At Al’s attic ladders probably the most frequent question that we are asked on a daily basis is what are the advantages of the more expensive folding timber attic stairs compared to the cheaper aluminium type attic ladders such as the Glide Away? To help you make your mind up first we should look at what would actually fit your loft and then consider the ladder type, let’s have a quick comparison on the measurements displayed on most portals such as www.atticladders.com for example and most importantly the floor to floor height and the floor to ceiling height. Timber attic stairs or ladders are always measured from floor to ceiling height, that’s the key measurement, whilst aluminium attic ladders are measured floor to floor (attic floor level to floor below) With that out of the way the next step is to consider the opening size, timber attic stairs generally come with their own door and frame and you need to alter your opening size to facilitate the stairs the standard opening size being 120cmx60cm, wider and narrower models are available. Aluminium attic ladder generally do not come with a trapdoor and fit into the existing hatch size which is converted over to open down.
At this point some people are already restricted to the aluminium type and even a particular model depending on the floor to floor height, but let’s say you not! Personal choice is next so here are some advantages of the timber folding stairs 1. The trapdoor is larger so you can fit larger items through it, such as large suitcases. (2) The trapdoors are insulated and have draught excluder built in to prevent heat loss or draught the Goldstar attic stairs is a god example. (3) The timber attic stairs have a flat step, most but not all aluminium ladders have rungs. (4) Timber ladders are more pleasing to the eye. (5) They are quieter whilst operating and when in use)
With aluminium attic ladders they tend to be more rugged and less pleasing to the eye, they are certainly noisier when in use but some models are cheap and efficient, they get the job done so to speak. Standard ladders such as the Glide Away and Glide Away + aluminium ladders don’t need the opening size altered so they are quick and easy to install. The larger industrial types such as the Star 1, The Star 2 and the Delight models are extremely tough with flat steps and the opening can be altered if required, they are suited to old houses with very high ceilings and industrial premises alike.
These are some points to take into account when deciding which attic stairway suits your situation best, we hope that you find them helpful. Below the videos show typical examples of folding timber stairs and a typical attic ladder.