Which Ladder Should You Choose

There are many jobs that need to be done within and around the home but which are made much easier by using a ladder to reach those hard to get to places. For example, cleaning windows or replacing roof tiles are very difficult to accomplish without having a ladder to assist you in reaching the required height. On a smaller scale, you may find that it is useful to purchase a set of stepladders for jobs within the home, when painting ceilings, for example, or reaching items from high shelves in your kitchen cupboards.

There are two basic types of ladder available – the rigid ladder and the rope ladder. I cannot think of an occasion in the home where a rope ladder would be required and a rigid ladder would not suffice, so I am going to concentrate only on rigid ladders. Almost all rigid ladders are portable and as such, they are most commonly made of aluminum. This material is lightweight and yet sturdy, making it the ideal material for a ladder. The horizontal steps of a ladder are known as rungs, but less commonly known is the fact that the vertical sides of the ladder are called stiles. For those who use ladders regularly and have a certain level of agility, the ladder can be descended by sliding down the stiles, rather than the rungs. This is not recommended for those who are not confident in doing so though, as care must always be taken when using a ladder.

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Rigid ladders come in various styles, such as the fixed ladder – your standard ladder consisting of two stiles joined by several rungs, the extension ladder – a fixed ladder which has been divided into more than one part for easier storage and which can be extended to increase the height of the ladder, the telescopic ladder – this works on the same principle as the extension ladder but is made of pieces of tubing which slide inside one another for even more compact storage, and the stepladder. The stepladder is much smaller and is usually used for indoor jobs. This consists of a frame that opens into a V shape with steps up one side. The V formation allows it to be freestanding, whereas the other types of ladder need to be leaned against a stable surface, such as a wall before they can be ascended.

When using a rigid ladder it is important to ensure the ladder is safe before it is climbed. It is recommended that the distance from the base of the ladder to the surface it is leaned against is a quarter of the height of the ladder. If the angle is greater the ladder can lose its grip and slide down the wall, if it is smaller the top of the ladder could topple back from the wall due to the added weight of the climber on it.

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