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There's no set timeframe for replacing your ladders; some can last for over a decade if they're well looked after and stored properly while others, subject to damage and improper storage, may fail much sooner. This means that you need to keep a careful eye on your ladders and look out for the signs that they need replacing.
When it comes to investing in new ladders, things are a little simpler. You may find that your existing set of ladders isn't up to some jobs, this could possibly be because of height, or it could be the case that customers are asking for more specialised jobs and these are jobs that require different specification than your usual equipment. You may also be planning to grow your business, or increase the amount of DIY you do around the home, and this often means investing in more equipment so you can do the job safely, and to a professional standard.
If you're adding services to your portfolio, perhaps engaging the services of an electrician or a plasterer, you'll need to provide the right equipment so a fibreglass ladder or painter’s trestle would be needed for these new contractors. You may also need to equip them with the basic ladders they might need.
Investing in new ladders to expand your business, or to be able to do more DIY around the home is usually done when there is a specific need for a type of ladder that you don't already own, but the case of replacing a ladder that you already have, like for like, is usually the result of the ladder you have being unsafe. Ideally, you should be inspecting the ladder for any damage before it is put away, this will ensure you notice any damage early and replace it before it breaks and causes an accident.
One important point to make about ladder inspection is that you should note any instances of the ladder falling onto the ground. If a ladder falls off a roof rack, slides down a wall or is otherwise dropped then the ladder will sustain small dents that, over time, will lead to weaknesses and eventually breakages. If the ladder has been transported regularly over bumpy roads and has not padded against the roof rack or ladder brackets, then the same type of damage can occur. For this reason, always store your ladders properly and pad them against roof rack bars to stop any accidental damage.
The older the ladder is, the more likely it is to need replacing, but how the ladder has been treated can make a huge difference. A ladder could be ten years old, but used twice a year and stored properly at all other times and still be in better condition than a ladder that's a year old but which has been dropped, bent and poorly looked after.
Check the rungs and stiles for obvious damage; also ensure that you pay close attention to the joints between the rungs and stiles as this is often where breakages occur. Clear signs of damage mean that you should definitely not use that ladder again.
If you need to replace a ladder you can also look at investing in something that will do more for you – upgrading your ladders rather than getting an exact replacement. You can rarely have too much height, so you might consider adding a few feet to the length of your longest ladder, or replacing a stepladder with a multi-purpose ladder that works as a stepladder, but can also be used as a straight ladder and a stairway ladder. When you start really thinking about it, you could save money by buying a good quality, multi-position ladder that could replace two or three ladders instead of just one. We have a wide range of multi-purpose ladders to suit every need.