The 2002 Remodelers’ ShowInteresting products and impressive speakers make the Indianapolis trade show well worth the tripby Kevin Ireton and Tom O’BrienInteresting products can also make a show worth the trip, and there were a few on display in Indianapolis. Here are the ones that stood out for us as we walked the floor.
An attic stair like no other
Maybe it was the bright blue color, maybe it was the unusual design, but the Rainbow Attic Stair caught my eye from across the exhibit hall. Up close, I learned that the treads are supported by a pair of scissor-like mechanisms, made of powder-coated steel. It turns out that the bright colors (yellow, orange, blue, green, red) are used to distinguish the various sizes/models. But the design isn’t just eye catching, it also makes sense. The steel construction means a load capacity of 350 lb. And the scissor mechanism makes the stair self adjusting for ceiling height, so you don’t have to trim this stair the way you do conventional attic stairs.
“The Rainbow Attic Stair may be the next best thing to a full-sized stair case.”
Other features of this stair include a 4-ft. telescoping handrail, a pair of safety handles at the top and steel flange around the opening that eliminates the need for casing. But even more appealing, the integral door is insulated with 2 in. of foam, for an R-15 rating, and there’s a double row of vinyl-bulb weather-stripping around it. The stair even comes with four adjustable hangers that make installation as simple as tightening four nuts.
Admittedly a full-sized staircase would be the safest, most comfortable access for any attic, but since that’s just not an option in most homes, the Rainbow Attic Stair may be the next best thing. It comes in three rough-opening sizes and extends from 7 ft., 4 in. to 11 ft., 6 in., depending on model. For more information, visit the manufacturers Web site at www.rainbowatticstair.com.
– Kevin Ireton
Kevin Ireton is Fine Homebuilding’s editor in chief; Tom O’Brien is an associate editor.
Getting Up to the Storage Space
That Awaits in the AtticBy Mike McClintock
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, January 2, 2003;
When you run short of storage space, you could evict the car and use the garage as a giant closet. But if your house has some sort of peaked roof, the attic is a better bet. Many attics offer voluminous storage space, even when there isn’t enough headroom for living space.
There are two main requirements for this otherwise underutilized space: construction that can support the weight of storage, and a convenient way to get things in and out.
In many older homes, attics were built with the same timbers used to frame the living spaces below. These spaces may have rough walls and plain plank floors, but they still were built with the strength to support people and furnishings, and more than enough capacity for storage.
In many newer homes, however, the attic space is designed only to support the roofing above and the drywall ceiling below. The floor was never intended to carry people or the piles of stuff they accumulate.
Planning attic access
Some houses have a small access hatch built into a closet ceiling. You can climb a stepladder and poke your head through for a look, and maybe haul yourself through as well. But it’s not a very convenient or safe route in and out, especially if you are maneuvering boxes of stuff.
There are better options: a fold-down attic stair, a one-piece stair that slides into the attic (both of these are widely available from home improvement stores), and more unusual designs, such as the Rainbow Attic Folding Stair made by SP Partners LLC in Mamaroneck, N.Y. (To locate a dealer, check the Web site at www.rainbowatticstair.com.)
This unusual scissors-action stair pulls down from a ceiling panel like other attic stairs but unfolds step by step, like an accordion. The scissors part comes in five colors that indicate the size. The stairs are made of steel, with treads rated at 350 pounds and there’s an insulation-core ceiling panel with an insulating value of R-15, a telescoping handrail along one side and hand grips at the top step.
Professional Quality Rainbow Attic Stairs
Rainbow attic stairs are on the cutting edge of the latest attic stair technology. This set of stairs makes the old pine wood models look like antiques. You won’t find a safer set of attic stairs on the market, and they’re also designed for easy installation. You’re going to pay a little more for the quality, but it’s well worth it.
Every now and then a product comes along in home improvement and becomes the industry standard. I think it’s still too soon to declare Rainbow attic stairs as such a product, but the potential is there. One should realize how hard it is to become an industry standard. In order to do so you have to convince 51 percent of all industry professionals that the old model is obsolete and this is the new way to go.
One thing is for certain, when you see the performance of the Rainbow attic stairs, there’s little about them not to like. They have a bit of an unorthodox look that stems from the innovative double steel design. The result is a beautifully rugged set of stairs that are as attractive and convenient as they are strong. Rainbow takes pride in the fact that their stairs are engineered for safety.
This is what I mean when I talk about specialized professionals who concentrate on one area of expertise. When you spend every ounce of energy working on a new and improved attic stair, you’re bound to come up with an innovation. That’s exactly what Rainbow has done and I strongly recommend that you consider their product for your attic renovation. If I were just doing my attic today, Rainbow attic stairs would be my choice.
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