All you need to know about having a loft ladder and hatch installed including costs of materials, costs of labour and time frames.
A proper loft hatch, as opposed to a simple board, offers much greater convenience and ease of access to the loft, especially when fitted in conjunction with a loft ladder. Building a loft hatch and ladder will take a professional just a few hours, but can be done as a DIY project and there are no building regulations or approvals required - unless you are converting the loft into a living space, in which case planning permission and approval will need to be sought. Attic storage space is not only really useful, but it can even add value to your home if there is a professional loft hatch and ladder fitted for easy and safe access.
Loft hatches in older properties - if fitted at all - are small, usually just the width between two roof rafters. In houses built pre 1900's there was really no need for access to the loft space so no provision for access at all was provided. But nowadays access to the roof space is needed to allow the insulation to be fitted and access to water tanks, plus the loft space offers useful additional storage (but only for lightweight items). Even if you don't need a loft ladder for regular use, having a decent sized loft hatch makes access much easier and will allow you to store items in the loft space easily.
If you are getting a loft hatch fitted then you should also consider a loft ladder to make things easier and safer to access the loft. In addition, if the loft is not already boarded out for storage, it makes perfect sense to have this done at the same time as this will allow you to more effectively use the loft space and to store heavier items safely. Another related job that can be done cheaper at the same time as loft insulation, if you do not have 150mm of modern insulation then get it done to save energy and reduce fuel bills.
Installing a loft hatch is a straightforward project for the DIY enthusiast as long as they have decent carpentry skills. This job does not require any complicated or expensive tools, but there are some safety measures to bear in mind. The first step is to measure and enlarge the existing opening by marking off the dimensions for the new loft hatch size then placing two pieces of 2x3 inch timber along the edges of the new opening and screwing them firmly into place.
Then carefully saw your new loft opening and fit two more pieces of timber to fit into each end of the enlarged opening by screwing to all three beams to create your new loft opening. Measure the dimensions of the new loft opening then cut four pieces of 3x1 inch timber and nail them together creating a box shape slightly smaller than the opening. Attach hinges to the edges of the hatch cover and the connect the hinges to the inside of the opening. So as a DIY project it is definitely possible as long as you seek advice before cutting through any structures which are supporting the roof.
If considering adding a loft hatch and ladder as a DIY project, remember that the rafters in the roof, whether traditionally hand cut or pre-made as a unit, are specifically designed to support the weight of the roof. If you cut them, then the roof could be weakened. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, then please consult a professional rather than attempting the job yourself.
Also be careful when working in the loft as the ceiling is not designed to take your weight. If a new loft opening is required, be careful not to install it too close to the the external wall to avoid problems with headroom. In addition the loft ladder must be installed running along the joists and not across them! Many companies supply loft hatches and ladders where the installation can be completed without having in-depth carpentry or building knowledge. These products come with all the necessary mounting material and full instructions ensuring a simple, low cost installation for DIY enthusiasts.
The average cost of hiring someone to install a loft ladder and new hatch is usually around £200-£250. However, this price can vary quite a bit if you want a wooden ladder or if the hatch needs widening.
Most loft hatch specialists charge around £200 per day but you shouldn't expect the work to take much longer than a couple of hours as long as you don't require the hatch to be made larger.
Here are a few average costs for hiring a tradesman to install a loft ladder and hatch:
|Hatch Need Widening?||Ladder Material||Avg. Cost||Duration|
Individual costs for hiring a tradesman to install a loft hatch and aluminium ladder - Total Cost: £200