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Small Business Spotlight: "Attic Ladder Guy" constructing safer attic ladders

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Local small business owner, Jay Colt, the "Attic Ladder Guy."
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Between 1997 and 2010, there have been more than 18,000 accidents from a pull-down or folding attic stairs, according to Nearly 3,500 of those accidents were injuries to the head.

“Catastrophic failure of the ladder material is often seen in wooden ladders, probably due to the fact that attic ladders have traditionally been constructed of wood,” John L. Ryan, owner and operator of Mechanical and safety Engineering LLC in Poncha Springs, Colo. wrote on his website. “Only relatively recently have other materials such as aluminum been used for attic ladder construction.”

Aluminum attic ladders are safer than their wooden counterparts “because they are lighter, and don’t have springs anymore, but hydraulic shocks,” said Jay Colt owner of Attic Ladder Guy in Oklahoma City.

Colt began his business last June. He has been associated with the construction industry for 18 years after enrolling in a Construction Trades course at Francis Tuttle Technology Center.

“I am currently focusing all my time on my own business of installing new aluminum attic ladders and attic lifts,” Colt noted. “I also offer an easy assist pole that can be added to any ladder, which is ideal for tall ceilings.”

Colt explained that installing an attic ladder or lift usually takes about an hour from start to finish. If necessary, he can reframe the hole for a broader, bigger ladder. He added that telescoping aluminum ladders are ideal for small spaces such as closets, hallways, and bedrooms.

“When installing an Attic Lift, I normally have to cut and reframe another hole next to your existing ladder,” he said. “In some cases, we can install a lift right where your old ladder sits, but you have to have another second story access. The lifts come in two sizes, Versa Lift model 24 is 200-pound load capacity, and Versa Lift model 32 is 250-pound load capacity.”

The cost of a standard attic ladder (22-inches or 25 inches wide) is $450 including tax. The wider ladder (30 inches wide) costs $875 including tax.

The cost to install a model 24 attic lift is $2,350 with tax included, but a model 32 lift costs $800 more.

Before (left) and after (right) at a recent job site. (Photo provided) 

According to SFGate’s Home Guide website, “Manually folding ladders are sometimes a chore to operate. Because they don't condense into themselves, folding stairs also require more attic space than telescoping ladders when stored away. Telescoping ladders store and fold easily, and some designs are remote operated. Because they condense into themselves, they’re easily stored in attics where space is limited. Folding attic ladders are usually designed to unfold to an angle of about 64 degrees. This is similar to that of a ladder you might use to paint a ceiling or to access a window, and it’s steeper than the 40- to 45-degree angle of a regular staircase. Telescopic ladders are easier to climb because they extend at an angle of between 53 and 57 degrees, which is not quite as steep as folding ladders.”

Colt plans to grow with additional employees in the future as the business grows.

“My future goal is that I can install a safe ladder and lift in every home, after hearing all the bad stories from people being injured at all the home shows and fairs,” he said. “And, I want to keep getting bigger and eventually get into the home shows and Oklahoma State Fair.”

Colt said he is offering a holiday special on ladders and lifts until February, “and we are going to be installing Christmas lights for the holiday season.”

Styles of ladders and lifts can be viewed at Colt said he is available for any inquiries at 405-226-2005.

“And estimates are free in the metro area,” he added.

Ryan said it is imperative to have a professional install an attic ladder since it’s imperative to have the right size. He noted that traditional ladders are problematic due to the varying heights of installation locations. If too short, gaps will form at the hinge locations.

“This results in high concentration of stresses on the hinges and connections that hold the hinges to the ladder material.”

Ryan added that a ladder that’s too short can’t be easily be fixed with a traditional ladder design. A ladder that is cut too long will also produce gaps in some of the hinges, increasing the loading on the various elements.

“Attic ladder length is absolutely crucial to the effective functioning of the weight-supporting structure,” Ryan said. “Putting the final modification of the product in the hands of a consumer is not a valid method of accomplishing the task of making the ladder the correct length.”

To have your business or product featured in Small Business Spotlight, contact Alicia Fraire at


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Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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