What do you learn from this article? Yes, you will learn from this article i) different types of ladders and their uses, ii) How to use a ladder, iii) Tips to ensure ladder safety, iv) How to inspect your ladder properly before using, and finally, we learn about the helpful buying guides for ladders. And, I am sure your all curiosity about ladder will be over after reading this article carefully.
What is a Ladder?
A ladder is a set of rungs or steps that can be vertical or inclined. Ladders are outdated instruments of technology. The Spider Caves in Valencia, Spain contains a Mesolithic rock painting that is at least 8,000 years old and shows a ladder. Two people are shown in the painting climbing a ladder to a wild honeybee nest in order to collect honey. The ladder is pictured as being long and flexible, and it might be made of grass of some sort.
Actually, ladders themselves are not a tool. They cannot be used to join two pieces of wood together. They cannot be used to form metal. But many of these tasks would be impractical without a ladder.
There are many different kinds of ladders, some of which are made with particular tasks in mind. You can determine what kind of ladder you need by understanding why particular types of ladders are made in a particular way.
How to use a Ladder
➜ Choose a level surface: Make sure your ladder’s feet are all flat on the ground to prevent tilting or toppling.
➜ Pick the right distance: Position your ladder as near as you can to the work area. If you do have to bend and strain to get to the work area, you run the risk of losing your balance and falling.
➜ Pick the right ratio: When using augmentation or single ladders that need an upper support point, make absolutely sure to be using a safe ladder angle. Aim for a 75-degree tilt and a 1:4 ratio. If your ladder is 20 feet long, place it 5 feet from the support point.
➜ Consider your health: Avoid climbing a ladder if you feel sick, faint, or dizzy. If something happens to you while you’re on the ladder, you could fall and suffer severe injuries.
➜ You can avoid falling by carefully climbing ladders and by donning clean, grippy shoes. As you descend the ladder, place your body toward the stairs and hold both ladder sides with both hands.
➜ When painting or climbing a ladder, it can be tempting to reach out for far-off objects. On a ladder, however, staying in the middle of the steps is the safest position.
➜ Before moving the ladder, make sure to carefully descend. Tall extension ladders should not be moved quickly because doing so could cause them to be top-heavy. Instead, move slowly and enlist help.
Types of Ladders
Ladders are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, and they have multiple uses. You can make an informed decision and complete your task more quickly and safely if you are aware of the various types of ladders and their uses. Ladders can also be classified based on the materials they are made of.
The classifications of Ladder based on their design and application are:
- Step ladder
- Extension Ladder
- Platform Ladder
- Folding Ladder
- Attic ladder
- Telescoping Ladder
- Podium Ladder
- Trestle Ladder
- Articulated Ladder
- Straight Ladder
- Twin Ladder
- Fire Escape Ladders
- Fixed ladder
- Hook ladder
- Steps Stool
On the other hand, the classifications of Ladder based on the materials they are made of, are:
- Bamboo Ladder
The classifications are described below.
Classifications of Ladder Based on their Design and Application
1. Step ladder
A step ladder is the most popular type of ladder in the ladder family. This ladder is distinctive in that it can be used almost anywhere. This is because it is self-sufficient, which means it doesn’t require any outside assistance. As a direct consequence, this ladder can be used in the center of the room or where there is no other support.
There are two kinds of step ladders: One is the front step ladder; The echelons on one side of such a ladder are intended for climbing, while the rungs on the other side are only for support and are not intended for climbing. Another one is the twin ladder, which is discussed in point 11(below).
Make use of a stepladder with unlocked spreaders. Use the cap or top step as a step. Step ladders are typically used mostly for indoor tasks and may lack the reach and height required for outdoor projects. When the wheels are attached to the bottom of a step ladder is known as a wheeled ladder. Which helps to move this ladder easily. Read Also: Different Types of Stairs.
2. Extension Ladder
Extension ladders are used to reach great heights. Before using it, its upper end needs to rest on the support (e.g., a wall, a tree, a house, etc.). The two components of this ladder are the “base” and the “fly.” The fly ought to be able to stretch well above the bed to reach higher places, and the base should be firmly embedded in the ground.
Place your body in the middle of the ladder’s rails and climb. Avoid leaning too far to one side, as this could cause the ladder to fall. Utilizing an extension ladder requires the involvement of two people at all times. The ladder should always be supported while raised by someone.
You can fasten a pillow or other cushion to the ladder’s arms in order to protect the structure you are working on. This will stop the wall or outer layer from getting scratched.
3. Platform Ladder
A platform ladder is a front-step ladder with just a platform at the top step. Railings are typically installed all around the platform to protect you while you work. If you intend to stand on this ladder for an extended period of time, it is ideal.
Kudos to the platform ladder, your feet won’t hurt and your shins won’t bump into the following step. This ladder is suggested if you must rotate and function properly in all ways without creating any problems or if you must use both hands to complete a task.
Platform step ladders give the user a solid, secure foundation from which they can comfortably work at height. This makes them perfect for use in both trade and do-it-yourself projects around the house.
4. Folding Ladder
As the name suggests, this ladder can be folded up for simple storage when not in use. It is incredibly convenient because it is lightweight and easy to use. It is therefore common in attics and closets.
The folding ladders can be extended to reach higher places as compared to a step stool, making them different only in this aspect, from extension ladders. They are generally used in works like working in the attic, changing lightbulbs, and reaching the fan or ac vents. Consider using this ladder if you frequently climb chairs and other unsuitable objects.
A folding ladder is useful in a variety of outdoor and indoor situations like gathering flowers or fruits from trees, repairing the roof, painting the poles, and many others.
5. Attic ladder
Static extension ladders that allow access to the attic are known as attic ladders. They do collapse into smaller parts for storage, even though you can’t move them around for other purposes. In order to reach the floor at an angle, attic ladders will articulate on hinges.
They offer a speedy alternative to lugging some other ladder all around the house in order to access this area. Since this is their sole purpose, they have features in common with permanent models. If your childhood home had a storage area on the roof, it’s likely that you had an attic ladder to access it.
6. Telescoping Ladder
Telescoping ladders have sections that lock into place, making it simple to slide them in and out. They are made for all purposes because they can be used at various heights. Since you slide them in after use, they are very simple to transport and store. This telescoping ladder’s compact design and foldable nature make it easy to store and preserve around the house. Both the extension and the retraction are simple to use.
Transport and storage are made even simpler by the integrated carrying handle. Telescoping ladders offer more adaptability and flexibility. They also contribute significantly to time savings by facilitating quicker setups and adjustments. The longevity of these ladders is another advantage.
These ladders are large and have wide steps that can give you total support. They are also reasonably priced. The only drawback to these ladders is that they are expensive to maintain in the event of a malfunction.
7. Podium Ladder
Ladders are useful for more than just housework. Some are created for various uses. You’ll need a ladder with enough room to stand because some tasks may require you to stand for a considerable amount of time. The podium ladder precisely provides that. It is mostly used for short-height work.
These ladders can be fastened to the stage or podium. When making speeches and performing at events, people typically use it. Because you have to stand a lot while doing this, you need something that can support more of your weight, and comfort is also important.
These ladders have the advantages of being a very safe and stable choice, as well as being comfortable to stand on for extended periods of time. Standing on it gives you more stability because of its small size.
They also cannot lean against the wall if handled properly.
8. Trestle Ladder
Trestle Ladder is a kind of portable ladder that is also self-supporting and comes with a hinged top. This ladder’s unique feature that distinguishes it from others is its adjustable length. It consists of a vertically adjustable extension that can be extended as per height requirements for a particular work.
It has two distinct sections and both of its sections can be used simultaneously for climbing, therefore, it is also sometimes called a double front ladder. The trestle ladder can reach up to as high as 20 feet, measuring along with the side rail.
If you count its height from the top of the verticle extension, it may reach a bit more than 20 feet. This type of ladder is mostly used for light-duty work, like – indoor painting work, electric work, or in the library to obtain books from the upper selves.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) provides some precautions about using a trestle ladder is that – its vertically extended section does not extend at least “two rungs beyond the center section of the ladder”.
9. Articulated Ladder
The articulated ladder is another type of portable, foldable and multi-functional ladder. The specialty of this ladder is that it has several pairs of locking hinges that can be locked in one or more positions. The numerous joints and their capability of joining in various positions lend this ladder its unique capability of being set up in a plethora of configurations.
An articulated ladder can be used as a step ladder, single or extension ladder, with or without a standoff, a scaffold, or even as a work table. Since we can use this ladder for various purposes, it is also called a multipurpose ladder. To maintain the work capability of an articulated ladder intact, its hinges need to be lubricated occasionally, based on the frequency of work.
10. Straight Ladder
A straight ladder is just what the name implies: straight, not foldable. Straight ladders must be leaning against anything to stand because they cannot support themselves. The height of straight ladders is always fixed. These sturdy, portable ladders frequently have slip-resistant foot and rung grips that are ergonomically designed for maximum hand comfort.
For a wide range of common household tasks requiring moderate to a significant height, straight ladders are helpful. Unfortunately, a straight ladder is more difficult to store and transport than other types of ladders, as they cannot be folded. these types of ladders may be made of wood, bamboo, fiberglass, steel, or aluminum, and also several customizable designs are available for these ladders, some of which may be used as fashionable decor.
11. Twin Ladder
As the name suggests, it has two similar sides, both sides can be used for climbing at the same time. So, it can be used where two people have to do any work at the same height at the same time or, in places where work needs to be done quickly.
Twin ladders are generally made of Aluminium or fiberglass and are estimated to support heavy weights. The strongest of the common market ladders, depending on make and model can support up to 375 pounds per side.
Twin ladders are used to do small to medium-sized jobs, like – painting walls, removing old paint from walls, hanging wallpaper on the wall, doing electric repair work, and other repair & maintenance works as well.
12. Fixed Ladder
Fixed ladders, as the name suggests, are found fixed on the sides of buildings at a pitch of 60-90 degrees from the horizontal. These ladders cannot be extended or folded and they rely on support from the building. No fixed ladders are allowed to have a pitch of more than 90 degrees from horizontal. The ideal pitch for a fixed ladder is 75-90 degrees from the horizontal.
As most of the fixed ladders are ‘fixed’ outside, it is crucial to scrutinize their maintenance. In the case of a ladder of carbon-steel fiber, the corrosion factor must be kept in mind; while in the case of a wooden ladder, the rot factor should be, and the ladder is to be coated accordingly. These ladders are to be examined by professionals continually, and if there is any problem with the hinges or bolts or the steps, they should not be used.
Some of these ladders have electrical grounding protection and some have fall protection systems, in which case they are to be examined at least once a year. These types of ladders are mostly used to access the topmost roof of a building or structure and for emergency escape.
13. Fire Escape Ladders
The fire escape ladder is only used in emergencies. It is foldable and portable and usually kept near the windows. The benefit of this type of ladder is that it is sturdy, long-lasting, and flame-resistant. This ladder’s rungs are made of high-quality material. Before being made available on the market, it must be tested. As a result, you can be certain that everything is secure. Owning a fire escape ladder will cost you between $80 and $100.
14. Hook Ladder
Hook ladders are mainly used by firefighters, this ladder have a hook that can be extended to attach to a window sill or other opening portion of a similar kind. After being attached, the ladder then suspends vertically with the building for the firefighters to scale.
The extended hooks have serrations in their underside for a firm grip and safe attachments. This ladder is also known as the pompier ladder, ‘pompier’ being the French for a firefighter. These ladders were mainly developed to access buildings that cannot be accessed by other types of ladders in emergencies.
The firefighters can access any building from any enclosed place with the help of this ladder. Two men and a hook ladder can scale impressive heights by climbing floor to floor and taking the ladder to pitch to the next floor. The first design of this ladder was by the French and was an interesting one. In that design of a single beam ladder, there was only one pillar with rungs attached, projected outside.
The present version was the British modification of this ladder with two beams and a ‘gooseneck’ attached on top; the gooseneck is the hook that allows these ladders to hold on to the window sill. As mentioned earlier, hook ladders can be used to scale impressive heights by climbing from floor to floor. These ladders are classically 13 ft. long and 10 inches wide but in general use, the length varies from 10 to 16 ft. (3 to 5 meters). Read Also: Different Types of Windows.
15. Steps stool
Steps stool is another unique type of ladder. This a self-supporting structure, foldable in many cases, and mobile. This type of ladder has flat steps and a wide and flat platform on top. The side rails are present in some cases in the topmost platform, but most of the time they are open. These tools are specifically designed for a single user, for that reason the user can access and use all the flat steps as well as the top platform welL.
Usually, the height of this ladder varies from 7 to 32 inches. These stools are to be set up as close as possible to the work and the user has to lean the body close to the middle steps or top platform as that will prevent the stool from overreaching and leaning.
Classifications of Ladder based on the Materials
1. Fiberglass Ladder
Fiberglass is one of the most popular materials for making a fire-resistant and electric shockproof ladder. The good things about fiberglass ladders are that they are very strong, can support a lot of weight, and are the best available options for working in inclement weather or near power lines as they don’t conduct electricity.
But as compared to aluminum ladders, they are much bulkier, and hence, they become harder to carry. This type of ladder is more costly and is liable to crack under heavy weights. Although it has its limitations, fiberglass ladders would still be a viable choice as a non-conductive ladder.
2. Aluminum Ladder
Aluminum ladders are a great choice for homeowners looking for one ladder to accomplish all of their requirements at home. They are lightweight, thus portable, and in most cases, foldable, saving space. Aluminum also does not wear away as easily as steel does, making that long living and a great choice for household work and storage.
On the negative side, they cannot support as much weight as the fiberglass ladders do and they can not be used in all types of natural or workplace conditions as aluminum is a great conductor of both electricity and heat.
3. Steel Ladder
Steel is the typical good choice of ladder material for both industrial and household uses. In sturdiness and strength, steel can easily top fiberglass and aluminum as it has both of these admirable qualities. Steel is one of the best choices when it comes to indoor ladders. Steel ladders are more durable than other types of ladders, they are strong and can bear heavy loads.
The main problem with steel ladders is corrosion and steel is to be kept under vigilant eyes to keep it away from water. It can be damaged easily if subjected to outside weather continuously. This flipside disables steel from being used in moist weather or near the power line due to its conductive properties.
4. Wooden Ladder
Wooden ladders are the traditional ladders that are a practical option even today, besides being used in various decorative purposes nowadays. The pros of wooden ladders are that they are not felt as hot or cold to touch depending on the weather as metal ones, they are not electrically conductive and it’s completely safe to use them in electrical works, and they are also very reasonably priced compared to fiberglass or steel ladders.
The cons of these ladders, however, are that they are not as strong as the metal ladders, they can never support as much weight as their metal counterparts and they are very prone to moisture damage. They are heavier and harder to carry than aluminum and fiberglass. Another vulnerability is that they become a bit conductive if they are wet. Despite these cons, wooden ladders are great choices for household use.
5. Bamboo Ladder
Another material that is used to make ladders is bamboo. The bamboo ladder is the cheapest option for a household. Bamboo is mostly used for making the straight ladder, and the length of such ladders may vary from 5 to 20 feet. To make this ladder two long and hard bamboo are used as a rail and several smaller bamboo pieces are used as rungs. Although this type of ladder does not last long, it is a great option for low-cost households. Read Also: Advantages of Bamboo Flooring.
How to inspect your ladder properly
➜ Check your ladder, the joints, and the hinges before every use. Regardless of how often or how seldom you use them, they are to be examined before every use.
➜ Check on and change the rubber foot covers of your ladder regularly. They are your first and most effective line of defense against slipping and electric conductivity.
➜ Wash the ladder’s rungs if they become too greasy or oily. Clear the ladder steps of any visible dust to maintain traction.
➜ Check the parts and rivets, bolts and screws, spreaders, and rail connections intently from time to time, and replace and repair the parts whenever necessary.
How to ensure proper ladder safety
➜ Determine the right length— It is not advisable to entirely depend on the topmost rung to reach the object you need to work on as not only will it disturb the balance but also reduce the chances of doing your work properly.
➜ Make sure you can easily reach your desired height from the second-highest rung of a step ladder or a trestle ladder.
➜ Check for overlaps and fill in any gaps: Whenever you are using an extension ladder, make sure that the head of the ladder does not protrude more than three feet above the higher support point. Also, make sure your ladder reaches well above the roof if you are stepping on a roof from a ladder, keep no gaps as it will create the chances of your falling.
Ladder Buying guide
If you want to buy something, you need to judge its quality, although we know this. But at the same time, it is also necessary to know whether what we will buy will meet our needs or not. This rule also applies to buying a ladder. The key points to keep in mind, when buying a ladder are listed below.
Chose the right size as per your requirement. There are several types of ladders available in the market. First, ask yourself what size ladders you need for your job. Then pick a ladder that is high enough to complete the task that has your hand. For short-height work, choose a smaller ladder such as a step ladder, twin ladder, or upright stool. On the other hand, choose extension ladders and straight ladders for work at higher heights. Indeed, there is a marked increase in the risk of an accident when a person climbs a ladder higher than the labeled maximum height. Generally, a minimum height of three feet above the work area is required for an extension ladder.
The second and most important point is the type of ladder, every kind of ladder has some unique specification, and based on this they are developed.
If you are an electrician, you should buy a ladder that will be electric shockproof. In that case, you have to choose a wooden ladder or a fiberglass ladder as they are electric shockproof. If you want to paint your interior room, then you have to choose a platform ladder as they provide a platform on which you can stand during work. If you need to access your roof for any reason, then you have to choose a fixed ladder or extension ladder as they are longer than another ladder.
So, each and every ladder is made for some specific work, think about your work and buy according to it.
- 1 What is a Ladder?
- 2 How to use a Ladder
- 3 Types of Ladders
- 3.1 1. Step ladder
- 3.2 2. Extension Ladder
- 3.3 3. Platform Ladder
- 3.4 4. Folding Ladder
- 3.5 5. Attic ladder
- 3.6 6. Telescoping Ladder
- 3.7 7. Podium Ladder
- 3.8 8. Trestle Ladder
- 3.9 9. Articulated Ladder
- 3.10 10. Straight Ladder
- 3.11 11. Twin Ladder
- 3.12 12. Fixed Ladder
- 3.13 13. Fire Escape Ladders
- 3.14 14. Hook Ladder
- 3.15 15. Steps stool
- 3.16 1. Fiberglass Ladder
- 3.17 2. Aluminum Ladder
- 3.18 3. Steel Ladder
- 3.19 4. Wooden Ladder
- 3.20 5. Bamboo Ladder
- 4 How to inspect your ladder properly
- 5 How to ensure proper ladder safety
- 6 Ladder Buying guide