A ladder makes tricky maintenance tasks around the home easier to do yourself. It’s also a helpful tool for hanging pictures, mounting shelves or even changing a light globe.
Taking the time to set up your ladder correctly is crucial to keeping safe while completing any task. This guide shows you how to select the right type for the job and includes tips for safe ladder use.
Whether you’re buying a new ladder or grabbing one from the shed to put to use, choosing the right ladder for the job is a safety must. Here are the main ladder types:
Step ladders fold out and lock open and are also known as A-frame ladders. They may have steps on one or both sides and are only intended for use when open and locked – not as leaning ladders resting against a surface. Step ladders are often used indoors for tasks such as hanging pictures, getting to high shelves and cutting-in when painting.
At first glance, multi-purpose ladders look like a regular double-sided step ladder but they can be configured in different ways. These ladders can be locked open as steps or folded and locked out as a longer leaning ladder. Some are also intended for use folded up as a leaning ladder. These ladders have similar uses to a step ladder, but when folded out to a straight ladder they’re ideal for accessing the attic. As an A-frame, they can be used for single-storey gutter cleaning or light pruning. When folded out, they’re great for accessing a single-storey roof.
Extension ladders consist of two straight ladders joined with a runner-and-pulley system or a hinge mechanism. Make sure that the locking mechanism has been activated before climbing the ladder. These ladders can be extended to nearly double their length and the reach is expressed as two lengths – the unextended length and the maximum extended length. For example, 2.4/4.1mt means that the unextended length is 2.4 metres while the ladder in full extension is 4.1 metres long. Two-stage extension ladders can be set at any ladder rung height between this minimum and maximum extension. A-frame extension ladders operate at only two lengths – the unextended length and the unfolded full-extension length. Extension ladders are often used outside for reaching higher areas. They’re ideal for accessing roofs of various heights, hanging lights, painting and other maintenance or tree work.
Platform step ladders have a bulkier structure and feature a large platform as the top step with a support rail at hip height. If you need a greater range of heights, there are adjustable height platform ladders available. These ladders are known for being the safest. You can keep more tools or materials close due to the platform size and the top rail for hanging. Don’t exceed the maximum load rating or put anything on the platform that you may trip over.
These safety checks don’t take long but could save you from a serious accident.
Take a moment before you start climbing to make sure your ladder is set up correctly.
Follow these simple guidelines while using a ladder for any task.
For more safety tips, check out How to stay safe during D.I.Y. projects and let us know if we can help with ideas or advice for your next project. You might also find these resources helpful:
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