How to Use an Extension Ladder

How to Buy and Use Extension Ladder

Extension ladders are of high utility not only for industrial work but also for domestic use. These ladders help you do variety of day to day tasks successfully. This ladder is vital to maintain safety while doing daily tasks. There are usually manufactured with aluminum and are available in different sections. These sections can be extended as per need of the hour. This ladder provide you greater flexibility, hence different from all other variants of ladders. We will discuss deeply how to use an extension ladder.

The most common use of this ladders is for maintenance purpose. Any repair job like air conditioner fitting, DTH setup at heights, change/removal of electrical equipment, and more. Apart from these jobs, it is considered useful for painting job as well. You can paint all your walls quite comfortably with this ladders. This ladders are not only multipurpose but also easy to install. Ladder sizes vary from model to model and should be purchased as per need. There are many variants of these ladders shown below:

  • Special Duty (375 lbs category)
  • Extra Duty (300 lbs category)
  • Heavy Duty (250 lbs category)
  • Medium Duty (225 lbs category)
  • Light Duty (200 lbs category)

Extension Ladder Sizes

You must need to understand what size of ladder do you need for our work. Let's have a idea from below chart about ladder sizes and reaches.

Extension Ladder Sizes

Ladder Height

Maximum Reach

Height to Gutter or Top Support Point



8' Max



8' to 12'



14' to 18'



17' to 21'



19' to 23'



22' to 25'



28' to 31'

Things to look for while buying an extension ladder

First step for using this wonderful product is buying it. There are various aspects that you need to ponder over while buying the ladder. Let’s have a look at important points:

  • Makes sure you have enough storage space for the ladder. You can select ladders that acquire less space when closed, if you have limited storage space in your home.
  • Ponder a lot about the usual work that you will be doing with the ladder in day to day use. Keeping the work in mind you can opt for various sizes of extension ladders.
  • Another important factor is weight. You will have to carry the ladder; heavy ones may cause any unnecessary injuries.
  • A vital factor is the load rating of this ladder. It is the inherent strength of the ladder. A measure of tensile power with you and your tools, working on the ladder. Make sure that you do not buy a substandard product that might fracture while working.
  • Consider the safety features as well like slippery feet, uneven surface material and more.
  • Ladder deflection is the waviness of the ladder while someone climbs it. It is highly recommended to check it for deflection defect as well.
  • Finally, you should check it for price and brand and make a purchase as per your budget.

How to Use an Extension Ladder

Now after purchasing the ladder, the question is how to use this ladder? The task is very simple, should be done carefully though. Any complacency may result in serious injuries. A simple guide on how to setup an extension ladder is described as:

1. Ladder angle

You must set up the ladder at correct angle depending on your height. Stand and take your feet to the ladder’s bottom part, then stretch your arms. Your hands should reach ladder’s rung. This is the most important step as all your work depends on how ladder has been set up. It might happen that you start feeling ladder sliding to one side, you must get down immediately and set it up from scratch. Make sure that ladder is not too steep otherwise it will slip backwards and it may also bend if not setup correctly.

2. Installing a cleat

Cleat is installed to protect ladder from slipping on soft surfaces. If you are using ladder on soft or uneven surfaces, there are high chances that it might slip backwards. To prevent this, you can simply put a cleat such that it gives support to the feet of the ladders. A (2 x 4) cleat is enough for the same. If you find it slipping even after putting cleat, you can simply tie the lowest rung of the ladder to rigid pole or any other structure. This will ensure that ladder doesn’t goes backwards while you work on it.

3. Ladder Stabilizers

Now your base is perfectly stable. Half your job is done up to this point but you must fully secure your operations. You should ensure that top part of the ladder is resting perfectly. It should not slide or wave while doing operations. The ladder should be kept vertical with top being stable. Your operations will halt if it slides in either direction. The best way to ensure its stability is installation of ladder stabilizers. One of the common used stabilizer is rubber pads. These rubber pads grip any surface and prevents ladder’s movement in either direction. Stabilizers also distribute load so that ladder does not takes it all. It can be easily purchased with your ladder, it is highly recommended to use these in all your works.

4. Overhung Work

The ladder is used for many works that involve overhung operations especially at the roof of your home. In this case, the ladder might move sideways while working. Therefore, it is recommended to tie the ladder with any support available there. Ties are used for the same purpose. These ties are specifically designed to fasten screws and are easy to set up. It ensures that you are safe while working on it. It is easily available in the market. You will need 3/8 inches’ eye screws, hammer and 3 inches’ deck screws for doing so.

5. Trench the bottom

You can dig a trench if ladder is to be used on irregular surfaces. This will ensure that ladder is not moving sideways. You will be required to do this only if your ladder’s feet are not levelling with the surface. Take a claw hammer, start digging on side of high foot of the ladder. Remember to flip the shoes up before digging. The trench will tighten the foot’s grip into the surface and your ladder won’t move.

6. How to extend an extension ladder?

While setting the ladder, make sure there are 2 people for extending the ladder. Follow these steps:

  • Firstly, lay down the ladder on the surface.
  • One person should hold the top rung and heighten the top over his head, and pull out the extension part simultaneously.
  • Now holding each rung, walk towards the bottom part of the ladder.
  • Hold the middle rung.
  • Finally, stand it up wherever you want to work.

So now we know how to use an Extension ladder. If you are interested to know about some best extension ladders in 2019, you can Check Here Read their features read about them carefully and compare them to understand which one will be best for you. Hope you will find top one for you.

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert is a specialist in avionics technology. He has been involved in avionics technology since 1993. He spent more than 15 years writing about high tech gadgets. Numerous publications have interviewed him. He is very passionate about sharing his knowledge.

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