All About Extension Ladders: Key Points to Remember

When you’re shopping for or using extension ladders, there’s a lot to consider. Of course, it’s important to heed all relevant safety rules, but it’s equally necessary to choose the right ladder for the job. If you’ve ever tried to do this, then you know that it’s difficult because there is a myriad of models and types available today. So what do you do? Many people have found help by using the internet to research the sort of ladder they’re looking for. In addition, there are a few things you should know before you buy and begin using an extension ladder to ensure you make the right choice. This post will tell you what you need to know to make sure you choose an extension ladder that will let you use it successfully and safely.

Key Features of Extension Ladders

If you’re looking for an extension ladder, the best way to ensure you acquire one that’s right for your unique needs is to look for these important features. First, make sure that your extension ladder conforms to all relevant safety standards. In the UK, the ladder should bear a label stating its maximum safe load. So, take a minute to think about the weight that the ladder needs to support. Consider both the weight of the user, along with any tools or materials. In addition, choose a ladder of the right height. If it isn’t tall enough, then you’ll have trouble using it. Your extension ladder should have non-slip rungs for safe climbing and descending. A quality ladder should let you have this feature, which is important because the rungs should offer a secure and stable foothold. Great bonus features of quality extension ladders are box-type stiles, with horizontal stabiliser bars at the base complete with large rubberised feet.

More About Extension Ladders

Let’s take a minute to think about the materials from which an extension ladder can be made, because this is likely to affect your purchase decision. The three materials from which such a ladder can be made are timber, aluminium, and glass fibre. Each type has its own set of positive and negative features. Timber, for example, is a good choice because it tends to be less expensive. However, timber is subject to rotting and splitting, especially if you plan to store the ladder outdoors. A large timber ladder can be quite heavy as well. Aluminium is a wise choice for these types of ladder because it’s exceptionally light in weight, and will never rust, rot, or corrode. Even a large aluminium ladder is easy for a single person to handle. Do be aware, though, that aluminium will conduct an electric current, so aluminium ladders never should be used around power lines or other electrical sources. Glass fibre is another popular material for ladders, because it’s highly resistant to corrosion and will not conduct electrical current. Timber and glass fibre ladders are safe to use around electrical sources.

Further Highlights of Extension Ladders

A quality extension ladder will have rungs that are designed to prevent slipping. The rungs can be round or square-shaped. The rungs should be corrugated as well. The vertical members of a ladder are called stiles. On aluminium ladders, the stiles should have a box type construction.  An extension ladder also features extension locks that ensure that when the second or third section is deployed, it remains locked in place. The ladder should have non-slip feet that prevent the ladder from slipping when used at the correct angle.

Safety Considerations for Extension Ladders

Even the best-designed ladder can’t prevent accidents or injuries unless it’s used correctly. Most ladder accidents and injuries are caused by user error or carelessness, so it’s crucial to adhere to a set of basic safety rules. For example, if you’re not feeling well, or feel dizzy or tired, it might be best to postpone using an extension ladder until you’re better. If you’re the sort of person who has trouble maintaining their balance, then perching precariously on the narrow rungs of a ladder, even if they’re non slip might not be a wise choice for you. The same is true if you’re using legal or illegal drugs that may influence your physical ability and coordination. Ladders should never be used in stormy weather or in high wind conditions, and timber ladders should be stored indoors if possible. Ladder users should always wear clean shoes with soles that have been specifically designed to be slip-resistant. In particular, don’t wear shoes with leather soles, because they aren’t regarded as slip-resistant. It’s best to wear shoes with heels, because they provide a better foothold. It’s essential to maintain a secure handhold on an extension ladder. Although gloves might give a better grip, it’s important for them to be clean and free of grease, oil, or other substances that might cause slipping.

Final Thoughts on Extension Ladders

Although generally maintenance free, an extension ladder does need some basic maintenance. The rubber feet and ladder itself must be kept free from slippery substances, such as grease and oil. In extreme weather conditions where rain, wind, or ice might be a problem, it’s best not to use the ladder. Common sense dictates that only one person at a time should climb the ladder, unless it’s been designed for multiple users. Users never should slide down a ladder without using the rungs. In addition, it’s important not to climb a ladder more than one rung at a time. Never use a ladder for a purpose for which it’s not intended, such as a bridge between structures. Finally, don’t use a ladder as a support or structural member.

In conclusion, extension ladders are valuable items for DIYers, tradesmen, and industrial users, but only if employed correctly and safely.

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