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Want to buy a ladder - questions
Old 02-02-2012, 02:23 PM   #1
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Want to buy a ladder - questions

OK, I am in need of an extension ladder to get to the second floor gutters... last year I paid someone to clean them out, but that cost me over $100...

I have measured and think I can use a 20ft. ladder, but would like to get at least a 24ft.

My questions... Aluminum or fiberglass? What is the weight difference between the two...

Is it better to go to 26 and have 'extra'?

How about rating? I am right at 200lbs.

Any other suggestions
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:26 PM   #2
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I hate to think of you climbing that high on a ladder and possibly falling off and breaking bones. These days, with our health care crisis in the U.S., just one bad fall could cost much more than $100/year for the rest of your life.

(I have gutter guards of some kind.)
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:56 PM   #3
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Aluminum will be much lighter. Fiberglass ladders are for working around electrical equipment so you don't get fried if they come in contact with electrical lines or equipment. Obviously a fiberglass ladder will work for anything but it will be heavier, more expensive, and may not be necessary.

When I had to buy an extension ladder a few years ago I bought the longest one I could find. The prices didn't go up very quickly and I figured I'd be prepared for the future in case I ever needed a taller one. Now I just have an unwieldy ladder that I rarely have to extend beyond a few rungs. I think it's only a 20 footer but I live in a one story house.

Take that experience as you will. But if I had to do it over again I'd buy the shortest I could get away with.

You might also consider renting. Around where I live there are industrial rental places that will rent you a big ladder for around $10 a day. That's not bad for a 1-2 day job but of course you'd need to do it every time.
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:56 PM   #4
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I hate to think of you climbing that high on a ladder and possibly falling off and breaking bones. These days, with our health care crisis in the U.S., just one bad fall could cost much more than $100/year for the rest of your life.

(I have gutter guards of some kind.)

Yea, that is what my wife is saying... I have to go back to the thread with the gutter guards... the problem here is the amount of water and pine needles..

I put a short section to test it out of the full cover with the holes on the edge where the water is supposed to come back into the gutter and the leaves go off.... well, the first hard rain and LOTS of water was flowing right off... and my back patio had a river through it...

I am looking at all options..
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:58 PM   #5
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Taking a quick look at Home Despot , I found a 24' aluminum ladder weights 39 pounds and a fiberglass 59 pounds. The aluminum has a weight rating of 225 (Type II Duty Rating )and the fiberglass 300 (Type IA Duty Rating), so the two I saw weren't in the same rating class.

I suspect the aluminum type will be lighter even for the same weight class.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:02 PM   #6
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Aluminum will be much lighter. Fiberglass ladders are for working around electrical equipment so you don't get fried if they come in contact with electrical lines or equipment. Obviously a fiberglass ladder will work for anything but it will be heavier, more expensive, and may not be necessary.

When I had to buy an extension ladder a few years ago I bought the longest one I could find. The prices didn't go up very quickly and I figured I'd be prepared for the future in case I ever needed a taller one. Now I just have an unwieldy ladder that I rarely have to extend beyond a few rungs. I think it's only a 20 footer but I live in a one story house.

Take that experience as you will. But if I had to do it over again I'd buy the shortest I could get away with.

You might also consider renting. Around where I live there are industrial rental places that will rent you a big ladder for around $10 a day. That's not bad for a 1-2 day job but of course you'd need to do it every time.

Thanks for the rental idea... they do have them around here.. if I can get the gutter guard worked out that might be the way to go...
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:06 PM   #7
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Customers of mine made fiberglass ladders. They're great but more expensive than alum and not necessary for residential, really meant for high use like contractors and industrial or when electrical hazards are present. You should have 24 foot minimum for a 2-story, it needs to be placed at a 75 degree angle and extend at least 3 feet above the contact point. Odds are the ground around your house won't be perfectly level, IOW the base will be at low spots in some places.

I very carefully cleaned my 2-story gutters last Fall with DW holding the base from sliding. It's very dangerous, and I may not do it again. An employee of mine fell off his 1-story roof onto his driveway and broke two vertebrae. His recovery took almost 8 months, and he retired much earlier than he'd planned about a year later. With his lack of mobility, he lost most of his friends, and passed away at just over 65 and only 9 years retired. By all accounts, his last years were miserable.

Not sure it's worth it...

Keller Ladder - How to Choose
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:17 PM   #8
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You may want to get a nice combination ladder, i.e, Little Giant, Cosco, Werner or Keller. These can be broken down and easier to transport and can be used like a traditional ladder too. I have an old fashioned 30 ft aluminum ladder and a Cosco multi purpose 17ft unit. I rarely used my 6ft Werner step ladder now. Here's a 22ft unit on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...TF8&s=hi&psc=1

As to using gutter guards, no matter what kind, you still need to get up there to clean out the accumulation of dirt buildup. Neighbor has those expensive ones that replace traditional gutters, he wouldn't do it again. I still get up on my roof to clean out the gutters, something always gets in there, especially dirt buildup.

If all you want is an old extension ladder, check out Craigslist, I just looked in my area and someone is asking $100 for a 32' aluminum extension ladder.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:29 PM   #9
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When I was young and foolish, the gutters got clogged on our 2 story colonial which was our first house and we were undergoing days of rain at the time and my basement was flooding from the spillover occuring near a downspout. The downspout also was right next to where the power line connected to the house on the second story. The ground was wet and uneven and I went up on that ladder in the pouring rain and wind to clear it. My legs were shaking and it even made me sweat for fear of hitting that powerline. I will never do anything like that again.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:30 PM   #10
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Interestingly OSHA has rules requiring fall protection if you are above 6 foot off the ground, however most roofers on residential projects ignore them. They include a safety harness etc. So even pros can fall.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:32 PM   #11
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I hate to think of you climbing that high on a ladder and possibly falling off and breaking bones. These days, with our health care crisis in the U.S., just one bad fall could cost much more than $100/year for the rest of your life. ....
+1 I have had three people in my life who have fallen off ladders and seriously hurt themselves, so I avoid it unless it is an emergency. My sister fell off a stepladder a month or so ago taking down Christmas decorations and messed up her knee and will need PT, surgery and then more PT. A man who used to work for me fell off a ladder, injured his back and went through hell and still walks with a noticeable limp. And worst of all, another friend fell off a ladder and injured his head, almost died, had to resign his job due to his problems, is still impaired many years later and realistically will never be back to how he was before the accident. It isn't worth the risk. Spend the $100+.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:00 PM   #12
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Interestingly OSHA has rules requiring fall protection if you are above 6 foot off the ground, however most roofers on residential projects ignore them. They include a safety harness etc. So even pros can fall.
Are you sure? I think it applies to fixed ladders (of some length), not movable extension ladders. Per OSHA site...
Quote:
Question 3: Are safety cages or other suitable sliding fall protection devices required (under the current OSHA standards) on tower ladders 20 or more feet in length?

Response: Yes. The current OSHA standard, 29 CFR 1910.27(d)(1)(ii), requires that safety cages or wells shall be provided on ladders of more than 20 feet to a maximum unbroken length of 30 feet.

However, the source document for 29 CFR 1910.27, ANSI A14.3-1956, Safety Code for Fixed Ladders, has been revised several times since its adoption by OSHA in 1971, and its most current version, ANSI A14.3-2002, "American National Standard for Ladders -- Fixed -- Safety Requirements," allows fixed ladder usage without cages or wells for a ladder length of up to 24 feet. In addition, on May 2, 2003, OSHA reopened its Proposed Rule for Walking and Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment, see 68 Federal Register 23528. This proposed rule would amend 1910.27(d)(1)(ii) to reflect the current ANSI standard of 24 feet.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:01 PM   #13
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OK, I am in need of an extension ladder to get to the second floor gutters... last year I paid someone to clean them out, but that cost me over $100...

I have measured and think I can use a 20ft. ladder, but would like to get at least a 24ft.

My questions... Aluminum or fiberglass? What is the weight difference between the two...

Is it better to go to 26 and have 'extra'?

How about rating? I am right at 200lbs.

Any other suggestions
My friend, immediately call the guy who did it for $100, and go back to your recliner. If you want height and risk, take up rock climbing. It is much more glamorous.

Ha
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:01 PM   #14
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I have only fallen off the wagon.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:10 PM   #15
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I'm with those folks who favor gutter guards. I bought 'em and they've worked very well. I did get up there this year to brush debris off the top of ours (they are the aluminum type with holes), and it was a much easier job than scooping out the junk that used to accumulate in the gutters. Even the little I did was probably not necessary. A peek inside indicated very little grit had made it into the gutters, so I think I'll be good-to-go for a long time.

If you decide to climb on the roof yourself, there are some things you can do to make things safer. A fall harness is probably smart (though I admit I haven't used one myself). Also, the most perilous part of the climb is when you are near the top of the ladder--you're way at the top and it's fairly easy for the thing to slide sideways. There's very little friction between the ladder and whatever it's leaning against. Someone holding the ladder at the bottom can do almost nothing to stop sideways slippage (or backward falling away from the wall). It helps to place the ladder well out from the wall. One guy I know built up a small place especially for placing his ladder when he gets on the roof. He attached 24" long pressure treated boards under his gutter so his ladder would lean against the boards and not the gutter. He also put small brackets on these standoffs so the ladder couldn't slip to the side. This seemed like a nice solution--it protects the gutters from being crushed or scraped by the ladder and reduces the likelihood the ladder will slip at the top.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:25 PM   #16
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Well, since some have started the storytelling... I will pass on one that I saw...

I was walking in a connection hallway between two buildings... the level is about 3 stories up... there was a guy cleaning the window on a step ladder... he then starts jumping up and down moving the ladder to the side... I think there was someone at the bottom moving it along with the guy at the top (or he was just there to witness the guy hitting the concrete)... amazing how stupid some people can be..
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:27 PM   #17
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As for stability, I would also buy one of those extenders that hold the ladder in place better..

I can not get on the roof... the pitch is just to much...


The other suggestion that I got from my sister.... just have the gutters taken off the second floor... Not sure if I want to do that... but it is a thought...
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:34 PM   #18
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I've seen or heard of a long stiff pipe with a "U" at the top that you attach to a hose and then the water pressure is used to clean out the gutters. Would something like that work and be safer than getting up on a ladder?
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:35 PM   #19
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I'm with those folks who favor gutter guards. I bought 'em and they've worked very well. I did get up there this year to brush debris off the top of ours
I haven't had to do that, and wouldn't want to (especially later on after one grows older). it seems to me that in my local Ace hardware I saw some sort of long handled broom-like device for doing that without climbing up on a ladder.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:44 PM   #20
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I've seen or heard of a long stiff pipe with a "U" at the top that you attach to a hose and then the water pressure is used to clean out the gutters. Would something like that work and be safer than getting up on a ladder?

I do not think that would work for a two story... and pine needles are not the same as leaves....


BUT.... I just found this... might have to look into this as an option... much safer...

Ultimate Rain Gutter Cleaning Tool
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