You would think a simple household object like a step ladder might have limited uses. Indeed, you might only break yours out when a lightbulb needs changing, but actually people all over the UK are coming up with more and more inventive ways to use step ladders both inside, and outside, the home.

Unusual uses for ladders

Before we take a look at the five most popular uses for step ladders in the UK today, lets consider some of the less well used functions of ladders in general. With the general trend towards recycling (or upcycling as some would call it) and lots of interest in the shabby chic and vintage looks around the home, old ladders are coming in useful for a variety of ingenious purposes

Ingenious householders have turned old ladders into fantastic, useful objects such as pot hangers, bookshelves and shoe storage. In the garden ladders can be used as plant stands or as climbing walls for your clematis, open out a step ladder and use old planks across the gap, and you have yourself some very funky and functional shelving.

Hopefully you are now feeling inspired to use that rickety old ladder for something incredible around the home, so let's move on to our countdown of the 5 most popular uses for step ladders in the UK today.

 

Number 5: Wallpaper

Yes, its true, people do still wallpaper and make good use of their trusty step ladders to do so. In fact, wallpaper has seen somewhat of a revival since the days of Changing Rooms and their trademark feature walls. These days its not woodchip or floral nightmares going up, but trendy, funky designs that can really change the whole ambience of a room.

These days wallpaper is much more about making a statement that about hiding an unsightly wall, so people go for unusual and unique designs, meaning there are some really interesting pieces out there. Take, for instance, the innovative addition from German designer Ingo Maurer, which features LED lights embedded in the paper to make your walls really sparkle. At £2,640 per roll, its not within most peoples reach just yet, but as these technologies come down in price, we may see more people with twinkling walls in the future.

 

Number 4: Cleaning the gutters

Whilst step ladders might not be high enough to reach some gutters, on buildings such as bungalows or around garages and extensions, these ladders can come in very handy for clearing those autumn leaves out of your guttering. The widespread use of step ladders for reaching low hanging roofs and gutters for maintenance places this task firmly at number 4 in our count down of the most popular things to do with a step ladder.

Step ladders might not always be the best thing to use for gutter clearing however. For taller buildings and more awkward to access areas, extension ladders may be a better choice. Be aware that in order to clean the whole gutter, you will need to get down and move the ladder fairly frequently. Do not, under any circumstances, lean out from either a step ladder or extension ladder to reach further along the gutter, as you risk unbalancing the ladder and toppling to the side.

Be careful not to presume that because a step ladder has an A frame design that the ladder will not slip on an uneven surface. The feeling of stability on a this type of ladder leads many people to presume they can work on gutters alone, and this is one of the reasons so many people suffer ladder accidents falling from ladders outside the home. Have someone with you to secure the ladder at the base, and ensure your own shoes and gloves are free from debris and muck to avoid slipping off as you climb up and down.

 

Number 3: Trim their trees

Yes, number 3 in our countdown is another outdoors activity, proving once again that a good step ladder is as much of a useful commodity outside the house as it is inside. The third most popular use for a step ladder in the UK is to trim a variety of trees, bushes and other growing objects in the garden. For most people, cutting back their greenery is just a case of hacking away until the bush is even, but for some, cutting their bushes is more of an art form than just something they do our of necessity.

Green fingered Gavin Hogg from South Wales was so inspired by a wildlife documentary he was watching, he decided to pop out and trim his bushes to look like a herd of elephants. His sculpting of the bush took about two days, but the end result was really quite amazing, and certainly captured the attention of his neighbours and passers by.

Kent based artist Charlotte Molesworth is another Brit who has been getting the best use out of her step ladder in the garden. She has created a topiary wonder from wavy buxus and yew hedges, fashioning everything from birds and animals to chess pieces and mazes in the garden of her stunning home in Ben Enden.

 

Number 2: Get into the loft

Everyone’s been there. You need to get something out of the loft, but still haven’t got around to getting that loft ladder you planned on. Out comes the step ladder from the cupboard and up you go. Step ladders are far from the ideal situation when it comes to accessing a loft, as there will often be a large leap of faith to get from the top rung into the attic space. Coming back down is even more hair-raising, especially if you are trying to carry a box of Christmas decorations at the same time.

A far better solution to this problem would be to install a proper loft ladder, or in the absence of this to use a multipurpose ladder which can be used as a step ladder to remove or lift the loft hatch, and then extended up to provide safe and easy access into the loft area. Extending ladders are in some respects better than step ladders for this type of job as they will reach up into the loft space and provide safe access both up and down from the loft, but they do pose a challenge in terms of getting the loft hatch open in the first place.

 

Number 1: DIY

At the top of the list in our cutting edge countdown of popular uses for loft ladders sits the very British pastime of Do-It-Yourself. Covering a multitude of sins, DIY is a favourite hobby of many homeowners all over the UK, and sees the trusty step ladder making a regular appearance as people try to improve the function or look of their home.

The most frequently undertaken DIY task that uses a step ladder is quite simply changing a light bulb. Because step ladders have a sturdy base when opened into their A frame shape, as well as the fact most light fittings hang low enough to allow the person to stand on the third or fourth rung and lean on higher rungs for support, using a step ladder to change bulbs is a far more attractive prospect than balancing on a household chair or table to do the job.

Aside of this, many people frequently break out the step ladder to get their walls and ceilings looking shipshape. Painting, decorating and even simply cleaning is all easier and more convenient to do using a step ladder for those hard to reach places. Despite DIY retailers stocking a number of telescopic tools and gadgets that aim to put the humble stepladder out of business, the convenience and familiarity of the step ladder means it is still a number one favourite in the homes of many, and will no doubt live long and prosper no matter how technological our society becomes.