The Tradespersons Most Indispensable Tool

Has to be a ladder! Rather like a dog being a mans best friend, a job can become rather tricky without having a ladder to hand.

Of course everyone knows what a ladder is and how useful they can be in all kinds of situations, which often crop up unexpectedly.

Ladders have been around since Ancient time and were often made from vegetation woven together – quite possibly from anything they could find – of course in the UK we have moved on significantly in materials used for making ladders, many parts of the world are still making and using their own make shift ladders. Those who follow the BPS Access Solutions Facebook page will be aware of the many photos on this page which clearly show examples of ladders which would not pass even a basic safety test! We have ladders made from bamboo, pallet material and even people!

In the UK we are fortunate in that we do not have to worry about making own our ladders from scrap materials, but nevertheless, there still remains a whole myriad of ladders from which to choose. Keeping ladder safety as a separate issue (we have discussed ladder safety in depth in a previous blog) it can be a difficult decision knowing what type of ladder is most suited to a specific need and with many different materials which ladders are made from nowadays, it is easy to understand why people remain confused.

We have put together a few guidelines which we are often asked by our many customers who contact us on a daily basis seeking ladder advice.

What material should my ladder be made of?

We speak to lots of people, particularly people who enjoy carrying out DIY around their home who only occasionally need to buy a new ladder. Many of these people own a wooden ladder which they have owned for many years. They are often looking for a like for like replacement. Whilst wooden ladders are still available in a small number of outlets, we would recommend replacing a wooden ladder with an aluminium ladder. Aluminium ladders are far lighter and durable as well as being rot and corrosion resistant. They are also far cheaper than a wooden ladder and are both flame and water resistant  The other good news about aluminium ladders is that they are available to virtually every ladder type from step ladders to extension ladders.

As with all types of tools, it is important that aluminium ladders are stored correctly when not in use. Aluminium ladders do not like prolonged exposure to damp and salty conditions. Chemical exposure can also cause the aluminium to deteriorate  Always use your aluminium ladders according to the manufacturers guidelines. For example do not throw or use the ladder with excess force or roughness as this can cause the ladder to become bent or misshaped.

If you work as an electrician or near electricity, you may want to consider a fibre glass ladder as an alternative to an aluminium ladder. As you will be aware, fibre glass is an electrical insulator. Additionally fibre glass ladders are extremely tough and rugged. It is virtually impossible to bend, will not rot and does not deteriorate easily in damp conditions. Fibre glass ladders do however cost more than aluminium ladders and also weigh more.

Rope ladders are used primarily for safety purposes such as fire escape. In fact we recommend having at least 1 rope ladder in your home which you could deploy easily to the event of a house fire. This will enable you to get outside easily from an upstairs window if the downstairs were inaccessible. Rope ladders as the name suggests are often made from rope but steel and aluminium are also often used to maintain product quality and reliability over several years.

Our main ladder safety tip is to only use the ladder for the purpose intended. No matter how safe the ladder is, if it is used incorrectly you could still sustain a nasty injury. We are always happy to advice anyone on the best ladder for their needs. Always read the instructions before use and always follow safe assembly and usage guidelines.

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Ladders and Scaffold Towers are a Leading UK Distributor of LaddersLoft LaddersScaffold TowersAluminium LaddersExtension Ladders Ladder Accessories and all access equipment.