Should I have a Ladder or Stairs to my loft Conversion?
Having your loft converted can create an amazing transformation in your home, but it often raises the question of how to access it, using a ladder or making a proper staircase?
The answer to that question may depend on your intended use of the new space, but unless you are planning to use the conversion solely for storage, installing a staircase is usually the better option.
Let’s look at the pros and cons for each choice:
Ladder Access Only
- Relatively Cheap
- Takes up a smaller floor area in the loft
- Can take zero floor area on the landing
- Unsuitable for the very young, the elderly or people with injuries / disabilities
- Difficult to move objects and furniture into / out of
- Easy and safe method of access
- Makes a loft conversion feel like a proper room
- Takes up more room on your landing and in the new loft conversion
Both stairs and ladders have an inherent safety issue in that they are both putting the user at risk of falling from a height in some way – people fall down stairs all the time and people fall off ladders all the time.
Ladders are significantly more dangerous than stairs as the likelihood of falling off a ladder and the severity of the injuries which could be sustained from said fall are both much worse than falling on stairs.
It is worth noting that on most major construction sites in the UK ladders are banned. Exceptions are made when in use as access on scaffolding or in locations where a temporary staircase won’t fit, but no-one is allowed to work off a ladder and the standard method of access from one level to another is via a temporary staircase, not a ladder.
This is due to the high incidence of falls and injuries involving ladders.
Having a staircase up to your loft conversion instead of a ladder could have several benefits:
- Moving furniture in or out will be easier
- Carrying food or drinks will be safer
- A proper staircase is likely to add move value to your property
If you plan to use your loft conversion as an office to work from home, you will need to put a desk and chair in there as a minimum, plus storage and any other equipment that might be required.
On a daily basis, you might want to take a nice cup of hot tea or coffee to your place of work, which would be quite easy on a staircase but genuinely dangerous on a ladder.
Whilst a staircase will be more expensive than a ladder, it is also likely to increase the value of your property by more than the ladder would. For the purpose of valuation, a bedroom with a ladder access might not be considered a ‘bedroom’ by an estate agent – the impact of effectively losing or gaining a bedroom can be huge in terms of the overall value of your house.