Extension ladders are some of the most useful things you can have if you live in a house that’s two stores or more.
There are lots of brands and promises nowadays, but almost all the ladders have one thing in common – a rope that helps it slide.
An extension ladder is constructed from two stand-alone ladders.
They are of the same size and have brackets that hold them together but allow one to slide. As a result, you get the double height and double convenience in getting those Christmas lights up on the roof.
It’s a very ingenious construction, but after years of heavy use, it’s not a surprise that the rope will wear and tear.
That’s why you should know how to replace it. The process is very easy and will take you less than an hour, even if you’re a beginner. The rope will wear, although it’s protected on the bottom by a thimble. Time affects all materials.
In this article, we’ll discuss what you’ll need for the operation and how to replace rope on extension ladder quickly and successfully.
What You Need to Replace Extension Ladder Rope
There are only two things you’ll need:
- A pre-looped ladder rope
Replacement ropes can be found in the nearest household or construction shop. There’s also a possibility to buy it online. You’ll have to wait a bit longer, but the range in online shops is usually much wider. Make sure you get a rope of the highest quality so that you don’t have to replace it again in a month. It’s about your effort and safety!
- Duct tape
To prevent the new rope from fraying, you can put some duct tape on it. This is a very useful tip that will ensure safety and prolong the life of the rope.
Of course, you need a ladder to fix, some free time (half an hour tops), and a little bit of determination. That’s it!
Step 1: Removing the Old Worn Extension Ladder Rope
First of all, you have to remove the older ladder rope. Set it on the side for a more convenient approach to the construction. Remove the old rope by simply pulling its free end until it unloops from the lowest rung of the ladder.
Step 2: Installing the New Extension Ladder Rope
Make sure the rope is pre-looped and of high quality. Such elements are often made from polypropylene. This kind of material is very tough and extremely durable but not really flexible.
If you’re more after flexibility, opt for materials like woven nylon. It’s very flexible and abrasion-resistant, which also adds to its durability.
If you’re buying at a physical shop, ask for a consultation. The specialist should know what rope material will suit your ladder best.
When you get a pre-looped ladder rope, it’s time to loop it to the bottom rung of the stable ladder. Make sure you get it secured by the thimble. It will protect the rope from excess wear.
Then, pass it through the pulley on the movable ladder and loop further to the other side. Make sure it’s secured and doesn’t get behind any rungs.
It’s also important to check whether there are knots on the rope. They won’t allow it to function properly, and you may need to do all the process all over again because of one knot.
Even ladder ropes are prone to mixing and tangling. It’s better if you have more space to lay it down without tangling.
Step 3: Secure the Rope to Avoid Premature Fraying
That’s when the duct tape comes in very handy. You can use it or anything similar to it. Just wrap the free part of the rope with a piece of tape. It will prolong the life of the rope for a very long time.
Step 4: Test the Ladder
Don’t just set the ladder aside, try to use it. There may be something to adjust or change:
- The rope may not be protected by the thimble;
- The loop may be faulty;
- There may be a knot on the rope, etc.
Put the ladder against the wall and pull the rope to see if it’s working properly. Different ropes may feel different.
A more flexible one may seem too elastic, but it’s fine. The most important thing here is to make sure you’ve installed the rope properly.
Here are some basic tips to make it easier to maintain your ladder:
- Always have a spare replacement rope handy just in case the old one wears too much without you noticing;
- Maintain your ladder every couple of months, especially if you use it a lot and expose to moisture, sunlight, and other potentially damaging factors;
- If you don’t use it much, still take time to see if everything is alright in case you’re going to need it soon;
- Don’t try to use another rope if it’s not specially manufactured for extension ladders. The force of the rope might not be enough to hold a whole ladder in place, which is dangerous;
- Choose ropes that come with pulley kits. This will make replacement much easier and faster. If there’s no kit, but the rope is very, very good, you can buy the kit separately; it’s not expensive;
- Make sure the rope you’re about to buy is of sufficient length for your ladder. Consult a specialist if there’s a problem;
- Do your best to store the ladder in a place without excess moisture and UV radiation. This may damage the metal and the rope itself, making it more fragile and prone to premature wearing;
- See if the rope is compatible with the material of your ladder. The best kind is usually the universal ropes that fit both fiberglass and metal extension ladders;
- If you’re confused as to how to install a rope on your ladder, refer to the instructions that should come with it in the package. If you can’t find any, there are a lot of tutorials online, as well as manuals on the official websites of manufacturers.
The rope and pulley system is very convenient since you don’t have to move a whole ladder by yourself to extend the construction. Just pull the rope and adjust the ladder to the needed height.
When you notice signs of wear, it’s better to buy a replacement rope in advance to avoid unwanted situations when you urgently need a ladder, but it’s not working.
The replacement won’t take much time, but it’s an essential part of your ladder maintenance. You don’t need any tools to install a new rope or remove the old one.
The pulley kit should be in the package with the rope, but if it’s not, make sure you have one.
Check on your extension ladder every now and then.