What are Retractable Ladders?

Last Updated on May 5, 2024 by Adams

What are Retractable Ladders?

A retractable staircase unfolds to give access to little-frequented spaces such as attics. When not in use, the staircase folds up (often into the space above the ceiling) and clears the passageway. What are Retractable Ladders?

Retractable stairs are used to allow occasional access to high interior spaces. The small size and the very steep character of these stairs make them not very easy to use; this inconvenience is, however, easily compensated by the space saving made possible and the rarity of their use.

There are three main types of retractable stairs.

  1. Telescopic stairs are shaped like an accordion with an extension mechanism and are typically made from aluminum.
  2. Sliding staircases have one or more segments, usually in wood or aluminum, which slide on the floor when the staircase is open.
  3. Folding stairs are made from at least two segments, usually wood.

The choice will depend on the space available, the load capacity, the private or commercial nature of the use and, sometimes, the aesthetic appearance.

Features of Retractable Ladders:

  • The retractable ladder consists of several sections (two or three).
  • Allows you to work at a higher height in comparison with a single-section ladder or with a stepladder.
  • Can be used with an emphasis on a vertical surface or in an open space.
  • Retractable aluminum ladders can be folded out in several working positions – alpha ladder, double-sided ladder, extension ladder.
  • For the extension of the sections, metal guides are provided in the structure.
  • Retractable ladders are more compact in storage compared to 1-section ladders of the same working height.

Each retractable ladder has characteristic differences:

  • The presence of several sections.
  • Guides made of steel or aluminum.
  • Horizontal stabilizer.
  • Lashing belts, if the working position “ladder” is provided.
  • Rollers for sliding along the wall – mainly for ladders.

To find your way around and buy a retractable staircase, you should decide on the following:

  • At what maximum height the work is to be performed (for this working height, the number of ladder steps should be chosen)
  • Whether the ladder will be used only with an emphasis on a vertical surface or will you need a “step ladder” working position
  • Intensive use or semi-professional use is planned.
  • If you are looking for a ladder to climb to the loft, look at the advantages of retractable and foldable loft ladders:
  • Stationary installation of the ladder in a permanent place;
  • The ladder is completely hidden in the hatch;
  • Access to the attic is possible at any time.

It is essential to determine the working height correctly. In technical descriptions, they often indicate the height when folded (helps to understand how easy it is to store and transport the product) and unfolded (it determines the technical capabilities – to what height you will rise). Pay attention to whether the total dimensions or the height of the upper step is indicated. The distance between the steps varies, depending on the model.


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