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Fiberglass vs Aluminum Ladders

Fiberglass vs Aluminum LaddersWhen choosing a ladder, there are a few factors you might want to consider like material, style, and safety.

But the most important factor is safety.

The advantage ladders give us is the ability to reach heights that we wouldn’t reach on our own.

But you don’t want to sustain a head fracture because of a poorly constructed ladder.

That’s why you should not compromise on quality and safety when purchasing a ladder. Don’t try to save a couple of bucks just to get a cheap one. It’s not worth risking your life.

In this post, I shall discuss how aluminum ladders differ from fiberglass ladders. How they are similar and their uses. We shall also discuss the pros and cons of each type.

Fiberglass Ladders

These ladders are made of fiberglass, a rigid material that is extremely strong.

The material is so sturdy that it cannot bend even when exposed to heat. They are also weatherproof and they don’t conduct electricity.

They last longer than other kinds of ladders. This could be the reason they are pricey. So if you are hunting for one that can last long, a fiberglass ladder is more ideal than one made of wood or aluminum.

They are utilized in situations where heights are slightly above 2 feet, which is why they are ideal for home use, outdoor use, and office use. They are certain versions that come with extensions, so your choice depends on your needs.

Fiberglass Ladders

Most fiberglass ladders come fitted with safety shoes at the bottom to prevent slipping. And they have hinge locks that allow you to make height adjustments and lock at the desired position.

Advantages

  • They can be used as straight ladders
  • They can withstand almost any weather condition
  • They are heat tolerant
  • They are poor conductors of electricity
  • They are sturdy, rigid, and durable
  • They can be used for multiple purposes
  • They are safe

Disadvantages

  • They are difficult to carry because not lightweight
  • They are expensive

Aluminum Ladders

These ladders are durable but they don’t last as long as the fiberglass ones because aluminum is not stronger or as resilient as fiberglass. But they weigh less and are cheaper than aluminum made ladders.

Also, you can utilize these ladders as extension or straight ladders. So when you need to reach high heights, these ladders are the most suitable.

The problem with them is that they are not electrically resistive. And it would be a grievous mistake to use one near live electrical wires.

Also, they are not heat resistant. When exposed to heat, this affects their structural integrity causing them to bend. And it may not be safe to continue using a bent ladder unless you have it repaired. And only if it is not too badly damaged.

They are easy to maintain. They don’t need frequent cleaning, but this depends on how regularly you use the ladder and how dirty it becomes. And if you use it on a regular basis, you need to inspect thoroughly every once or twice a week.

Aluminum Ladders

If exposed to chemicals or fire, it’s not advisable to continue using the ladder. To be safe, get a new one and discard the old one. Don’t try to resell it for spare parts either especially if it’s exposed to chemicals.

It is also important to wear shoes that are slip-resistant or that don’t have grease or mud on them to minimize falls.

Advantages

  • They are weatherproof
  • They are sturdy and long-lasting
  • They are light in weight and easy to transport
  • They require little maintenance
  • They are affordable

Disadvantages

  • They have a low electrical resistivity
  • They are not heat resistant

Differences Between Aluminum Ladders and Fiberglass Ladders

Fiberglass ladders are made of a rigid, strong and sturdy material. And usually, they are utilized as step ladders. Although you can get an extension version, it is going to be heavy to handle alone.

They are more cumbersome than aluminum ladders. That’s why most construction sites use aluminum ladders as they are easy to move or carry around and transport.

They are electrically resistant and heat tolerant. So you don’t have to worry about getting electrocuted when working with electrical wires. And you can use a fiberglass ladder in hot environments and it won’t bend or sustain any other kind of heat damage.

Fiberglass vs Aluminum Ladders

Since fiberglass is a tougher and stronger material than aluminum, ladders made of fiberglass are dependable. They can give you more years of service than aluminum ladders.

Plus it’s important to note that they can be used in any type of environment. This is not the case with aluminum ladders because they are not  electrically resistant or heat tolerant.

Although you can get some aluminum ladders that are insulated with rubber to make them more durable and safe. They are still not as strong, long-lasting, and safe as fiberglass ladders.

So you might want to avoid  an aluminum ladder in extremely hot environments or when dealing with live wires.

Aluminum ladders weigh less and cost less than fiberglass ladders. So if you are searching for a sturdy ladder that you can use outdoors or in controlled environments that don’t cost much, an aluminum ladder would be a wise choice.

Similarities Between Fiberglass Ladders and Aluminum Ladders

Both ladders can be utilized as extension ladders and can be adjusted to varying heights. They have sturdy platforms and safety features to prevent injuries.

They are both made of durable and strong materials. And they come in varying sizes giving you a variety of choices to choose from. Also, both ladders can be used for multiple purposes.

What’s Better About Fiberglass Ladders?

Fiberglass ladders are way safer than aluminum ladders because they are electrically resistive and heat tolerant. They don’t bend when exposed to heat and they don’t conduct electricity.

This is why they are ideal for jobs that involve working with electrical wires.

Fiberglass Ladders

Via: @janaswec

Another advantage is that they are weatherproof. You can use them in any weather condition and they won’t get rusty or lose strength. You can leave it out in the sun for hours day-in-day-out and it won’t lose its strength.

But after some time, depending on heat conditions, usage, and other environmental factors, this may result in what’s known as fiber bloom. And this is a condition whereby the fibers become exposed.

When this occurs, the ladder’s structural integrity will not be compromised, but if the problem is not dealt with, then the condition will worsen in time affecting its electrical and weather properties.

Fiberglass Ladders

Via: @lynchpropaint

When it comes to usage, a fiberglass ladder is ideal for home use when you need to work on your roof or walls. Or when you need to access your attic.

They are also great for simple outdoor jobs like when you need to paint a shed, trim your fence, or when do some repairs on structures in your compound.

What’s Better About Aluminum Ladders?

Aluminum ladders can be transported around with ease because they are lightweight.  They are also sturdy and can support varying weights. And talking about weights, not all aluminum ladders support the same weight.

Some can support weights of 500 pounds and others less. So if you are planning on purchasing one that’s going to be used by more than one person, pick the one that can support weights of about 500 pounds.

An aluminum ladder can be used as a straight ladder and you can extend it to different heights with ease. But you have to lean the ladder against a wall or tree to use it.

Aluminum Ladders

Via: @ascendfab

And when you do this, you have to ensure that the ladder is firmly placed on the ground. If not, the ladder may wobble as you climb up and down or worse, fall over with you on top causing serious injury to yourself.

Who Should Get a Fiberglass Ladder and Why?

A fiberglass ladder is ideal for small jobs like fence or roof repairs, electrical wire repairs, wall painting, hedge trimming, and similar activities.

And the reason why it is ideal for small jobs it’s because it’s commonly utilized as a step ladder.

And step ladders reach only a particular height unless you get a fiberglass ladder that comes with an extension. And if you do get one, you need two people to carry and set it up as it’s extremely heavy.

Fiberglass Ladder is ideal for small jobs

Since these ladders are weatherproof, they can be used outdoors and you can leave them outside for days and they won’t lose any of the structural properties that make them waterproof and resistive to electricity and heat.

Fiberglass ladders come in varying sizes that are capable of supporting varying weights. A heavy-duty ladder can support a maximum of 375 pounds. So if you weigh more, an aluminum ladder would be a wiser choice.

Who Should Get an Aluminum Ladder and Why?

Ladders made of aluminum are ideal for jobs that require you to reach high heights. That’s why people in the industrial and construction industries use aluminum ladders

Aluminum ladders are ideal for jobs that require you to reach high heights

Also, they are lightweight. You can transport them with ease, which is great because you don’t need two people to carry one.

But they are not ideal for people who work with electrical wires as they are not resistant to electricity. They are also prone to heat damage if exposed to extreme heat.

So if you work in an environment where temperatures are extremely high, you may want to go with a different type of ladder.

Fiberglass vs Aluminum Ladders

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