Hiding / Retracting Basement Stairs

Here’s a neat idea for a hiding or coverable basement/crawlspace hatch/floor door/trapdoor. (It might also be called retractable stairs or a hidden stairway). This kind of stairway gives you extra usable floor space when the stairs are folded down, and the stairs become a railing when they are open / up.

The stairs are power-assist using gas shocks like from a liftgate in a van/SUV/station wagon, or counterweights / springs.

(I am keeping this page as a reference in case people out there searching need the links.)

The basic idea is to have the floor on a piano hinge,  and open up to form a railing which prevents people from falling down the stairwell. (Two walls protect the other two sides of the stairwell. It seems like many manufacturers and designs ignore this obvious need!

The hatch needs to allow a code-compliant stairwell into a 5’8″-6′ crawlspace (3/4 basement.)

The biggest issues are what type of gas shocks to use to decrease the force required to open the hatch, and what type of materials to use for cost efficiency.

The two very best examples I have seen for basement access are here:
http://www.meia.co.uk/Floorhatch.htm – beautiful
http://wobuilt.blogspot.com/2010/06/another-addition-renovation-we-are.html

Here are some more amazing cellar / basement access ideas!
http://www.home-designing.com/2009/09/trap-door-wine-cellar-design
more http://www.spiralcellars.co.uk/trap-doors/

Some videos:

Here are some more brain-candy ideas:

Commercial; not really what I am looking for:

Gas Shocks to use:

Pulls (Handles):
http://www.leevalley.com/us/hardware/page.aspx?c=&p=56237&cat=3,41427,41377

Good discussions:

Any tips or suggestions?

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