Choosing the Right Ladder

A ladder can come in really useful for all kinds of DIY tasks around the home, from extension ladders for clearing out gutters or reaching 2nd or 3rd storey windows to step ladders for painting & decorating.

If you like to “do it yourself”, purchasing your own ladder can be a worthwhile investment that will prove invaluable to have on hand over the years for those never-ending home improvement jobs.

Here are a few pointers to consider if you’re looking at purchasing your first ladder.

1: What will be the main purpose of the ladder?

It’s likely that a ladder will come in handy in all sorts of situations. You may have an idea of what you already need but it may be worth while having a look around for other products on the market that may suit a number of needs. It might be that you decide to go for a multi purpose ladder which are exactly as it says on the tin. They are adjustable – usually have telescopic frames and can be used as an A-frame step ladder when not too much height is needed, such as when trimming a hedge or hanging curtains. It will also have the option to convert to an extension ladder, where the ability to extend the height a rung at a time is invaluable when doing jobs such as painting the exterior of a house.

One of the largest benefits is that they fold up compact for easy storage.

2: The weight of your ladder is an important consideration – many people do not consider the weight in ladders which can range fro 6kg up to as much as 70kg, the larger of which would cause 1 man quite a lot of trouble to erect by himself.

If you’re planning on moving your ladder around as you work, then the weight definitely needs to be taken into consideration.

On the other hand, if you are really serious about DIY, a professional grade ladder might be a good buy. I’d usually look for a kitemark of EN131 (trade) or BS2037 class 1 (class 1) Which are both strong and durable, and should stand up to years of use.

3: Safety is the golden rule when using any ladder or step ladder.

The 1:4 rule should be followed when setting up a ladder i.e. the space on the ground between the foot of the ladder and the wall should be a quarter of the height of the ladder.

For example, if your ladder is 8m in height, to have a safe angle of lean the bottom needs to be 2m from the wall.

When choosing a ladder, you can always check out the accessories that can be used in conjunction with ladders. Usually ladder stays, or stoppers to help prevent any movement/slippage whilst the ladder is in use.

things to remember: thousands of people still get injured every year and many killed from working at height so safety really is the key. Never use any equipment that is damaged or looks as though it could be unsafe.

4: Once you’ve found the right ladder for your needs, it’s sure to come in handy on numerous occasions and the money spent on it is soon saved by not having to hire a ladder for all those odd jobs.