Ladder Safety Inspires SpaceLift™ attic lift

Ladder safety inspired the SpaceLift™ attic lift.  That scary attic ladder or folding stairs is one of the biggest impediments to getting more use of your attic storage space. Rightfully so, carrying items of any size in and out of the attic is a home safety concern. Ladder safety guidelines say you must always maintain three points of contact with the ladder. See photo. That’s impossible when carrying a storage container or box. This blog offers safety tips and warnings. SpaceLift™ Products posted it now because March is ladder safety month, so named by The American Ladder Institute.

Half a million people fall from ladders annually. Most, 97 percent, of those accidents occur at home or on farms. About 400 prove fatal. Worse yet, ladder-related injuries are increasing, as much as 50 percent over the course of a 16-year study. (Statistics are from Liberty Mutual – Research Institute for Safety as quoted in Industrial Safety & Hygiene News.)

Attic Ladder Safety Concerns

McGarry and Madsen Home Inspection of Gainesville and The Villages, Florida, offers an excellent blog post, “What are the Warning Signs of a Dangerous Attic Pull-Down Ladder?” They write that, “Even if an attic ladder is correctly installed and maintained it can be dangerous if used improperly. Manufacturers always specify that you face the ladder when on it, which is the way most people go up the stairs. But trying to descend the stairs facing away from it – perhaps because you are carrying a large object – is unsafe and the cause of numerous falls. Have a second person at the base of the ladder to hand larger items down to.

“Also, most ladders are rated for a 250-pound load (total weight of you and anything you are holding). Exceeding the rated load can cause failure, typically of the treads.”

Read all 10 attic ladder safety tips on McGarry and Madsen’s blog here. It has excellent photos of some truly egregious attic ladder examples.

The good news is there are precautions you can take to reduce ladder risk, says the American Ladder Institute. It asserts, “every step matters . . . make sure you’re putting the right foot forward.” (OSHA ladder safety publications are available on the internet for work applications.)

Keep 3 Points of Contact

The National Safety Council (NSC) offers pointers to increase ladder safety at home or work. A key criteria is “Climb with Care.” Frequent use leads to complacency. “Make sure every time you step on a ladder you are mindful of the task at hand,” the NSC advises.

A very important precaution is always keeping three points of contact with the ladder or stairs at all time. Hold with two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. Ladder manufacturers, the American Ladder Institute, and others echo this.

For attic stairs that is a big challenge. Most of us are using our attic ladder or stairs to carry all sorts of items in and out of storage. Carrying anything makes it nearly impossible to have one or both hands free for climbing. Most of us are probably guilty of holding a storage container ahead of us with two hands, using only our feet to balance. Your ladder stability is seriously compromised.

These concerns extend even to those of us with permanent attic stairways, or those who use their basements for storage too. Carrying anything of substance on stairs – or ladders – is inherently risky. It can be hard to see your feet, balance the load, plus hold onto the ladder or stair railing. We’ve all been there, right?

Ladder Safety Inspired SpaceLift™ Attic Lift

Concern about attic ladder accidents inspired inventor Dave Berliner to create his unique attic elevator. It is for cargo, not people. It carries up to 200 pounds and 24+ cubic feet per trip.

A SpaceLift™ attic lift works in conjunction with your attic access ladder, pull-down stairs or permanent stairs. The SpaceLift carries the load so you need worry only about yourself going up and down the attic ladder.

It’s a simple concept elegantly executed. SpaceLift is like a mini freight elevator for your attic (or basement). It’s a computer-controlled, motorized dumbwaiter carrying storage items between your living space and your attic at three-inches-per-second. It is push button easy.

Typically installed next to, or near, your attic access ladder or stairs, the SpaceLift fits neatly between the attic floor joists. Nothing protrudes above the attic floor. The attic elevator bottom is a panel that neatly snugs up to your ceiling. Its exclusive low-profile design allows more flexibility in cargo and where you place the lift. Because it pulls evenly on all four corners, SpaceLift has no vertical height restriction. You can stack your best storage containers high to make fewer trips. You can transport something tall like a Christmas tree box.

When attic storage access is easy, convenient and safe, you naturally use it more often. Claim more living space. Gain more storage space. Reduce clutter. Our customers love their lifts.

It is truly easier to see in action than to explain with words. Visit our homepage for a video of the SpaceLift in action.


Industrial Safety & Hygiene News:

McGarry and Madsen Home Inspection

March National Ladder Safety Month

Do it yourself SpaceLift attic storage is pretty simple. It requires only basic carpentry and minor electrical skills. First, let’s answer six basic questions. One, can you frame a rectangular opening in your attic floor (aka garage ceiling)? Two, are your attic floor joists 4 to 14 inches deep? Three, is your attic floor no more than 15 feet above the home or garage floor below? Four, do you have an attic floor or attic flooring system over some part of your attic? Five, is your attic a rafter or truss system that will support weight of you and your storage items? Six, is 110 – 120VAC electrical service available to your attic? Yes? Then you are on your way to enjoying the convenience of a SpaceLift attic storage lift.

In most cases, answers are all “yes.” If you’re not confident, this job can be done by any competent handy person with basic carpentry and electrical skills. Or if you wish, hire one of our SpaceLift Products dealers and installers located across the U.S.A.

If you have any doubts about your attic construction and capacity for storage, first consult a structural engineer.

FREE Do It Yourself SpaceLift Attic Storage Resources

Your next step is to consult the SpaceLift Products Page. There you can review the installation requirements and framed opening dimensions.

Our website has numerous free do it yourself SpaceLift attic storage resources:

Download the SpaceLift Installation manual PDF

Choosing a Location for Your SpaceLift

First and foremost, your SpaceLift carries cargo only. No people allowed. Think of it as a dumbwaiter. Like your own mini freight elevator. So while you’re improving attic access for storage items, you also need access for people. Pull-down attic stairs are the most common. Sometimes, older homes have regular stairs. Or you may have a narrow staircase. A simple hatch and extension ladder will do. Once your SpaceLift attic lift is installed, you no longer need carry storage items on the ladder. Lift instead!

Unlike competitors, a SpaceLift attic lift is designed to fit neatly between attic floor joists. No part of the unit protrudes up into your attic. This makes it a lot easier to move around your attic. Our carrying platform is easy to load and unload. No bars or chains are in your way.

Even so, we recommend at least four feet ceiling clearance above the lift. No sense banging your head! In fact, installing your SpaceLift where you have the most ceiling height makes the most sense. Take advantage of one of our lift’s best features: no vertical stacking limit. When considering location, think of putting your fill size artificial Christmas tree, or pop-up tent, or ski bag upright on the lift.

Again, our Do It Yourself SpaceLift attic storage Siting Guide offers more advice.

Making the Cut

If you’re like most do it yourselfers, cutting into your home or garage ceiling can be intimidating. Relax! First, you should know our SpaceLift comes with a white cover. Second, your ceiling cut is less than the size of the cover. So it makes a neat appearance. Some customers, like Bill T. even take the time to trim the ceiling opening. Bill used some moulding for a truly finished look. Read Bill’s letter and see his do it yourself SpaceLift attic storage install.

In most cases, our recommendation is to make the cut from the attic floor side. First, you can even lay the SpaceLift box between the attic floor joists to be sure.

do it yourself SpaceLift attic install shown lifting heavy table saw
Bill T.’s Do it Yourself SpaceLift attic storage. Note the moulding around garage ceiling opening. Bill’s a real DIYer. He uses his lift to store a heavy, portable, table saw in his attic.

A Note about Basements

Far and away, most of our do it yourself SpaceLift attic storage installs are for attics. But if you use basement storage, and are tired of lugging up and down the stairs, our lift works just as well for basements. You simply install the lift in your home floor with a trap door covering.

Do it Yourself SpaceLift Attic Storage Done in a Day

Most do it yourself SpaceLift attic storage installations take half a day or less. Once the unit is physically in place, there are a few simple steps to set up operation. Our programmable lifts make for easy set up.

Then say goodbye to the old household storage hassle on your stairs or attic ladder. The low-profile SpaceLift design is ideal for moving seasonal storage and holiday decorations in and out of your attic space. Up to 24 cubic foot capacity (and 200 pounds per trip) allows you to move more stuff in less time. Consult with your contractor and organize you life. You can do it.

Convenient home storage has one impediment. Access. Attic access is perhaps the worst. Some have only a hatch. Others have those dreaded, pull down ladders. Older homes may have a staircase. Often attic stairs are narrow and twisty. Convenience is not a term that comes to mind.

Inconvenient home storage access may be why drive-up, walk-in rental storage units are popping up like mushrooms all across America. By the way, investing in your own home is always better than renting. Check out our blog and Do the Self-Storage Math. In the long run, using your own attic is cheaper.

Safety is an even greater concern. Lugging a storage container up that pull-down attic ladder is not just inconvenient. It is downright dangerous. Ladders and stairways are one of the leading causes of home injuries. Each month brings a new holiday. Every holiday is home storage season. Regardless of your age, climbing a flight of stairs with a load of storage presents a challenge. Think about it. Your risk increases significantly when you struggle to move bins and boxes on an attic ladder.

Then there are some things near impossible to lug up a ladder. For example, do you have utilities in your attic? This customer had to replace a 50 gallon hot water heater in his attic. Perhaps you want to store a valuable, but little used tool? This customer keeps his job site table saw up there.

Convenient Home Storage Secret: Lift Don’t Carry

The solution? Install a SpaceLift attic storage lift. With the press of a button those awkward bins and boxes are carried up into your attic storage space. The low-profile SpaceLift design makes it easy to load and unload. Because it pulls from all four corners, there is no impediment to storage stacking height. You can stack storage as high as your attic ceiling allows. Think full-size artificial Christmas tree. Or a 10×10 tent. Or a bag of snow skis. You can use a portable wardrobe and your attic lift to clone your closet, rotating seasonal clothes to attic storage.

Heavy lifting is an advantage over any ladder. Our lift carries up to 200 pounds per trip. Greater capacity means fewer trips.

Install a SpaceLift attic lift and see your attic in a whole new light. You can, at last, clean out your garage. Claim more living space. Reduce clutter. Or as Lisa Winkler from Alabama says, “My SpaceLift saved my back!”

Shows a portable wardrobe with seasonal clothes in and out of attic storage. Convenient home storage is looking up!
Once you install an attic lift, you find all kinds of useful applications! Here a portable wardrobe is loaded on the lift and used to swap seasonal clothing to create more closet space in the home living area.

What is an Attic Lift?

Think of it as a modern dumb waiter with smart controls. It’s a mini freight elevator for attics. The SpaceLift attic lift is electrically powered. Its computer controls offer important safety features. Perhaps the most important is obstruction detection. If the lift is blocked by anything, it stops. Some competitor lifts warn against broken storage items, even broken bones, if anything gets in the way of their lifts.

Also the SpaceLift attic lift protects itself. If you try to overload it with more than 200 pounds, it just won’t go. No damage to the motor.

We invite comparison. If you want convenient home storage, you want to get the right lift. It should be the one that is convenient to load and unload. Easy to use. Safe. And of course, cost is always a consideration.

P.S. Basements for Convenient Home Storage Too

Yes, we say convenient home storage is “looking up,” a play on words for attics. But if you use your basement for storage, there’s no reason a SpaceLift storage lift does not also work for you. It is meant to carry items between two floors in your home or garage. It installs neatly between the floor joists. If your floor joists above the basement are 7 inches deep or more, the lift can be hidden beneath a trap door. (At six inches or less, the unit protrudes above the floor. Four inch deep joists are minimum.) SpaceLift Products has lots of installation support, including free, downloadable guides, videos, even CAD files. Many are installed as DIY, do it yourself, projects.

P.P.S. Commercial Installations

This blog posts cites “convenient HOME storage.” However, SpaceLift attic lifts are robust enough for commercial use. They are installed in warehouses, stores and commercial kitchens. Like a dumbwaiter or mini freight elevator, they are perfect for bars and restaurants. Stop lugging cases of booze and kegs of beer up from the basement! Because our lift has no vertical stacking limitation, it fits a keg just fine. Jon Rocket sells model rockets and parts. Its office is in a loft. The owner calls his SpaceLift attic lift a “trade secret.”

SpaceLift attic lift commercial kitchen installation
Commercial kitchen installation. SpaceLift attic storage lift shown to right of stairs. It carries supplies up and down from storage, instead of carrying on the staircase. This is Tiny Drumsticks in New York City.