Loft Hatch problems!

20 Jun 2006
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United Kingdom
Hi me again!

My current loft hatch is not on hinges and requires you to lift the board/hatch into the loft.

I just bought a loft ladder and didn't think that I would actually need to convert my hatch into one that swings down on hinges. I actually asked the guy that I bought it from if I'd have to adapt the hatch and he said no. Of course that would mean getting another ladder out to open the hatch then pull the loft ladder down which would defeat the purpose

My question is whether I could buy a loft hatch on hinges in wood (the only ones I've seen are PVU and they look quite naff in the pictures (I could be wrong) or if I could convert my existing one. The other question is if I could do this myself (I'm a 26 year old female and ok at diy stuff) or if I'd be better to get someone in to do it.

Hope someone can help!

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You can very probably convert your old hatch.

There will be some kind of wooden liner round the hole, nailed to the roof timbers. Very likely it has a piece of wooden strip nailed round the inside, that the hatch sits on. You can prise this off.

Attach the hatch to the wooden liner with any convenient pair of hinges, so it hangs down, but can be pushed up into the hole. You may need someone to help you hold it straight. Screw the hinges onto the hatch before you carry it up to the hole. Once you have got one screw in the rest will be easy. You want the hinges in the side facing you as you climb the ladder. Trial-fit the hatch in the hole before fitting the hinges as neither may be truly square. When you have got the hatch working right you can put some insulation on the upper side of the hatch. polystryrene will not shed fibres like glass will.

You will need some kind of catch - a magnetic one will be fairly easy.

Then, from the inside of the loft, re-fit the strips so that they are a close fit to the hatch to cut down draughts (you can fit a soft rubber draught-strip if you like.

Put a screw-eye on the underside of the hatch close to the catch so you can pull it open with the hooked pole you use to pull down the ladder.

You may want to repaint the hatch and liner afterwards (matt white same as the ceiling will do) and put some trim round the gap to look a bit tidier.
Thanks John,

That sounds easy enough.

One of my friends' loft catch is a kind of looped piece of plastic that you actually have to turn with the pole off the ladder. It kind of locks into place. Do you know if these are readily available (and if so from where) or would I be best with a magnetic clip like you suggested (and where do I get these?)

Thanks for your help!

I'd use 1 or two of these
but if you browse your hardware shop or DIY store you'll find lots of cupboard catches. I would prefer not to have one with moving parts as one day it will go wrong and it will be awkward for you to repair it as you won't be able to get the ladder down or reach the inside.
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You're a star John! I'm going to tackle this myself - you've made it sound so easy!

By the way, is it so easy to fit the actual ladder? I've not even taken it out of its wrapper yet.

Thanks again

other things to keep in mind and add to johnDs fantastic description :D :D ;)

somtimes the hatch is recessed in place on top off the linning for the hatch
in other words you would need to reduce the size off the hatch to opening because you havent got a hatch [door]stop tacked onto the linning
you just have the door sitting on top off the linning

and before you fit your hatch underneath make shure the hinges you use will allow the hatch to move clear of where the ladder needs to go including enough room for your toes coming through the ladder :)

also any batton or catch added wont foul the the movement off the ladder

if you find it hard to visualise how to put the hinges on the hatch try looking at a door then convert that for your hatch ;)

a magnetic catch wont be up to holding the hatch as you not only have the weight of the hatch and insulation you also have differences in air pressure pushing on the hatch

I'd just emphasise the need to have a positive locking for the hatch door. The last thing you want (well, one of the last things) is for the hatch to swing down and knock you silly. It will hurt.

A neighbour had a screw-eye in his hatch and it swung down and nearly blinded him. He was using a pole to release the door and something slipped. Use a recessed catch and make sure it clicks into place when you close it.

The last loft ladder I fitted (from Wickes) came with hinges and a catch, and instructions on how to modify the hatch.

Just make sure before you start that the hatch is actually big enough for the ladder to swing down through it - the minimum dimensions required will be in the instructions - and that there's enough height clearance in the loft for the ladder to work correctly, again this'll be in the instructions.

If the hatch does need making bigger it's not too difficult, just a bit messier. Instructions can be found here:-
Oh, obviously not allowed to post a link the ultimatehandyman website.

Never mind, I'm sure you can track it down via google if need be.
I wonder how it does that?

Would it help to type





Though I think Claire already has a suitable hole, and that site just says "If you require a hinged lid simply cut a piece of plywood the correct size and hinge it on one edge and fit a catch to hold it shut.".
Thanks for all your help guys.

I went out and bought a couple of roller catches so I'm going to give that a go. Not sure if they'll be strong enough but I'll try.

Thanks again!

This really is a brilliant site!

My loft ladder kit came with hinges and a catch, have you opened up your pack yet?

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