Or should I find an installer who can fit it for me?
So, you’ve found the loft ladder you need which will open up the storage potential right above your head. It’s the perfect size, the price was good, the customer service you received was excellent and the delivery is on its way. But how are you going to get it installed?
This is a familiar predicament which is not limited to loft ladders. Here at FAKRO and on our merchant partner website roofwindows4you.co.uk we’re asked questions like this every week. And the answer varies, depending on whom is asking.
If you’re considering fitting a loft ladder yourself, either in a professional capacity or as a homeowner there are several factors you need to consider before tackling this job. To help, here’s our list of five points you need to consider before fitting a loft ladder yourself.
1. Do you have the necessary experience?
On the face of it loft ladders appear simple to install. They’re usually supplied as a complete kit, with the ladder integrated into the hatch, and the hatch tucked neatly into the box. All you need to do is securely attach the box into your rafters, make small adjustments and decorate afterwards. But without experience even a simple job can become difficult, leading to a substandard finish at best, or an accident waiting to happen at worst. Ask yourself, have you successfully installed anything which bears significant weight before?
2. Do you have the right tools?
You wouldn’t start a painting without any brushes, and you can’t cook a meal without pots and pans. If you don’t have the right professional standard tools to help, you’ll need to purchase them before you start, which could be costly. Consider this additional expense, compared to the cost of paying a loft ladder installer. Is the saving you’ll make significant enough, or should a professional be called in?
3. Are you skilled enough to make any adjustments?
If you’re lucky the box element of your new loft ladder will be the perfect size to snugly fit between the rafters. The size you’ve selected will slot in correctly and all that will be required is to fix and decorate. However, in many cases some adjustments to the opening in your ceiling may be required. Sometimes fitting a loft ladder requires the installation of a supporting ceiling joist or bolstering timbers to provide a good fit. If the job is starting to sound more complex than you envisaged, perhaps it’s time to talk to a local joiner.
4. Are you physically able to complete the works?
In short, loft ladders are heavy, and their very nature means you’ll be installing it into the ceiling, way above your head. This will require the physical strength to lift and hold the complete ladder and keep it steady. Without professional lifting equipment the installation is a two-person job. For example, ladder weights from the FAKRO loft ladder range vary from 160kg to 200kg. To put that in perspective the average British man weighs 83.6kg, could you lift a man weighing twice this above your head?
5. Do you have the time to install a loft ladder yourself?
Completing the installation yourself, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process, including the adjustments that may be required, will inevitably take longer than expected. The old phrase ‘a five-minute job never takes five minutes’ will spring to mind, especially as a mornings work stretches into afternoon and then evening.
Ask yourself, how valuable is your time?
Installing a loft ladder would be a simple DIY task if it were at ground level – but it’s not. Before installing one yourself you need to consider your skills, your equipment and your experience. If you possess all of these, and the drive to install one yourself, then there is nothing to stop you. However, you should be aware of invalidating any warranty through incorrect installation – just check with the loft ladder manufacturer or supplier first.
So, if you don’t tick all the requirements on this list, perhaps it’s time to call in the professionals. This is when an experienced joiner or builder will be able to help.
For more information on loft ladders or for further installation advice - talk to the FAKRO team today on 0333 600 9090 or check out our other great articles here.