Let’s face it: Not all attic ladders are designed to fit attic openings as tiny as 20×20 inches. But it’s not a hopeless case either and most of the leading manufacturers- Louisville, Werner, Luisladders, and the like.
They have versions that install to smaller openings to help you access your untapped storage space in your studio/shed. But they don’t market them with the same vigor as those intended for standard openings. Your friend is likely to respond with a blank stare if you request him/her to recommend a sturdy attic ladder for small openings.
We’re going to look at the 3 very best models to help you find the best attic ladder for small openings for your house. Read on to find the sturdiest, most durable, and easy to use ladders we recommend for homeowners with an attic hole that’s slightly on the smaller side.
Attic ladder for small openings – our best picks
Check out the excellent attic ladders below.
All of them are purpose-built for opening less than the standard 22.5 x 54 inches and work very well. Plus, they have all been attracting raving reviews from buyers in various marketplaces.
1. Multi-Use Telescoping Ladder 12.5 FT- Lightweight Aluminum Portable
This portable multi-use ladder fits attic openings sized 20-inches by 20-inches and feels sturdy thanks to the heavy-duty aluminum frame. You can adjust it to work for heights between 3 ft. and 3” to 12 ft. and 6”.
It boasts some cool special features like slip-resistant foot grips and a safety-enhancing hydraulic lock. It also features a unique anti-pinch function (it won’t pinch your fingers).
The steps are significantly wide for more comfort. The ladder collapses smoothly into itself with a simple push of the button and will safely retract when done for easy storage.
It even comes with a quality Velcro strap to help you keep it folded along with a well-built cover for storage. Thanks to its safety-first engineering, this portable attic ladder supports up to 330 lbs.
And oh, it comes at an awesome price.
- Lightweight (made of aluminum).
- It works like a charm.
- Portable ladder- can be used for other applications.
- Wish the Velcro strap was of better quality.
2. WERNER LADDER AA1510 Attic Ladder Aluminum, 250 lbs
This wonderful attic ladder from Werner is another outstanding model for homeowners who lack enough room to fashion a hole big enough for regular attic ladders.
It’s sturdy as they come, opens and closes very easily (the added assist pole is really helpful for this), and is a breeze to install. This works in opening as small as 18 by 24-inches, which is terrific (it suits any height between 7ft. to 9.83ft).
In addition, this features non-marring feet so it won’t hurt the floor. Like the Multi-Use Ladder, we have looked at above, it’s a telescoping ladder made of aluminum, making it lightweight.
And though it’s strong, it supports a less load (up to 250 lbs. against its rival’s 330 lbs).
- Stows up in the loft, completely out of the way when not in use.
- Exceptionally lightweight and takes minimal effort to take up/down.
- Fairly solid construction.
- The ceiling panel latch is made of plastic instead of more durable metal.
3. FAKRO LST 66875 Scissor Attic Ladder
The Fakro Scissor Attic Ladder is our final recommended option for users searching for a dependable ladder to fit in tight openings.
Like the previous two models, it shows all signs of greatness. For example, you can hold on to the S-shaped strings (they function as convenient handrails) when climbing for peace of mind and the whole thing holds very well.
Sure, the frame is wooden but because it’s made of high-quality pine, the ladder feels much more sturdy. The steps are also embossed to prevent accidental slippage. It also looks sleek and is well insulated (R-Value of 5.2)!
And because of the hatch’s innovative opening mechanism, the product opens slowly. Moreover, the mechanism holds the hatch in place so it won’t slam shut.
Note that this is not for the smallest openings and needs your hole to be 22-inch x 31-inch to work. Its functional height range is between 7 ft. 2 Inches and 9 ft. 6 Inches and you can expect it to safely support as much as 300 pounds.
- Opens and closes pleasantly.
- Comes pre-framed and is fully concealed once installed in the attic.
- Outstanding design.
- Starts to make some noise over time (keeping it oiled solves the issue).
Attic ladder for small opening – what to look for when buying
If you are looking to buy an attic ladder for small opening, here is everything you need to know to find the right ladder for your home:
No matter which ladder style you choose, the most important thing is to get the measurements right. This should not be a difficult task because the description lists the exact length and width (of attic opening) a ladder will fit.
Of course, you’ll need to have measured the attic opening in your house before you go shopping. It’s worth mentioning that some units can be retrofitted to an existing opening.
b) Other important measurements
In addition, it’s important to check the specified ceiling height. It will again be easy for you to tell if it can suit your space if you first measure the stretch between the opening of your attic space and the floor directly below.
For your ladder to be useful, you, of course, must purchase a ladder that slots into the listed range and not something too long or shorter. The other ‘measurement’ you should worry about is the weight limit.
Just like other ladders, it will be suicidal to climb a ladder that cannot support your weight. And when considering the weight capacity, it’s not just your weight that matters…nah!
You should factor in the weight of the heaviest items you often haul to your attic. Also, add some little allowance (to the combined weight) for more confidence and safety.
c) Type of Ladder
Attic ladders for residential installations also differ in style and design and you need to choose an appropriate type.
Here is what you should know about the various categories:
These glide into themselves quickly thanks to sophisticated mechanisms. To extend the ladder, simply drag the bottom-most step out.
- Space saving: These collapse into several sections.
- Not very strong.
- Perhaps the easiest to use and typically very sturdy.
- Monopolizes more space than telescoping models.
Scissor-style attic ladders:
These collapse as they fold away and expand as they open.
- Glide more smoothly and needs little clearance space when extending.
- The many moving parts make them a bit heavier.
d) Construction material
You can find ladders made of steel, aluminum, or wood.
Steel is a great choice due to its unbeatable strength not to mention that it’s hardly affected by changes in moisture and temperature.
Aluminum is extremely popular because it’s lightweight, rust-resistant, strong, and more importantly, not as pricey as steel.
A wood ladder is the least durable and stable.
e) Other considerations
Safety considerations: Some manufacturers are keener on your safety and introduce sturdier handrails (for maximum support), locking latches (to ensure a safer climb), and more in their ladders.
Fire resistance: Fire accidents do occur when you least expect them and a fire-rated attic ladder is the way to go. If you’ve been searching for a great attic ladder for tight ceiling openings, pick one of the fantastic ladder models we have reviewed here.
These are specifically built for small openings and truly work well. It’s time to make proper use of that unused area!
References and Citations:
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Reducing Falls during Residential Construction: Working in Attics- https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/working-in-attics-factsheet.pdf