing space or swing clearance below.
Attic access ladders have different opening dimensions, and you can choose one that fits the existing attic access hatch at home or one that can accommodate the size of the items you’re going to store in the attic.
The standard size of the opening of an attic access ladder is 22.5″ x 54″. But some manufacturers also offer ladders of different sizes, such as 25.5″ x 54″ and 30″ x 60″. But keep in mind that ladders with larger opening dimensions are a bit pricier than standard ones.
Before choosing a pull-down attic ladder, make sure to measure the distance between the area’s floor and the ceiling. The Louisville Ladder AA2210 Elite Aluminum Attic Ladder, for example, has a ceiling height of 7′ 8″ to 10′ 3″. The Z6 Metal Retractable Ladder, on the other hand, is available in different heights ranging from 4.92′ to 11.15′.
Take note of the maximum weight the ladder can support before choosing one. Consider the weight of the heaviest person in your household, plus the weight of the items you’re planning to store in the attic. The Louisville Ladder Wooden Attic Ladder, for example, can support only a maximum of 250 lbs. The LWW Ladder Pull-Down Attic Ladder, on the other hand, can support up to 331 lbs.
Many attic ladders are designed to be unfolded when it’s time to use them and folded when you’re done. Some have telescoping sides, while other newer attic ladders feature a “scissor” design.
Other Features to Consider:
- If your knees turn stiff and your palms become sweaty whenever you have to use an attic ladder, then make sure that it is equipped with handrails to make it safer.
- Make sure that the rungs or steps are wide enough to allow you to climb or descend the ladder safely. Look for grooves or textured steps that provide better traction with each step.
Check out this video if you’re ready to install your new pull-down access ladder. Get ready because you’re going to need some tools, such as a reciprocating saw, a tape measure, and a framing nailer (to name a few) for this task.