Falls from roofs account for an astoundingly scary one-third of all construction-related injuries. And what’s worse, it’s not all that surprising. Falling off of a roof is easier than we’d all like to admit.
And the consequences start at bumps and bruises and end in death. That’s a statistic that you don’t want to become a part of.
So when you’re making the decision on which roofing ladder to buy, you need to make sure you’re choosing wisely.
There’s nothing worse than getting hurt not because of something you did, but because the equipment you’re relying on to keep you safe fails.
To keep you safe, we’re breaking down our top seven tips for buying a roofing ladder.
Tip #1: Choose Your Style
Roofing ladders come in many different styles. From fixed position to moveable ladders, you need to decide what’s best for your needs.
Fixed ladders work well in that they’re sturdy. They offer what amounts to extra security from winds and weather.
However, they’re also fixed, as the name suggests. This means it takes more effort to move them around a job site.
Moveable ladders, however, are easy to take move around a home’s exterior. Though they’re not quite as stable as their fixed cousins.
Though for homes with difficult to reach portions of roof moveable ladders might make all the difference.
Tip #2: Choose Your Material
Roofing ladders vary in materials, with each offering certain benefits and drawbacks. While one type isn’t necessarily better than the other, it’s important to understand your choices.
Aluminum ladders are the most common ladder on the market. They’re light, dependable, and don’t rust.
Moveable ladders are often aluminum thanks to its lack of weight when compared to other materials.
Stainless steel ladders won’t rust, but they do weight much more than your average aluminum ladder.
Fixed ladders are sometimes steel thanks to its weight helping to keep them in place during windier days.
Wooden ladders aren’t commonplace and probably won’t meet many of your needs. However, they’re cheap and can make great backup ladders in a pinch.
Tip #3: Know Your Load Rating
Crucial to picking the correct ladder is knowing how much weight it can handle. You yourself probably won’t break the weight limit, but your tools could tip the scales.
The following ladder ratings correspond to specific weights:
- Type IAA ladders – 375 pounds
- Type IA ladders – 300 pounds
- Type I ladders – 250 pounds
- Type II ladders – 225 pounds
- Type III ladders – 200 pounds
Always err on the side of caution when deciding which rating you’ll need. While slightly more pricey, type A ladders could prevent a serious accident.
It can also help to high yourself with your tool belt on, or a bundle of shingles under your arm. It’s surprising how much weight we can carry without realizing.
Tip #4: Choose the Correct Height
Each job requires a different height ladder, and you might end up with more than one.
But measuring the height ladder you’ll need before buying will not only keep you safe, but also save money.
Homes vary in height, so you’ll have to estimate how tall your house is in order to choose a ladder that’s not going to come up short.
Also worth mentioning is that ladders which are too tall can be dangerous. You want the top of the ladder relatively close to the roof line.
Too much overhang above the roof line can disrupt your weight distribution and cause the ladder to fall backward.
Not what you want when you’re cleaning out the gutters.
Tip #5: Shop for Features
Roofing ladders need to connect to your home in some way in order to stay stable. While not mandatory, ridge hooks and brackets are essential to your safety.
Ridge hooks extend off the top end of the ladder and grasp over the “ridge” of your home.
Their main purpose is to secure your ladder against the roof so there’s no chance it falls backward. If you’re planning on working through any wind, you’ll appreciate a ridge hook.
Ladder brackets sell separately from the ladder itself but often are sold with ladders from the same manufacturer.
Essentially, they’re stabilizers that affix to your home and around the sides of the ladder. They offer extra protection from your ladder moving or falling while you work.
Tip #6: Look for Other Options
Before you make up your mind on a conventional roofing ladder, make sure to check out your other options.
A van ladder, for instance, can work not only for roofing but many other DIY projects.
Though they’re more expensive than traditional roofing ladders, they’re also more stable and versatile.
Depending on how many projects you have planned, a van ladder could make the best choice for your DIY needs.
Tip #7: Read the Reviews
By this point, you probably have a few different ladders picked out that you need to choose from. However, just because it looks like the perfect ladder, doesn’t mean it is.
You could end up seriously hurt from someone else’s poor craftsmanship.
Take the time to read reviews or ask other people familiar with the product you’re choosing. A simple conversation could make all the difference.
Choosing the best roofing ladder for your home DIY needs isn’t difficult, but knowing what you’re doing could save you from serious injury.
Any time you plan to work on, or around, a roof you need to know that the equipment you’re using is top notch.
Nothing’s worse than someone else’s mistake resulting in an injury to you. There’s a reason why roofing is a skilled trade.
But if you follow our guide you’ll be one step closer to making sure your next ladder purchase goes well.
Take your time shopping and make sure you know what you’re buying before making any roofing ladder decisions.
Shop smart, and your DIY projects will go smoothly for years to come. Remember, DIY tools are versatile. Taking your time now could save you time and money in the long run.
Until then, keep up the good (DIY) work!