Loft ladders and hatches can provide many benefits. Through this guide you’ll learn how to insulate a loft hatch as well as fit other key parts.

Table of contents:

What is a loft ladder?

A loft ladder is used as a point of access into a loft. In the past they were clunky, large and not very supportive. Today technology has allowed us to improve upon the design and now we can have loft ladders that are not only reliable, but safe to use. You can also have ladders that are compact to save space and replace the need for separate mechanisms (i.e. a ladder on its own). In fact there are many different types of loft ladder, including; folding, sliding, telescopic, concertina and more.

Find out more and discover loft ladders at Insulation Superstore here.

If you would like to know how to fit a loft ladder, check out this guide here.

What is a loft hatch?

Traditionally loft access might not have even been attached to the ceiling. In fact, it might have been as simple as a piece of flat wood laying over the top of the space that you would have to push up and lift off ever time you entered. Too much of a hassle and one solution that wouldn’t help if you were in a rush to get ready for the holidays!

Today, loft hatches are designed with a variety of features and adhere to latest safety standards to make access and safety that much more efficient. You can now have mechanisms in place to improve your experience when you access the loft. Choose from loft doors with selected u-values, fire protection, drop-in or hinged opening types and much more by checking out the range here at Insulation Superstore.

How to insulate a loft hatch

You can find out how to insulate your loft hatch door here.

How to fit architrave around a loft hatch

For fitting architrave around a door, check out here.

If you are fitting architrave around a loft hatch, you will need four planks of wood. Typically, these will have 45° mitres at both ends of all four pieces. This will ensure they can be fit together as smoothly as possible at 90° angles.

As with a door architrave, you need to place the architrave around the loft hatch.

How to widen a loft hatch

Depending on the type of loft ladder you wish to fit, your loft hatch opening may need expanding. Before doing so, make sure where you plan to widen the latch space doesn’t affect main supporting beams or timber lintels. Cutting through main systems can mean they can protrude into the loft space if not careful. If cutting the space is a risk or you’re unsure, contact a professional.

This (above) is the standard set up when it comes to a loft hatch system.

Note: for those installing a hatch, check with the manufacturer or an expert before enlarging.

Before enlarging the hatch, you will need to confirm the area is clear for adjustment. Using a detector, run it across the area you’re looking to cut. You will need to ensure there are no stud, pipes or wires. Doing this will also allow you to find where ceiling joists are. Mark the edge of these joists on the ceiling as this will dictate where the access space can be placed.

Once preparation is complete, time to follow these simple steps:

Step 1: measurements

For the new opening you will need to measure and mark what size you want your new opening to be. Add four inches to both sides, on top of the the four existing ceiling joists. This is done to allow space to add two timbers to either sides of the new opening, which will need to be the same size as current joists. For example, if joists are two inches, we need two either side – this is the reason for the four inches. If the result is wider, increase the gap you leave as necessary.

Note: If your new hatch goes past two joists, contact a professional to check the structural integrity is not lost when it comes to cutting more than two joists.


Step 2: Supports

Behind the lines you have marked, place a four inch x one inch timber flat in the joists. Screw the timber down, using two and a half inch screws across the timber. This will be your supporting system that can removed after the finishing step.

Step 3: Creating the wider opening

If you have already checked for cables and pipes with a detector, you can begin the cutting process. Cut the ceiling along the green lines, then cut through joists 2 and 3 only where marked – leaving the first and fourth beams in tact. This will be your wider opening.

Step 4: Using timber to form the new opening

End timbers are used to form the new opening and, as seen in the provided image below, will need to match the width and depth of the current joists. You will need to drill pilot holes into the first of each of the end timbers on the sides of the opening. These will then need to be screwed to the ends of the cut joists. Once the first timber is fixed, fix the second to the front of the first. Nail the second timber on to the first on each side of the opening – three inch wire nails preferred. When those are in place, screw the second timber through the sides – top and bottom, replicating the process done to the first timber.

Step : Finishing stage

Remove the large supporting timbers on both sides of the hatch. Line the opening with four or five by one inch planed timber where your new loft hatch is going to sit. Architrave can be used to cover the cut underside of the opening. There you have it! Your new, wider loft hatch.


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