Choosing an attic ladder

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by HoneySuckle, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. HoneySuckle

    HoneySuckle New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Would you buy an aluminum or steel ladder for the attic? We have a wooden one that is 12 years old and it is falling apart and dangerous.

    We checked out some at Lowes but don't know if they're good enough. Any suggestions or recommendations on ladders? Thanks in advance:)
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    I bought one that is slick - it is made in (I think) Sweden, comes with hydraulic pistons, a prefinished door that comes sealed and insulated. Is quiet opening, no springs groaning or scraping on anything. It is a wood ladder, but much sturdier than the ones I previously had and see in places like HD or Lowes. I saw their add in Fine Homebuilding. I think I've seen it elsewhere. Check it out in a bookstore or the library. It was expensive, but works well. It also has a positive rubber bulb air seal and a rod handle to lock and unlock the opening. You need someplace to store the handle, as you can't leave it in place. WOrks slick, not cheap, but seals well, is insulated, and seems like it will last a long time (mine's been in nearly 10-years now - no problems - works like new).
  3. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    I've installed two of the Lowes steel units, replacing wooden ones, and both are good. One (in old house) was inside, hallway to attic, 7.5 ft ceiling. In Nov, in new house, I replaced the garage to attic ceiling (9.5 ft) unit. They install easily, are sturdier than wood, close without slamming.

    I don't recall seeing aluminum ones.
  4. HoneySuckle

    HoneySuckle New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Ted, Isn't the steel ladders very heavy for the attic? I can't imagine trying to pull that down. Our ceiling sounds like yours in height.

    Jadnashua, what is it about those Europeans? They sure know how to produce quality things. I will check out Fine Homebuilding. Thanks.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    Their energy costs have and continue to be much higher than ours, so there is an incentive to conserve more there than here in the land of plenty. They also often build a house to last for centuries, rather than decades, so their choice of materials is different.
  6. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    Actual weight is about the same as wood. Check out the box weights at Lo's. The counterbalance lift arms make perceived weight (effort to open/close) a lot less. Think of the back gate on a minivan or trunk on a car.
  7. HoneySuckle

    HoneySuckle New Member

    Messages:
    126

    Thanks. I will take a look at both and keep your recommendations in mind:)
  8. Rhino

    Rhino New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    one piece ladder

    My Granny's house has a ten foot solid wood ladder. It weighs a ton, but there is a clock type spring to pull it shut. It's been in place for sixty years. No manufacturer name on it, so Google it! Any product this good is still on the market, but hideously expensive. I moved a 300 pound air conditioning unit up those stairs.
  9. HoneySuckle

    HoneySuckle New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Husband says the steel ladder sounds like a good deal so we will buy one tomorrow and have it installed. Anything will be better than the builder's grade ladder that is falling apart. It has become hazardous.
  10. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    One caution -
    The steel ladders can be narrower (an inch or two) than some wooden ones. I knew that when I installed it. When we moved last Fall, something we had put in the attic would not fit back out.

    Fortunately, it was the box that was the problem, and we could remove the contents and flatten the box. But if it had been a piece of furniture.....
  11. HoneySuckle

    HoneySuckle New Member

    Messages:
    126

    Our ladder was installed and you are so right about it being narrower. We found that out this morning but like you we emptied the box. No furniture up there so that's a relief:D
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