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?
Is it safe to use a step ladder as a leaning ladder?
Short answer: no. Step ladders are specifically designed to stand unsupported, and it's generally a bad idea to use any ladder for anything other than the purpose it was designed for.
A step ladder may slip if leaned up against a wall and climbed like an extension ladder. If you're in a situation that requires a leaning ladder, we strongly recommend finding a ladder that's intended to be used in this way.
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Some combination ladders can be used in both ways!
If you frequently require a step ladder AND a leaning ladder, it may be worth investing in a combination ladder than can serve both purposes.
Many combination ladders can be configured into the form of a step ladder or an extension ladder depending on what the situation requires. This flexibility can be a godsend if you're regularly tackling a wide variety of different at-height tasks.
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If you're not sure what kind of ladder you need, feel free to contact Ladders UK Direct for assistance!