Top Tips For Buying A Ladder For Domestic Use

Top Tips For Buying A Ladder For Domestic Use

19th February 2014

Most homeowners will need a ladder at some point.  It could be that your home has high ceilings and you could do with a ladder for changing light bulbs (rather than balancing a chair on a table underneath the light fixture – a really dangerous way of getting the job done). 

Perhaps you need a ladder for regular painting and decorating projects.  It may be that you need a ladder to get into the loft for storing some of your possessions and freeing up extra space.  What about the garden – do you need a ladder in order to carry out pruning and hedge trimming?

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.