Top Tips for Buying a Domestic Ladder

Top Tips for Buying a Domestic Ladder

13th January 2016

Recent adverse weather conditions will mean that many homeowners around the UK are facing maintenance work on the exterior of their homes.  Best make sure that the weather is okay before making a start and if you have a complex job to do, then you’ll be needing a few dry days in a row to get the work done.  Some of us will be needing to repair guttering, fascia or even roof tiles – all of which will require the use of a ladder or some type of access equipment.  Choosing the right ladder for the job is essential to ensure safety.

Whatever you reason for needing a ladder, it’s vital that you choose the correct ladder for the task at hand.  Ladders come in a variety of styles and sizes and are made from a range of materials. 

Your first step is determine the size of the ladder you need – if you’re 5 ft 6 in tall with a 12 inch vertical reach you can use the table below to find out which size stepladder you will need:

MAXIMUM HEIGHT YOU NEED TO REACH

SIZE OF LADDER NEEDED

7 ft

3 ft

8 ft

4 ft

9 ft

5 ft

10 ft

6 ft

11 ft

7 ft

12 ft

8 ft

If you need to reach higher than the heights shown in the table, it’s just a matter of carrying on the table, adding a foot each time.

If you need to buy an extension ladder, then the table below is appropriate:

MAXIMUM HEIGHT YOU NEED TO REACH

SIZE OF EXTENSION LADDER NEEDED

15 ft

16 ft

19 ft

20 ft

23 ft

24 ft

27 ft

28 ft

31 ft

32 ft

34 ft

36 ft

37 ft

40 ft

When you’ve worked out the size of ladder that you need, you’ll then need to consider the load bearing capacity of the ladder.  The load capacity should include your own weight plus the weight of materials/tools you will be carrying.  The following table can be used to determine the grade of ladder you should look for:

LOAD CAPACITY

TYPE

GRADE

TYPICAL USE

375 lbs

IAA

Commercial

General heavy duty use (step ladder only)

300 lbs

IA

Heavy duty/Industrial

Industrial, building, roofing, general contracting

250 lbs

I

Industrial

General contracting, building, maintenance work

225 lbs

II

Commercial

Light commercial, painting, cleaning and light repair work

200 lbs

III

Household

Painting, garden work

One of the most important considerations when buying a ladder is the material that the ladder has been fabricated from.  Wooden ladders are economical and do not conduct electricity (when they are clean and dry).  Aluminium ladders are strong and lightweight and have the added benefit of being corrosion resistant – however they will conduct electricity.  Fibreglass ladders are strong and do not conduct electricity.  If you intend to work with or near electricity then you should choose a fibreglass ladder as the safest option.  Although a fibreglass ladder may be the most expensive option, it will last for years to come and will represent a great investment.