Loft ladder

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I'd like to install a loft ladder - however the placement of the hatch isn't ideal. The loft's ladders I've looked at on the web need space immediately behind the hatch into which to push the collapsed ladder. My hatch is right up against the wall in the loft and this is the only way which the ladder can go up.
Any obvious solutions?
Thanks, Rob.
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

I think I've seem some that concertina in order to fit within the hatch space - but I can't remember where.
--
Cheers,
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wrote:

Loft ladder mounting has been the bane of my life this last year!
This loft ladder appears not to require additional space:
http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?id 318&tsF971
However, a regular loft ladder might still do the trick - if some thought was given to mounting it appropriately. If a wooden rail was added about 8in into the loft area then it might be feasible to mount the ladder and push it vertically upward when not in use.
However this does suggest some ingenuity would be required, and in order for the loft ladder to be made available for use at the required angle then the loft hatch would have to be rather wide! Plus the user would need to be super careful when bringing the ladder down for use, it could easily slip and come down at an alarming rate!
PoP
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I installed one from B&Q which is probably the same one listed in screwfix, bit awkward but mine was a very nasty location, took about 3h to install.
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From what I infer on the Screwfix site, this comes with a frame as well.

I'll have to spend some time up there having a closer look. A vertical ladder might well work with all the caveats.
Cheers, Rob.
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On Sun, 4 Jan 2004 18:21:22 -0000, "Rob Nicholson"

You can get folding wooden types which will fold within the footprint of the hatch.
Look at
http://www.ladders-999.co.uk/loft_ladders_timber.htm
and Midmade Lux as a typical example.
I have two similar to this - one in the house and one in the garage to access the boarded space above the joists.
There are different sizes and for some it may be necessary to lengthen the hatch space. Basically you take out the existing hatch assembly and replace it with the integrated ladder unit
One thing to watch for is the width. Most of these ladders are designed to fit between ceiling joists that are 600mm on centre or thereabouts, so the width of the casing is usually about 560 to 570mm.
The wooden ladder is also a lot more sturdy than aluminium ones that I've had in the past and you don't waste any space in the loft. If need be you can get off sideways as you get to the top.
.andy
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Thanks for the link - I'll get the ladder out and measure up the existing hole, which just looking at the web-site picture isn't long enough. But at least it can be lengthened quite easily. Luckly we're redecorating the whole house so making a mess in extending isn't too bad.
Cheers, Rob.
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On Sun, 4 Jan 2004 22:29:54 -0000, "Rob Nicholson"

You're welcome. The width is usually the issue, but if you do some Googling on wooden loft ladder you should find a number of on line sites with different widths.
After you have cut the hole, the installation technique is to put the whole ladder assembly into the loft (you can unbolt the ladder sections to make it lighter).
You then take a couple of lengths of timber (e.g. 75x25mm) about 1.5x the gap between the joists and screw them to the ceiling perpendicular to the joists ( screw into them). One piece goes towards either end.
You then get into the loft and have a trusted assistant remove the steps. The new ladder frame is then lowered into place onto these timber pieces - this makes sure that it is flush with the underside of the ceiling. You now pack any gaps between the sides of the frame and the joists with thin wooden packing pieces before screwing through each side of the frame into the joists. You can then climb down and fix the ladder pieces on - there is a measuring procedure to get the length and angle of the bottom section right were it meets the floor.
Finally, you can remove the temporary pieces of timber and make the edges good. I used some narrow architrave screwed to the frame, plugged and painted.
It took me a couple of hours to do the entire job. As I say, do check the gap between joists carefully and at both ends of where the frame will be. It is not unknown for joists not to be parallel :-)
.andy
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Apologies if this appears twice - NTL news server appears to be loosing posts...

The existing hatch is 680mm wide on the outside and from the look of the one from Screwfix, this is the same width. Length isn't too much of a problem as there's space in the ceiling - just need to check there isn't a joist or anything across there.

Ahh thanks - will check this. The existing hatch must fit into something but thought it might need something on the other side.

Beverley!!
And have a cup of tea.

I always try and expect the unexpected when it comes to DIY :-)
Thanks, Rob.
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Darn - unfortunately, there is a joist running right across where I'd need to extend the hatch lengthways :-(
However, I did see a concertina type one that might fit.
Cheers, Rob.
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On Sat, 10 Jan 2004 15:47:20 -0000, "Rob Nicholson"

Is it a joist or is it a noggin going between two joists - that's what I'd expect.
If it is a noggin, it should be OK to put in another a bit further along and take out the one that's in the way.
.andy
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It's probably a noggin (great name) but this one is supporting one corner/side of the water tanks and I'm reluctant to mess around with it.
Cheers, Rob.
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On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 09:07:41 -0000, "Rob Nicholson"

OK.
Is there another place (completely) that would be more convenient perhaps?
.andy
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That's a possibility yes - in the back bedroom. I'll have another look tonight.
Cheers, Rob.
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On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 10:08:06 -0000, "Rob Nicholson"

I was just thinking that if you want to use the loft for storage (I tend to use mine for light but bulky items) then having a) a reasonable size opening) and b) a reasonably sturdy ladder is a good idea.
I have previously had sliding aluminium ladders which push up and lay flat in the space behind the hatch and the concertina type. They are kind of OK, but not very substantial and I didn't feel too comfortable taking things up and down. OTOH, if it were just for access to check tanks etc. then it would have been OK.
.andy
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isn't
right
Depending on the size of your hatch, there are a couple of options here http://tinyurl.com/2jtyt
Cheers Clive
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whole
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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. In the end I went for the ALU-FIX 10 concertina loft ladder which whilst not the cheapest, was the only practical solution due to the position of the hatch.
Just finished fitting it - took about four hours but I did also a) assemble a new work bench and b) strengthen the existing hatch frame. The concertina ladder is quite a scary piece of equipment with some strong springs that hold it up in place. It sort of hangs over the opening, attached to a vertical wooden board. Without extending/strengthen my existing hatch, this would have been rocking on a 2" wide strip - didn't feel safe at all!
The plastic hook lasted all of two uses - as useless as a chocolate fireguard!
So now I can move all the crap from downstairs ready for starting the bathroom next weekend. Ho hum!
Cheers, Rob.
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assemble
PS. Would suggest having a strong friend on hand to hold the darn thing whilst final screwing is carried out. My gf wimped out and my arms were about to fall off at one point.
Cheers, Rob.
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