The Essential Guide To Choosing A Loft Access Door
It may not be the most glamorous DIY job you’ll ever take on, but choosing and installing a loft access door is nonetheless a task that is worth doing well. There’s more to loft access doors than you might first realise, and here we guide you through the essential things to consider if you want to be able to use the loft space in your home for storage.
Think About What You Need
Loft access doors, also known as ‘roofing doors’ or ‘loft traps’ have come a long way from their earlier incarnations. They provide excellent access to your attic, meaning that you open up the potential for that space as a storage site for all the bits and bobs and old pieces of furniture that you never use but aren’t quite ready to throw away. There are range of different styles and qualities available. Look for one which is as inconspicuous as possible – some lie completely flush with the ceiling and these can look good in a modern house or apartment.
Make sure you get one with a dismountable door, to facilitate things during installation and to make things more easily repairable should any damage occur. Loft access doors usually come in two standard sizes, although they can be custom made to the bespoke requirements of the customer in some cases.
Ask yourself how frequently you are likely to want to get in and out of the loft space. If you anticipate using the loft a lot, you might decide you need an access door with detachable stairs to allow easier access to the attic space. These doors are compact and useful in the sense that they prevent the “wind uplift” of the hinges and keep it intact.
Loft access doors are made of either wood, plastic or “electro-galvanized” thick benign steel. For many, a thin, plastic loft access door will suffice. These are a good option if you are installing the door yourself as a DIY project. However, it is often worthwhile investing in a more expensive metal heavy duty door. These provide protection from fire, so to be extra safe, it might be worth spending a bit of extra cash for the added fire retardation properties.
The doors usually operate along one side hinge, and are held closed in place with camouflaged locks which can be opened only by the user. If you opt for a steel model, it is best to choose one where the frame of the panels is fully powder coated, to improve the aesthetic appeal and to blend in with your ceiling.
It’s not just fire you want your loft access door to protect against – it is damp too. As well as insulating your attic, in the cold air of the attic needs to be prevented from rotting your loft access door, so you need to make sure you choose a model that is skim coated and protected against rust and moisture damage.
Polystyrene models are a good option. These reasonably priced loft access doors are easily adjustable, well insulated, and allow for an easy fit. The drawback of the polystyrene types is of course that it can be prone to breaking and the doors can become difficult to close.
There are many things to bear in mind when choosing a loft access door. Spend a bit of time doing your research – think about your needs, the style of your home and your budget – and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.
About the Author
Kate Parker has written many articles on home improvement and DIY for web based resources. She has written this article on behalf of DampShop Direct.