calculate ladder length

If you want to work safely on a ladder, it's important to purchase one that's the right length for the task at hand. While you may think you can look at a particular wall and have a sensible guess at the ladder height you need, you're never going to be 100% accurate. If you want to calculate the right ladder length, follow these steps.

Extension Ladder Length

In order to be used safely, extension ladders need to be leant up against a hard surface with a suitable pitch. If you're working on a platform like a roof, you need to make sure your ladder extends a few feet past the workspace. When calculating the right extension ladder length, it's important to take these extra few feet into account.

Here's an example to show you how to calculate the right ladder height for a 20ft wall.

To work safely, your extension ladder needs to be pitched at a ratio of 4:1. So for every 4 feet up, you need to move the ladder 1 foot out. This is known as the '1 in 4' rule.

So, if you want to work on a 20ft wall, the ladder needs to be moved 5ft out. Propping a ladder against a wall creates a right-angled triangle, with the ladder as the hypotenuse (longest side), so it's time to think back to maths class: to calculate the length of the hypotenuse, we'll need to use Pythagoras's theorem.

Ladder lenght calculation

In case you haven't brushed up on your trigonometry lately, Pythagoras's theorem states that the length of the hypotenuse squared = the triangle's height squared + the triangle's width squared. Let's apply this to the example above...

  • 20 squared is 400
  • 5 squared is 25
  • 400 + 25 = 425
  • The square root of 425 (to two decimal places) is 20.62

This means that your ladder needs to be 20.62 feet long (minimum) to allow for the ladder to be propped up against the wall at a safe angle.

Then, you need to add a few feet so that the extension ladder can extend past the working ledge. So, if you want to climb a 20ft wall, you need a ladder that's approximately 24ft long!

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Step Ladder Length

Calculating the right step ladder length is a little easier because you don't need to take pitch into account. Just bear in mind:

  • The step ladder will need to get you within roughly 4ft of the area you're working on
  • You must not stand on the top three treads of a swingback step ladder (see Step Ladder Do's and Don'ts)

Let's use a 10ft wall for our example - if you want to work on a gutter that's 10ft off the ground, you'll need a step ladder whose platform or topmost safe tread is 6ft off the ground. This allows for the 4ft working space we mentioned before.

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Still not 100% sure how to calculate the ladder length you need? Contact the Ladders UK Direct team for expert advice.

Working out how tall your house is is no easy task. It's not like you can just grab a tape measure and set to work! Eyeballing it won't give you an accurate height either. The last thing you want to do is order a ladder and realise it's a few feet too short or wildly too long. Don't worry we're here to help.

If you live in a single storey house or bungalow then you might already have a ladder that's tall enough to reach the gutters. The average single storey house is only 3.3 metres or 10.8 foot tall, so you have a lot more choice. There's a wide selection of step ladders, combination ladders and extension ladders that will allow you to reach this height with ease.

Now, most people live in two-storey buildings which average a height between 4.7 and 5.8 metres (or 15.5 - 19 foot). As you can imagine, finding a ladder to satisfy this height might be a little more tricky. You'll be pleased to hear that you're in the perfect place to buy one! Here at Ladders UK Direct, we supply a huge range of ladders that can be used to reach the guttering on a two-storey house. For example...

LFI super trade plus triple extension ladder

LFI Super-Trade PLUS Triple Extension Ladder

One of our best selling ladders, the LFI Super Trade PLUS Triple Extension Ladder comes in a range of heights - most of which are suitable for the average two-storey house in the UK. The 3.0m-7.0m is a great 'safe' option, but this ladder also comes in shorter and longer lengths. Browse all sizes here:

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 glass fibre double extension ladder

Glass Fibre Double Extension Ladder

If you're worried about a low hanging electrical wire, we'd recommend choosing a ladder that's tall enough for your two-storey home but that's also non-conductive. This means you'll be perfectly safe if an accident occurs while you're working outside your house. This ladder is fitted with special rung joints and stay brackets to give it extra strength and prevent side sway - perfect if you happen to be doing work on a windy day! 

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Note: If you're planning to do extensive work on the roof of your home, we'd highly recommend investing in a proper roof ladder! These come with a hooked edge that will provide excellent stability while you work on the roof of your two-storey house.

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If you're still not sure which ladder is the best choice for your two-storey home, drop us an email. We'll help you find the right ladder for your requirements - sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.

 

how to use a ladder on uneven ground

Working with ladders on uneven ground can be really challenging. Here at Ladders UK Direct, we'd always recommend using your ladder on flat ground where possible, but we understand that sometimes this simply isn't an option. If you find yourself having to use a ladder on uneven ground, you should do whatever you can to make the ground even before you start.

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Step ladder tool tray

It can be difficult to stay safe on a step ladder when your hands are full. If your work requires you to use several different tools in quick succession, you may not be able to hold them all at once, and it's laborious to climb down off the ladder every time you need to change tools.

This is why many of our step ladders come with built-in tool trays. A tray at the top of the ladder makes a great place to keep tools you're not currently using, and it means you can concentrate on staying safe and getting the job done as efficiently as possible.

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extension ladders

Estimates show that around 48,000 people attend A&E every year due to an avoidable accident on a ladder. People often cut corners and use their ladders improperly which is why so many accidents occur. Today we're going to talk you through the proper way to secure an extension ladder so that you can reduce your chances of a fall or injury.

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Get to know your extension ladder

Extension ladders come in lots of different lengths, brands and materials, so it's important you spend some time familiarising yourself with YOUR ladder. Take a close look at the safety shoes at the bottom of your extension ladder, these are the parts that will make contact with the ground and secure your extension ladder in place, so it's important that you can see how they work.

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best ladders for painting

Whether you're freshening up a white wall or adding a bold feature wall, adding a fresh lick of paint is a quick and easy way to transform your living space. Finding the perfect colour and buying the right equipment is only half the battle, the real challenge comes when it's time to apply your new paint.

Time and time again, we see people using kitchen stairs, coffee tables and upturned laundry baskets to try and reach the top corners and edges. Besides looking silly, these DIY methods of elevation are unstable and often dangerous. One small wobble and you could find yourself laying on your back, covered in paint and wondering what happened.

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can tradespeople work during lockdown?

Over the last few weeks, we have seen lots of areas across the UK go into local lockdowns and it's not looking like they'll be eased up any time soon. As with all things COVID-19 related, we've got questions. Can tradespeople work in other people's homes during lockdown? What precautions should you take? And what questions can you expect from homeowners before you arrive?

Today we're going to try and demystify some of these questions so that you know what you can do and how to approach the situation safely.

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how to fully extend a triple extension ladder

Unlike single or double section ladders, triple extension ladders pose an extra level of complexity. First of all, they're heavier than most other ladders and secondly, they're a lot more awkward to move around and handle.

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Most of the step ladders we sell here at Ladders UK Direct are made of either aluminium or fibreglass. Both of these materials have their respective benefits and drawbacks - the right choice for you will depend on how you intend to use your ladder.

Aluminium vs fibreglass ladders

LEFT: Professional Swingback Aluminium Step Ladder
RIGHT: Super-Trade Swingback Fibreglass Step Ladder

To help you make an informed buying decision, let's take a quick look at the pros and cons of aluminium ladders and glass fibre ladders...

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Of all the world records that are out there, this has to be our favourite one. The world's longest ladder! According to the Guinness World Records, the longest ladder ever recorded was 41.16m (135 foot) long! It was designed and made in 2005 by the Handwerks Museum in Austria. In total, it had 120 rungs! Imagine how long it would take to get from the bottom to the top... you'd probably have to stop for a break on the way up.

Now, although we don't have the world's longest ladder here at Ladders UK Direct, we do have some long ladders that you can use to reach up high. Let's take a look at some of the longest ladders we have on offer, they might just be the ones you need!

triple section rope operated ladder

Triple-Section Rope Operated Extension Ladder

Of course, our triple-section ladders are the longest that we offer. These ladders come in a range of lengths, reaching up to 13.97 metres! They also come in extended heights of, 10.47m, 11.97m, 12.97m. They're not quite the world's longest ladders, but if you're looking for a long ladder, these are the one's for you.

A few of its key features are:

  • Wall running wheels
  • D-shaped rungs
  • Rubber feet

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Double Section Rope Operated Extension Ladder

Our longest double extension ladder extends from a stored height of 5.94m to 10.71m! Again, it's about 30-something metres shy of the world's longest ladder, but it certainly will give you enough height to reach most gutters, lightbulbs and ceilings.

They're great for tradesmen and the rope mechanism makes them incredibly easy to operate! Even the longest ladders are easy to open and closed when you incorporate a pulley system, so don't worry about wrestling with your long ladder.

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One of the great things about long extension ladders is that they collapse down into much smaller sizes. This makes transporting long ladders incredibly easy! Do you think the world's longest ladder was built in sections or in one long piece? Unlike our ladders (which can be transported pretty much anywhere) we doubt the world's longest ladder made many journeys. Imagine the size of the van you'd need! 

So, while we can't offer you the world's longest, most impractical ladder we can help you with some long and highly useful ladders! If you have a specific ladder length requirement, we may be able to help you find the perfect ladder over the phone. Call us on 01446 789538.