People are constantly looking for creative ways to expand their living space and increase the value of their home. Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular ways to do this is by converting the loft into a usable space. Whether you need to add a new bedroom in time for a new arrival, or you want to add a private office space away from the rest of the house, making the most of the space in the rafters is an appealing choice. 

It turns out, you can't just pop a double bed, a desk and a lamp into your loft and call it a day. As with most major renovations, there are a few legal hoops that you have to jump through before you can declare your loft conversion as a safe and functional room. You've probably seen properties for sale with the elusive promise of a 'potential fourth bedroom subject to regulations'. This just means that there's a loft that could be turned into a bedroom, so long as it complies with building regulations. 

But what are these building regulations and what do you need to do to comply with them? Let's find out.

General Loft Conversion Regulations

Whether you're planning to turn your loft into a bedroom or an attic, there are some fundamental building regulations that your conversion needs to comply with. Most of these are to do with the stability and safety of the loft itself and set out the minimum requirements for things such as:

  • The structural integrity of the loft floor and ceiling
  • The installation of a suitable stairway access
  • Any changes you plan to make to the outside of your home
  • The additional fire escape route
  • The insulation required in the floor and walls

Specific Bedroom Regulations

Once you've made sure that your loft conversion complies with the various regulations listed above, you can turn your attention to the more specific, additional regulations that you must adhere to if you want to use the finished space as a bedroom. That's right, there's an extra layer of regulations in place to make sure that the room can be used as a bedroom safely. These regulations include:

  • Headroom - There needs to be sufficient room for someone to get in and out of the bed without hitting their head. This might mean that you have to make alterations to the pitch or overall height of the room. Bear in mind that the headroom required along your allocated fire escape route needs to be a minimum of 2 metres.

 

  • Insulation - When it comes to insulation for a loft conversion bedroom, there needs to be 50mm of insulation along the roof as well as sufficient insulation in the floors and walls. You should consider the additional insulation required when you're making your headroom calculations.

 

  • Fire and safety - The requirements for fire safety vary greatly depending on the nature of your loft conversion. As such, it's important that you contact your local authority or building control specialist to ensure that your loft bedroom conversion complies. In general, taller buildings have stricter fire requirements for obvious reasons. Descending from a third or fourth storey in an emergency is going to be infinitely harder than the first or second. 

 

  • A proper loft staircase - Unlike your usual lofts that you maybe pop into once or twice a year, loft bedroom conversions require a suitable, sturdy staircase. Typical aluminium or concertina loft ladders are not appropriate for use in this scenario. Instead, you should opt for a loft staircase. These staircases offer permanent access to your loft, boast a traditional wood look, and will help you create a safe loft conversion. 

 

  • A fire safety door - This door should be able to open fully allowing easy access in and out of the new loft bedroom. Doors along the proposed fire escape route also need to be replaced/upgraded to fire doors. This helps to control the spread of a fire, should the worst occur.

Does Boarding a Loft Add Value?

If you decide to do a loft conversion that complies with the necessary building regulations, it can definitely add value to your home. If your loft conversion also applies to the specific bedroom guidelines, you can safely upgrade your housing listing from a 3 bedroom property to a 4 bedroom property! This can make your home much more appealing to potential buyers when/if you decide to sell it. 

Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer a wide range of loft staircases, designed to help you get your loft conversion underway. If you're unsure which loft staircase is right for you, why not drop us an email? sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.

When it comes to ladder safety, you can never be too cautious. While you might think that climbing in and out of your loft ladder is a fairly safe manoeuvre, there's still a very real possibility that an accident could occur.

In fact, climbing in and out of the attic can be more dangerous than you might think for the following reasons:

  • The space for the ladder is limited
  • You might have large, cumbersome items in your hands
  • Your loft ladder might be old and inadequate

One small wobble and you could find yourself flat out on the landing with the Christmas decorations strewn all around, so it's important that you choose a loft ladder that's sturdy, stable and capable of carrying an appropriate maximum weight. 

Fitted loft ladders

Although you might think it's okay to grab a ladder out of the shed on the rare occasion that you need something from the attic, investing in a fitted loft ladder is usually a far safer option.

Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer a wide range of loft ladders that comply with safety regulations, while also offering excellent stability. Choose either a wooden or an aluminium loft ladder depending on your style and needs. We even offer a variety of loft stairs which provide you with permanent loft access and boast a lovely traditional design.

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Aluminium or wood?

You might be wondering whether aluminium or wooden ladders are the safer options. Well, here's what you should consider while you're trying to choose between the two. If your loft ladder will be on display, then you might want to go for a wooden loft ladder with a charming traditional appearance. These ladders can be painted to match your decor and will offer excellent stability. We often recommend wooden loft ladders for elderly people because they're a little more robust than their aluminium counterparts.  

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If cost is more of a concern, we offer a whole range of aluminium ladders that are still very safe to use. Aluminium ladders come in a variety of styles including concertina and sliding. Of these two styles, sliding loft ladders offer slightly more stability than concertina - so if you're planning to use your loft ladder frequently you might favour this kind. That being said, our concertina loft ladders are certified to the necessary safety regulations and are sure to get you in and out of your loft without a hitch. 

Shop Aluminium Loft Ladders >

Loft ladder safety tips

Having a fitted loft ladder installed is just one part of loft ladder safety. Realistically, you can still injure yourself if you use your loft ladder incorrectly. Here are a few loft ladder safety tips to help you get in and out of the attic smoothly.

1. Maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder at all times

2. Check that there is no damage to the loft ladder or hatch before you start your climb

3. Don't carry items up the ladder that are too large or heavy

4. Ask for help if you're struggling to get something in/out of the loft

5. Don't attempt to drop from the loft hatch or slide down the loft ladder

6. Keep vulnerable people, children and pets well out of the way

7. Don't strain to put things in or take things out of the loft

8. Make sure you have sensible shoes or footwear on before you climb the ladder

 

Hopefully, this blog gives you some insight on how to choose and use a loft ladder safely. For more ladder safety tips - click here. If you have any questions about loft ladders or loft ladder safety, don't hesitate to drop us an email sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.

funny ladder stories

We preach about the safe use of ladders on a regular basis. In fact, we've got a whole collection of blogs that focus primarily on the safe use of ladders! Of course, as with every walk of life, there are some people who just love to break the rules and generally behave in a dangerous manner.

We call these people, idiots on ladders. This is not just a term we have coined for ourselves, this is a legitimate term that even has an annual competition that's run by the Ladder Association. That's right, people send photographs of dangerous ladder users in, and the most ridiculous of the bunch wins.

For now, we want to show you some of the funniest, and most dangerous ladder stories that we've come across. Don't be fooled, we aren't trying to inspire or encourage you to be one of the biggest idiots on a ladder (it's definitely not a good achievement) - but we can appreciate a funny story when we read one!

 

The Bin Ladder

Let's start with a gentleman who clearly couldn't wait to fix the vent on the outside of his home. With a ladder that was clearly a metre or two too short, he decided to balance it on top of a wheelie bin to gain the extra height.

Now, if you've ever felt the lid of a wheelie bin before, you'll know it's fairly pliable - definitely not the flat, firm surface that we'd recommend you use your ladder on. Not only that, but wheelie bins have wheels and can be easily tipped over. One accidental tilt or turn could have sent him flying! You have to laugh at this silly decision & pray that he didn't get hurt...

We'd recommend that this gentleman purchases an extension ladder that's the correct length for the job at hand, in future. We'd probably also urge him to stick to solid ground and use rubber ladder mats for added safety! Whether he'd take our advice or not, is another story.

See the Bin Ladder >

 

The Make-Shift Platform Ladder

Next up is a gentleman who was adding panelling to the outside of his home. Working from the bottom up, he realised that he would need a platform ladder if he was going to be able to do the panelling on the third floor. Rather than investing in a safe, secure and suitable platform ladder, he decided to make his own... oh dear. 

When we say he made his own, what he actually did was strap an old wooden ladder between two extension ladders leant up against the house. And no, he wasn't a few feet off the ground, he was three storeys high! The most worrying thing of all is that he no doubt made the unstable structure even taller to finish the entire house. We're not sure whether or not this project was completed without injury, but we don't imagine it ended well. 

For jobs like this that require time and equipment, professional work platforms and staging boards are the way to go. They offer excellent stability and space so you can get the job done safely. 

Take a look at the make-shift ladder >

 

Close to the Cable

Lastly, we have a gentleman who needed to access the roof of a building in order to carry out some repair work. His decision to use his van as a 'stable surface' for his ladder is one thing (what a silly idea that was), but the really concerning aspect of this story is the ominous overhead cable that he paid very little attention to. Was it a live cable? Who knows. We're not even sure if he knew! If it was, this man could have received a potentially in for a life-threatening shock. Of course, a shock like this would definitely NOT be funny, but you have to laugh at this poor guy's attempt, or you'll cry!

For scenarios like this where you are potentially going to be exposed to an electrical hazard, we would recommend choosing a fibreglass ladder or a set of fibreglass steps (as well as taking his ladder down from the top of his van). These highly non-conductive ladders are fitted with rubber feet for stability and grounding. Taking precautions around electrical hazards like this could seriously save your life.

See the close call >

 

Please remember, we would never, ever, recommend trying any of these things yourself. You should always use your ladder in a safe and proper way! If you're looking for high-quality ladders for a DIY job or for your business, we can help. 

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We know that ladders are an essential piece of equipment that every house should have. From cleaning gutters to hanging Christmas decorations, they can make dangerous household activities safer as well as easier. However, there are more odd-jobs around the house that do not involve ladders that we think you should know, well, at least someone in the house should know. 

So, without further ado, here is Ladder UK Direct's list of top DIY tips...

DIY

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People up and down the country have been robbed of their holiday abroad this year, but COVID-19 shouldn't stop you having a nice time here in the UK. There's plenty of opportunities to go out in your caravan or camper and enjoy what's left of our British summer! Whether you've got a van that you've converted yourself or a static caravan at one of our many beautiful seasides, you can't beat taking a trip to a home away from home.

One thing that people never think about prior to their holiday is whether or not they need a ladder for their caravan. We know what you're thinking... when on earth would I need a ladder in my caravan? Well, let us explain.

Handy Hop Up For Children

One of the great joys of having a caravan is taking the kids (or grandkids) away for a few days. With little legs, the youngsters might struggle to reach the sink, the light switches or the cupboards. This can be a real pain, especially if you don't want to be getting up and down every five minutes to assist them. Having a handy set of steps around can give the kids some freedom while taking some of the responsibility out of your hands.

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Some vans have a mezzanine level beds that can be pretty tricky to reach if you're 5 years old! If you don't have a permanent ladder because it will get in the way of the living space, then a moveable set of steps or a telescopic ladder that can be easily folded away might be the best option. 

Adding an Awning

Extending your living space in a caravan is fairly easy - just add an awning! Of course, if you're not quite tall enough to reach, or if you're losing mobility due to old age, then fixing your awning to the side of the caravan might be an impossible challenge. Don't worry, a folding step ladder with nice large treads will provide the stability needed to reach the awning attachments with ease. 

Something like this LFI Pro Wide Step Ladders is a great choice for caravans. It has a safety chain to keep the user secure, it has deep 80mm non-slip treads, an extra-large work platform and handy wheels so it can be moved around the caravan easily! Available in a range of heights to suit your exact needs.

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Getting on the roof

Most modern caravans come with a ladder that allows you to access the roof, but some (including self-built vans) generally don't. While getting on the roof might not be essential for you, it can be useful if you decide to add a roof rack for extra storage, or if you want to get on top of the van and stargaze while you're on a weekend away! Having a ladder that you can stow away and use when needed is very handy, particularly in caravans. We have a whole host of lightweight, compact ladders that you can choose from.

Browse All Ladders >

Hopefully, this guide to caravan ladders will enable you to make the most of your holiday this summer/autumn. As always, drop us an email if you'd like any more advice about our caravan ladders sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.

space saving staircase

Do you feel like you could be making better use of your loft space? Perhaps getting a new loft ladder is a good place to start! It can be quite difficult to choose a loft ladder, after all, there are so many different types on the market. Whether you want to organise your storage space, or you want to do a full-on loft conversion - we have a loft ladder that's perfect for you here at Ladders UK Direct! 

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ladder superstition

Very Superstitious...

Are you the kind of person who avoids stepping on the cracks? Do you get a shiver down your spine when someone puts their new shoes on a table? Do you touch wood after expressing an abnormal amount of optimism? If so, you're in the right place. Today we're talking all about the age-old superstition that walking under a ladder is bad luck. If you think it's all a load of hocus pocus, then just head back to the homepage and shop for your new ladder.

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Taking a shortcut when you're putting a ladder up against your home can lead to a serious injury. Even professional tradespeople can get it wrong sometimes! There's no harm in brushing up on your ladder set up skills to make sure you're working in a safe way at all times. So, if you need to complete a job on your home - here's how to set a ladder up safely.

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Aluminium is one of the most abundant metals we have on the earth and it's also pretty great for making ladders! It's lightweight, durable and resistant to corrosion so it's perfect for making ladders that need to be transported from one place to another. Over time, you might notice patches on your aluminium ladder that are starting to appear a dull grey colour. This is aluminium oxide, and it's totally normal!

While aluminium oxide won't cause any harm to your ladder, you might want to remove it so your aluminium ladder looks shiny and new again. Many of our customers are tradespeople who need to bring their ladders in and out of people's homes every day. A clean, well looked after aluminium ladder will look more professional and last you a lifetime.

Aluminium Ladders >   Aluminium Steps >

Bucket and cleaning cloth

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