Safety should be the first concern when using any type of ladder or ladder accessories. Whether it’s a small 3ft step ladder or a large 32ft extension ladder, always give it a good safety inspection before you climb on!
When it comes to ladder selection, I prefer using fiberglass ladders as they prove to be extremely sturdy, and have a long lasting life. The other nice aspect about fiberglass ladders is that they are clean unlike aluminum ladders that can transfer black oxidized aluminum residue onto hands, clothes and walls.
When purchasing a fiberglass step ladder or extension ladder, you will find three different grades to choose from: regular household, light industrial, and heavy industrial. Each ladder grade holds a certain standard for the type of use it can endure. Read each label carefully to determine which type will work best for you. If you don’t know or have any question about which ladder will be best for your work load, consult a hardware specialist.
TIP:Avoid corrosion by storing ladders in a safe, dry area out of direct sunlight.
These Ladder accessories will not only help you get the job done, but will also aid in your personal safety.
The first ladder accessory I will mention is the ladder pivot. Its job is to create an even platform for your ladder to sit on while working on stairs or any type of uneven ground. This accessory is made of strong plastic in the shape of a triangle. It is designed to be used with all standard extension ladders.
If you decide to clean windows that are second story or higher, you will want to purchase a ladder stabilizer for your extension ladder. Its job is to hold you back away from the window so that you have room to work. It also has rubber caps at the contact points of the arms which will prevent your ladder from sliding from side to side. Stabilizers are constructed out of aluminum and come in a couple different styles. One style will bolt onto the ladder and the other is a quick clip that allows you to slide it on and off with ease. I recommend going with the quick clip. You can purchase a ladder stabilizer at most hardware stores.
If you have to put an extension ladder up on a wall with out the use of a stabilizer, you will want to use ladder mitts. Ladder mitts are made of rubber and will slip over the top ends of your extension ladder. They keep the ladder from scratching the surface of the wall. In addition, it will help keep you from sliding side to side when you climb up. Ladder mitts can usually be found wherever ladders are sold.
Ladder mitts slip onto the top side rails of the ladder. The mitts are made of a non-slip, non marking rubber. The best time to use ladder mitts are, when you cannot use the ladder stabilizer and the top end of the ladder has to be leaned onto a wall.
The ladder stop is designed to keep the feet of the extension ladder from slipping out from underneath you. It works best on surfaces like hardwood floors, and smooth cement. It’s built with a rubber non-slip pad on the bottom. Simply lay it down on the floor and set the feet up against its wall.
Again, always use safety measures while using any kind of ladder or accessory!
(Some photos courtesy of J.Racenstein Co.)
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