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The choice of loft stairs is one of the most important considerations to take into account when planning a loft construction or conversion. There are different types of loft stairs, which fall into two broad categories: fixed stairs and pull down stairs. Fixed stairs include straight run stairs, spiral staircases, and alternating tread stairs. Pull-down stairs include folding, sliding, and disappearing stairs.
Fixed loft stairs permanently connect the loft to the lower level floor. They are well suited for lofts that have been converted into living space, such as a bedroom or home office, and are accessed on a daily basis. Of all the different loft stairs, they most closely resemble the traditional staircase and can even be covered with carpet.
There are different types of fixed stairs. Straight-run stairs are the most common type of fixed stairs, and derive their name from the fact that they are typically ascended in one straight run. Spiral loft stairs are designed in the form of a helix, and are one of the most stylish types of stairs. Alternating tread stairs are a space-saving type of loft stairs, and are designed with treads that alternate between the left and right foot.
Pull-down loft stairs, or drop down stairs, are a popular, less expensive access option for loft conversions. They are often used for lofts that are accessed infrequently, such as those that serve as storage space. These stairs are especially well-suited for areas where space is limited or at a premium. They are a retractable type of stairs, designed to be stored away in the ceiling opening when not in use.
Pull-down stairs come different styles. The most common one is folding stairs, which are constructed from hinged segments that fold up or down as needed. Other folding stairs include accordion stairs, which are hinged at either end of each individual rung, and telescoping stairs, which fold out one rung at a time. Sliding stairs are designed to slide downward along mounted rails when pulled open and up into the loft along mounted rails.
Disappearing stairs are folding or sliding loft stairs that are specially engineered to be stored out of sight. Some disappearing stairs are designed to be tucked into a ceiling recess when not in use. Other types of disappearing stairs are attached to an access hatch that closes flush with the ceiling when the stairs are pulled shut.