Fiberglass Extension Ladders
Stronger and more durable than wood, safer and almost as light as aluminum, fiberglass almost always represents your best choice in ladder materials. It requires little or no maintenance, stores easily almost anywhere, protects you against electric shock, and lasts nearly until the end of time. Fiberglass extension ladders come in all the most popular lengths and weight ratings, and all the best brands of fiberglass extension ladders come with all the accessories you ever will imagine or need.
Outfitted with good “shoes,” the grippers at the base’s bottom, and equipped with a good pulley system on the rope slider, a fine fiberglass extension ladder should take you safely and easily above your home’s second storey. Painting the eves, doing the majority of roofing work, cleaning the gutters, or installing holiday lights, your extension ladder will support approximately half of your body above its top rung. Even if your fiberglass ladder has aluminum rungs, it will protect you from electric shock: the non-conductive side rails and the space between rungs prevent the ladder from carrying electric current. True of all ladders, the top rung and the next-to-last rung will not safely support you; extend the ladder for more reach or you risk falling sideways. If you need to reach outside the side rails, wrap one leg around the rail for extra safety.
Because fiberglass is relatively light, you should have little trouble setting-up your extension ladder. Common sense guides half the process; a little leverage drives the rest. Extend the ladder while it lays flat on the ground. Yes, you plausibly may raise the “fly” section with the ladder standing vertical or proper against the house, but it weighs more if you do it that way. Laying the ladder flat on the ground, you distribute its weight evenly along its full length. When you have the “fly” section extended, use the “shoes” as your fulcrum, and walk the ladder from horizontal to the proper angle against your work area. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom. The fiberglass side-rails should promote a safe, cool, secure grip.
Especially among professional tradesmen, fiberglass extension ladders usually stand-out as the very best choice.
But every rule has its significant exceptions. Given the nature and setting of your work, you may reconsider either your style choice or your decision about the material.
If, for example, your work requires you move horizontally more often than vertically, you may prefer a “multi-ladder,” work platform or scaffold to an extension ladder. Sandblasting or spray-painting, for example, you will get better results with scaffolding than with any type of ladder.
If you transport your ladder from site to site on your truck’s roof rack, or if you hang it from the rafters at the completion of each job, fiberglass may be too heavy for easy lifting. A lighter-weight aluminum ladder may save a great deal of strain on your back, shoulders, and arms. Similarly, if you seldom work with or near electrical current, and you frequently move your ladder, then you probably will prefer aluminum.
And if your work takes you higher than approximately twenty feet, you simply will not find a fiberglass extension ladder long enough to meet your needs. In ladders longer than twenty-five feet, fiberglass becomes impractical--too heavy and unwieldy.
For most professionals, dedicated craftsmen, and intrepid do-it-yourselfers, a fiberglass extension ladder tricked-out with all the best accessories will number among the best investments they will make. Most builders will pass their fiberglass ladders to their sons and daughters who, in turn, will pass it along to their children. And the experts at reputable hardware and home improvement stores will advise you about the best brands and styles.
- Learn how to choose the right extension ladder for the job.