Aluminum access hatches are designed to provide safe, easy entry from the top floor of a building to its uppermost exterior. These specially designed inserts, however, must be chosen with care to ensure a proper fit, functionality that lasts and compliance with any applicable building codes.
Aluminum access hatches are suitable for use in any situation where the fire rating of galvanized steel isn’t required by code. Aluminum access hatches are preferred when allowed because they are easier to maintain and resist corrosion and rust better than the alternatives.
When selecting aluminum access hatches, be sure to keep these tips in mind:
- Understand the size requirements – Aluminum roof access hatches are available in a diversity of sizes to fit varying needs. To make sure the right size is selected, it’s important to consider structural elements of the building, such as space provided between any beams or trusses that are necessary for maintaining the roof’s integrity. Also consider the materials that will likely need to pass through an access hatch. Since these hatches are often put into place to allow for easier equipment maintenance, this consideration can be important when selecting the size of the opening.
- Know the codes for the building – Again, aluminum access hatches make an excellent choice in many circumstances, but fire-rated materials may be required by local building codes. If there’s any doubt, check with a local building department before selecting an aluminum access hatch.
- Determine who will handle the installation – It is important to make sure access hatches are installed safely. Failing to do so may create structural issues with the roof. In addition, improper installation may compromise the watertight fit these hatches are meant to provide. It is often best to hire a professional contractor to tackle the job.
- Consider whether safety railings are needed – Many aluminum access hatch models come equipped with safety railings. This additional feature may not always be necessary, but it can cut down on the risk of slip-and-fall injuries as people enter the roof area or leave it.
Aluminum access hatches provide an excellent solution for enabling faster access to the outside. Be sure to choose the desired model with care before moving ahead with a purchase. A well-selected hatch should provide years of reliable and safe access without compromising roof integrity in the process.