Step ladders are a type of self-supporting ladder. Unlike, say, an extension ladder - which must be leaned up against a wall or another surface that's sturdy enough to support it - a step ladder can stand up all on its own, without any additional support or stabilisation.
But here's a question that a lot of people ask: can a step ladder be leaned against a wall and used as a straight ladder if the situation demands it? Or should step ladders exclusively be used as self-supporting ladders?
When you purchase a ladder, it's important to know that your chosen ladder is suitable for the task(s) you have in mind.
If you need a ladder for work, you don't want a product that's only suitable for light DIY jobs around the house; conversely, there's no need to fork out for an industrial-grade ladder if you're only using it to repaint the living room.
But how can you tell which ladders are suitable for which applications?
Aluminium ladders are great for all sorts of tasks, but if you're carrying out electrical installations or working near power lines, an aluminium ladder is not a safe choice.
This is because aluminium conducts electricity. When you're working with electricity, you want a non-conductive ladder that will reduce your risk of electrocution.
And that's where our fibreglass step ladders come in. Unlike aluminium, fibreglass is non-conductive, so these ladders are ideal for electricians and anyone else who frequently works near electrical hazards.
If you're shopping around for a step ladder, one word you're likely to come across over and over again is 'swingback'. But what exactly does that word mean? What makes swingback ladders different from other step ladders? And what does that mean for your purchasing decision?
As a general rule, ladders should be placed on level ground to maximise stability while in use. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines say:
"You should only use ladders in situations where they can be used safely, e.g. where the ladder will be level and stable"
This rule would appear to preclude the use of ladders on stairs. However, if you do need to get a bit of extra height while working on a staircase, we may still be able to help you.