Attic Stairs by other names: There are many different names
and terms used to describe attic stairs. Sometimes they are called attic ladders, disappearing attic stairs, disappearing
attic ladders, folding attic stairs, folding attic ladders, and even loft ladders. While all of the names are correct, we
have decided to use the term 'attic stairs' for our product.
Vertical opening access ladders, sometimes called loft ladders, are units installed in the wall or other vertical surface, and they utilize telescopic ladders
extended from the opening to the floor.
Types and Styles of Attic Stairs: There are actually
many different designs of attic stairs; the most common styles are described below. All accomplish the task of folding, retracting
or storing the attic ladder in the attic opening or the attic itself.
Folding Attic Ladders: The most basic and common type of attic ladder, the entire ladder is usually
divided into three sections that are folded on top of each other when stored. When in use, the attic stair's door is
opened and the ladder is unfolded to the floor. Once the ladder sections are unfolded, they are safely braced against each
other and will not collapse under the weight of the user. All folding ladders have to be cut to length by the installer
after installation. Calvert Stairs offers wooden folding attic stairs for residential use. One exception to the basic three section attic ladder are Compact Wooden Folding Attic Stairs, a four section ladder. The last two sections can not fold flat on the top of each other and are braced vertically on the
top of ladder.
Telescopic Attic Ladder: It is also known as concertina
ladder or accordion ladder. It is a ladder designed from small sections, one section per step section, to form a one long
ladder section. The advantage of these strong, and sometimes larger, ladders is that they will usually store within the attic
opening and they are relatively easy to operate. Common assumptions are that this ladder extends down to the ground at the
angle that it will be used and does not require any additional swing space; they are false. Most of these ladders do require
a rather large swing area to unfold. Calvert Steel telescopic attic stairs require additional swing clearance to extend.
Sliding Attic Ladders: These are
still used today, yet rarely. Usually the one-piece long ladder slides over in the attic for storage, and the entire ladder
is pulled down by using system of pulleys. In some cases, these ladders are aluminum and made up of several sections that
will slide over each other. Calvert USA does not offer any ladders using this design.
Materials used to construct attic stairs:
Aluminum: the most versatile material, used in all the designs, cut sections of aluminum are bolted
Steel: rarely used, can be light, strong, and easy to operate with a good
Attic stairs term glossary:
referring just to the ladder section a use would use to climb on, part of attic stairs unit.
Rough Opening Size (RO): this is the opening in the ceiling before the attic stairs are installed; it is measured from
the inside of the opening.
Floor to Ceiling Height ( F to C ): vertical measurement
from the finished floor to finished ceiling (assuming the attic stairs will be installed flush with the ceiling).
Landing Space: measured by locating the hinged end of the attic stairs, transferring that point
vertically down to the floor, and measuring forward to the front edge of the attic ladder resting on the floor. In the case
of folding ladders, the given landing space measurement is at the maximum F to C distance; when F to C is less than maximum,
the ladder is trimmed in length with the angle remaining the same, the landing space will be reduced accordingly.
Swing Clearance: measured by locating the hinged end of the attic stairs, transferring that point
vertically down to the floor, and measuring forward to the front edge of the attic ladder as it is being unfolded or extended.
Most attic ladders need more space to unfold or extend then the landing space. The swing clearance will change according
the length of telescopic stairs, but it will not change for folding ladders, because it is measure to the end of the 2nd
Weight Capacity: the total weight the ladder will safely support,
including the user and what ever the user is carrying (not the weight of the attic ladder). The attic stairs are actually
tested using a much higher weight than the published maximum weight capacity, and will most likely not collapse at the weight
limit; do not exceed the maximum weight capacity during normal use on a regular basis.