Taking a shortcut when you're putting a ladder up against your home can lead to a serious injury. Even professional tradespeople can get it wrong sometimes! There's no harm in brushing up on your ladder set up skills to make sure you're working in a safe way at all times. So, if you need to complete a job on your home - here's how to set a ladder up safely.
Find some level ground
First and foremost, you need to make sure that the ground you're putting your ladder on is level. That means gravel, loose stones and wood chips are not a good place to position your ladder. You should ideally choose somewhere that's hard, dry, flat and free of debris. You could even add rubber ladder mats to provide extra stability and grip - which we'd highly recommend.
Before you put your ladder against your home, look up and double-check what's above your chosen spot. Any overhead wires, windows or gutter should be avoided. These things can break under the pressure of the ladder (and you don't want even more things to fix at the end of the day!)
If you need to keep the ladder raised off the surface of your house, you might find a ladder stay comes in handy. These will help to keep the ladder steady as well as making it easier for you to carry out maintenance jobs like painting and glazing.
Use your safety feet
If you do need to prop your ladder up on a soft surface eg. a lawn, then you should brace the ladder, or use the safety feet to secure it. If you've never come across safety feet before, they're the useful little moveable feet that you see at the bottom of most extension ladders. They're fitted to a bracket that pivots so you can flip the feet from a flat position to an upright position. Once flipped upright, these feet can be driven down into the soft ground to keep the ladder still.
The right angle
When putting your ladder against the house, you need to make sure it's leant at a safe angle. You want to aim for a 75° angle (but we know you won't always have a protractor to hand) - so aim for a 4ft to 1ft ratio instead.
For every 4ft of vertical height, move the ladder 1ft further away from your home. So for a 16ft ladder, you should move the base 4 ft out. A good way to check whether your ladder is stood at a safe angle or not is to stand directly in front of it and reach your hands out straight in front of you. If you can hold on to a rung comfortably then your ladder is probably at a stable angle.
Raise the roof
Need to climb on your roof? It's important that your ladder is extended at least 3 feet higher than the surface you need to climb onto. If you need to work on the roof for a prolonged period of time, we'd recommend you use a ladder designed to cope with this - like our roof ladders. These ladders have special ridge hooks that will keep you stable and secure at all times!
Want to find out more about using ladders safely? Take a look at our ladder safety tips. As always, if you have any questions - get in touch with our friendly team on 01446 789538.