How to Use an Extension Ladder

How to use an extension ladderAn extension ladder allows you to reach heights that you may not be able to reach with standard ladders.

And it has two sections.

One section is the fly section and this is the section that extends upwards.

And the second section is the base section which stays in place when you set up the ladder.

The extension section is extended using a rope or pulley. But before you extend the ladder, you need to set it up. And to do that, you simply set it against up a wall and make sure the ladder is at an angle from the ground.

One simple trick to help you know that it is at the right angle is by standing with the tips of your toes touching the base of the ladder, then stretch out your arms and see if you can grasp a rung easily.

If you have to stretch to grab a rung or if it’s too close, it means you need to adjust the angle.

Once you have set it up before you climb up the ladder ensure that it’s steady and the locking hooks are secure. And when climbing up make sure you use both of your hands.

The rule of thumb is to always maintain three points of contact when climbing up a ladder. You need to ensure that you have both your hands and one foot or both your feet and one hand on the rungs or side rails of your ladder. This keeps you and the ladder from tipping over or the base of the ladder from sliding.

Most ladders come with non-slip feet, but despite that, never set up your ladder on snow or ice or ground that has sand, grease, or oil. These surfaces cannot keep a ladder secure. In fact, they do the complete opposite.

So make sure that the ground is free of sand, grease, or oil if you are setting up the ladder on a tiled surface. Also, never set up a ladder on a slippery surface.

How to use an extension ladder

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When you set up your ladder, ensure that it is 3 feet above the worksite. And this allows you to get onto and off your worksite easily and safely.

So if you need to get something from your roof, or you need to do some repairs of your roof, make sure that the ladder extends a few feet above the roof.

What to Consider Before Setting Up an Extension Ladder

This might not be something that many ladder owners think about before setting up an extension ladder. But there are certain factors you need to consider before using an extension ladder.

Factors for using an extension ladder

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And these factors are as follow:

Type of Extension Ladder

It is important that you choose the right extension ladder for the type of job that you want to do.

If you plan on painting your walls or repairing your roof, you need a ladder that has the appropriate length when fully extended to reach these types of areas.

Type of extension ladder

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Another factor to consider is your weight. Extension ladders don’t have the same weight capacity. So depending on how much you weigh, you need to get a ladder that is designed to support your weight.

Extension ladders are categorized into 5 classes:

  • Type IAA(Special duty) – 375 pounds
  • Type IA(Special duty) – 300 pounds
  • Type I(Heavy duty) – 250 pounds
  • Type II(Medium duty) – 225 pounds
  • Type III(Light duty) – 200 pounds

When choosing the class of the extension ladder to buy, consider your total weight and the weight of your tools or materials.

Consider your total weight and the weight of your tools or materials

Via: @indproducts

Type of Job

The type of extension you choose to use is going to depend on the type of job you want to perform. If you want to paint your wall, clean your window or repair roof, depending on how high these areas are, this is going to determine what length of the ladder to buy.

Another thing is that is of great importance is the material the ladder is made from. Most extension ladders are either made of aluminum or fiberglass.

For safety purposes, avoid using an aluminum ladder near electrical wires because aluminum conducts electricity.

The Surface

Always make sure that you don’t set up your ladder on wet, greasy, icy, or any other type of slippery surface. Also, make sure that the ground is flat and level.

You always want to ensure that your ladder is extremely steady to avoid an accidental fall that can cause serious injury.

Extension Ladder Safety and Fall Protection Tips

Extension ladders are great because they allow you to gain access to areas that you are hard to access with step ladders or standard straight ladders.

But they also a risk factor that comes with extension ladders. And if you don’t take the proper safety precautions, you may seriously endanger your life.

Accidental fall from ladder

Via: @sten.step

So here are some extension ladder safety and fall protection tips that may save your life.

  • Extension ladders particularly the ones that have more than two fly sections are heavy, so get a second person to help you set it up if the ladder is long and heavy
  • Never set up an extension ladder on a slippery surface or unlevel ground
  • Make sure that your angle is positioned at the right angle before you use it
  • Always maintain three points of contact when climbing up an extension ladder
  • Make sure that the soles of your shoes are clean and not muddy before you climb up a ladder
  • Never use an extension ladder if its raining or snowing
  • Avoid climbing up an extension ladder if the rungs are greasy, oily, or muddy
  • Don’t place an aluminum ladder near power lines unless it is made of fiberglass
  • Do not leave an extended ladder unattended


It is not surprising that many homeowners, and even contractors, and other professionals that use ladders don’t take safety precautions when using extension ladders.

Although, these ladders make it easy to access areas that are too high to access with any other type of ladder. Safety precautions must be taken to avoid serious or fatal injuries.

How to use an extension ladder

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