In the market for a ladder? It might be harder than you think to find just the right one. Here's a brief rundown on some of the types of ladders available in the UK to help you make an informed purchasing decision.
General Types of Ladders
Before you buy a ladder, be sure to do some thinking about how you plan to use it. For example, if you're planning to paint your home's exterior, you'll need a different kind of ladder from one you might use to paint your home's interior. For many tasks, it's likely you'll need the familiar rigid ladder.
Types of Rigid Ladders
Rigid ladders come in several varieties: fixed, extension, step, platform step and roof. A fixed ladder is the most basic type, comprised of two sides, called stiles, with rungs joining them at fixed intervals that are comfortably spaced for safe climbing. Fixed ladders have no moving parts.
An extension ladder consists of two interconnected ladders, one of which nests inside the other for easy storage. In use, the inner section of an extension ladder is raised, usually by an integrated rope and pulley system. The raised inner section is then locked in place.
In telescopic extension ladders, the stiles are round tubes that slide inside each other.
Step ladders consist of a short ladder and a brace the same length as the ladder that is joined via a hinge near the top. When open, a step ladder forms an inverted "V" shape. A platform step ladder has a handy platform at the top. Some step ladders have fold-down platforms near the top.
Finally, a roof ladder has a special hook at the top that allows it to be anchored to a roof.
Materials Used in Ladders
In the past, almost all ladders were made of wood. Now, aluminium ladders are preferred. Fibreglass is also a popular alternative and is a good choice for those who work around or on electrical wires. Although wood is also safe around wiring, it's less strong when compared to a fibreglass ladder and is generally more expensive.
Unless you're highly experienced, don't buy a ladder that's more than 15 feet high. 48,000 people in the UK annually require A & E (accident and emergency) treatment as a result of falls from stepladders, work platforms and other types of ladders. In fact, ladder-related injuries, including broken bones and severe trauma, have risen by over 60%. So, regardless of the type of ladder you use, be sure to follow all the manufacturer's recommended safety precautions and do not use the ladder for a purpose other than what's intended.
Ladders are great items for UK do-it-yourselfers to have. Just be sure you're using the right ladder for the job and taking adequate safety precautions.
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