18 Jul 2007
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United Kingdom
I'm looking for a decent set of ladders. I own a standard two-storey house and don't anticipate moving anytime soon.

I've measured to the underside of the gutter which is about 5.2m. Allowing to get to, say, 3ft above gutter height, and the additional length to account for them being at an angle, a 3m triple extension which extends to about 7m feels about right. I don't have the space to store a double ladder which will reach 7m so that's not really an option.

I accept that all ladders will flex to some degree, particularly triple ones, however ladders I've used of other peoples in the past seem to vary from ridiculously bouncy to ones that feel quite sturdy in comparison. I'm only a DIY user but I'd much rather pay a bit more for some trade or professional ladders in the interests of feeling sturdy as I find it much easier to do a decent job of what I'm working on if I feel safe!

So the question is really, what am I looking for and how do I know I'll be happy with whatever I buy?

If anyone has any specific recommendations, please let me know.
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H&S suggest ladders are placed 1 metre out for every 4 metres up. I always find that too bit steep and it really doesn't make much difference to the ladder length.

So 5.2/4 = 1.3. So Pythagoras says (5.2x5.2)+(1.3x1.3)=28.73. Square root of 28.73 = 5.36 then add the metre on to go above gutter height = 6.36 metre.

So you would need to look for a ladder 6.36 metre or greater. Then you need to consider your budget, strength and storage. As you say about flexing, a cheaper ladder may be more susceptible to flexing as the tubing is thinner because of cost. Buying the most robust set means you better have the strength to lift and erect them. And you have to consider storage as a 2 piece ladder is longer than a 3 piece ladder.

Just a case of checking your local shops and builders merchants.

You will get what you pay for but even then, if you don't use them often, you won't need the Rolls Royce of ladders.
Trade ladders rated at 150kg rating won't flex much.
I will take a look later at my ladders and see which make they are.
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I nearly bought a set of triple ladders once but noticed at the last minute that at my heaviest with a few tools in my hand, I could exceed the maximum load stated on them. In the end I bought a combination ladder that would hold me. Still a bit wobbly for my liking but once you’ve been up and down them a few times you soon get your confidence. Until the next time you have to use them.....
A big advantage of a triple ladder is that it will be easier to extend on your own. It is likely to weigh more and cost more though.

Be advised that the less bounce in the ladder the more it is likely to weigh. Some heavy duty 10m (4.4m closed) triple extension ladders weigh as much as 43kg. A 15m Lyte heavy duty weighs 71kg..

Also think about the shape of the rungs. I find D section the most comfortable under foot.

I would recommend buying one from a dedicated ladder supplier. They will carry a much wider range of ladders and will be able to advise you regarding the trade off between cost and weigh/stability. Assuming that you don't have a roof rack on your car, it will need to be delivered anyway.

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