Tips for Building Loft Stairs
There are many types of loft stairs, ranging from a spiral staircase to a fixed staircase to loft ladders. They all do they same thing, giving access to the attic, but in slightly different ways. The type of loft stairs can often be dictated by the amount of room you have on the landing. Fixed stairs, for instance, will require the most space while a loft ladder can be kept in the loft and extend down.
Tip #1 - Measuring
For putting in fixed loft stairs, measuring is vital and can tell you just how much room you’ll need. The main measurement you need is the rise, which is the distance directly down from the loft opening to the landing floor.
Remember that you need to allow 11 inches for each stair tread, which is the flat part of each step, and 7 inches for the riser. By having the rise measurement for the loft stairs you’ll be able to calculate the number of steps you’ll need. That figure will then tell you how far the steps will extend.
Tip #2 - Stringers
The stringers are the side of the loft stairs, or its silhouette, if you prefer. You can make your own quite easily once you have the measurements you need, or you can buy them pre-made. If you don’t have good woodworking experience, buying them can be the better course of action
Tip #3 - Spiral Staircase
Where a spiral staircase is what you want for your loft stairs, don’t try and build them from scratch yourself unless you’re a very experienced carpenter. It will be much easier to buy them pre-made (there are kits in different sizes) and the install them. Be sure you have help on hand to aid you in the installation as it’s something you shouldn’t undertake yourself.
Tip #4 - Loft Ladders
If a loft ladder will be your loft stairs, consider the type you need. There are fixed ladders, removable ladders and folding ladders. For those without much experience the fixed ladder will be the easiest option although it doesn’t look good on the landing, where it will be a permanent fixture, and the loft entrance will need to be permanently open.
Folding ladders take skill to build, and it’s much better to buy what you need. In man instances this won’t be a custom item and can easily be installed above the attic trapdoor. A removable ladder is exactly what it seems and it’s biggest disadvantage is that it needs to be moved in and out of the area whenever you want to access the attic. However, it’s as easy to make as any other ladder.
Tip #5 - Rails
With fixed or spiral stairs be sure you also have rails on the stairs. Not only do they give hand holds, they also make the loft stairs safer. With ladders this won’t be possible and not desired. The rails should be about 34 inches above the stairs and be certain they’re at the same angle as the stairs for comfort.