Attic conversions are becoming increasingly popular due to space constraints in real estate, and one of the biggest choices you must make about your attic conversion is what kind of ladder or stairs you should use. The choice will affect the price, required space, flexibility, portability, and style of your attic conversion, and you should really consider all the options before making a choice. This article will go over one extremely popular type of ladder, the loft ladder, and explains why it is popular its advantages, and some of its disadvantages.
A Brief History of the Loft Ladder
Invented in 1938 by Frits Bode, the loft ladder has seen relative success in architectural structures, and it has grown in popularity ever since.
The loft ladder might not have garnered its initial popularity due to the reasons it sees continued use today, but it was more luck that allowed it to thrive. At that time, construction techniques were relatively primitive and manpower was really expensive. That put the loft ladder in the sweet spot of being easy to construct and simple to use. Compare this with stairs that were much safer and aesthetically pleasing back then, but were extremely expensive to construct and required structural changes to the house. Loft ladders became popular just by virtue of being more viable.
While the original reasons that made loft ladders useful are mostly moot now, there are some undeniable advantages that still make loft ladders one of the top choices:
- Portability: most people still use attics as storage units. As such, they don’t see a reason why they need to constantly go there. They’d usually visit the attic a couple of times in a month to reorganize, take out, or put stuff there. That’s why it is a colossal waste to have a large staircase taking up space throughout the month while you don’t have any use for it.
- Space Saving: tying in with the first advantage, loft ladders just take up less space. Even if you constantly use them, they are constructed with maximizing space in mind. Stairs could never compete.
- Ease of Construction and Price: while this isn’t as big of a deal as it was a few decades ago, it is still an undeniable advantage. When you construct a staircase, you’re using more raw material, and you need to change more of your house’s structure. That’s why loft ladders are the choice for people who want an easier time and a less expensive option.
Ladders aren’t without their disadvantages, and loft stairs are clearly superior to them in some areas:
- The style: Due to their fixed nature and robust frame, architects can take more liberties with loft stair designs. The chances are your loft ladder will seem like every other ladder out there, and it won’t have any distinguishing features. Using stairs, on the other hand, opens a whole world of possibilities and design, which means you can make your house’s design special.
- Longevity: stairs have a longer lifespan and lower maintenance cost compared to loft ladders. Because loft ladders are created with flexibility and portability in mind, they are usually light and lack robustness. Due to the fact that you can retract them, the joints are a potential weak point that you need to maintain.