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A few questions about extension ladders


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12 replies to this topic

#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Bob McLaughlin

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Posted July 14 2008 - 04:27 AM

I am sick of paying some guy to clean my gutters every year and am thinking of buying an extension ladder. A few questions:

1. How do I know what size ladder to get? Is there an easy way to measure the distance from the ground to my gutters? I am not a good judge of distance and height so I am reluctant to estimate and find out I either bought too much ladder or not enough. Also I have to account for angle, slope of yard, etc. Any tips? We have a two-story brick house.

2. How do you transport the ladder home once purchased? I have a pickup truck but no ladder rack. I would hate to have to buy a ladder rack just to move it from the store to my house once.

3. I was thinking of getting aluminum because it's light, but I'm concerned about the corner of the house where there are wires. Will I be able to move a large fiberglass or wooden ladder by myself?

Any ladder advice or personal experiences would be much appreciated!
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#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted July 14 2008 - 04:44 AM

1. If you get the adjustable kind, you won't have to worry about this one. Or estimate 20 feet for the height of a 2-story house and use basic trigonometry to calculate the length of the ladder needed.

2. What about ordering the ladder or going with a store offering delivery?

#3 of 13 OFFLINE   Dave Nibeck

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Posted July 14 2008 - 04:50 AM

1) The size of the ladder is going to depend on how many stories. Typical houses will have gutters at 9' +/-. A 24' extension ladder would be sufficient to reach the gutters on a 2 story house.

2) Place a towel on the top of your truck. Load the ladder so it sits in the rear of the bed and overhanges over the front of the truck. Tie down to the front bed tie downs.

3) Regardless of material, stay away from the wires. In addition to material, you need to pay attention to load capacity. Buy a good one and it should be a once in a lifetime purchase. Can you carry it? Hard for me to answer.

I have a 24' type IA (heavy duty ~ 300 lbs.) fiberglass. It weighs around 50 pounds so it not real heavy.

#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted July 14 2008 - 05:29 AM

check moving sales and stuff like that, it's one of the things I'm always seeing at moving sales cause nobody wants to move large/bulky items like pianos and ladders. In fact, I found a couple of step ladders that way. I live in a ranch and I inherited a bent aluminum ladder from my parents when they moved. However, being a ranch, I don't even need to extend it to get to my roof so it works fine for me.

My parents had in their basement what was a free or somewhat cheap rubber thing from sears that turned your roof of a sedan into a ladder carrying thing. I think you would rest the ladder on their rubber pads and then tie the whole contraption down tightly around the roof and then tie the top and bottom of the ladder to tiedowns under your car in the front/rear. Kind of like the cheap foam pads you can get for canoes... However, with the P/U truck, something like Dave mentioned should work, just absolutely make sure it's tight and wont slide right or left, even with a towel.

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#5 of 13 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 14 2008 - 01:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob McLaughlin
2. How do you transport the ladder home once purchased? I have a pickup truck but no ladder rack. I would hate to have to buy a ladder rack just to move it from the store to my house once.
Bungee cords. Angle it against the back edge of the cab and use the bungee cords to hold it down. The ride home will be a little dicey, but you'll get it there.

#6 of 13 OFFLINE   Henry Gale

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Posted July 14 2008 - 03:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Nibeck

2) Place a towel on the top of your truck. Load the ladder so it sits in the rear of the bed and overhanges over the front of the truck. Tie down to the front bed tie downs.
Like Dave said, but tie down both ends.

I have a 30' alumium extension ladder for my 2 story home. In addition to gutters, you may want to paint something up there or work on an antennae.

Here's the thing, you need to spend real money on this ladder. It makes a BIG difference.
Mine is very nice and as a result is pretty heavy. The payoff is, when I'm up there, I feel very safe and it's like standing on the ground.
If you get a cheap ladder, you're swaying around and it's exhausting and scary.
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#7 of 13 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted July 14 2008 - 03:57 PM

3. You should be able to carry a 24' aluminum or fiberglass extension ladder just fine. They weigh less than you think. Just go the your local home center and pick one up to get an idea of what you're in for. I'd go with aluminum over fiberglass for durability (though fiberglass is nice and usually lighter than aluminum -- don't even think about a wooden extension ladder) and just stay away from the wires altogether.
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#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Bob McLaughlin

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Posted July 15 2008 - 01:06 AM

Thanks guys! Glad to hear I won't need to buy an expensive rack, too. And you know what, I think I will not worry about the ladder weighing too much, because I realized my neighbor is paying the same guy to do his gutters. He will probably be more than willing to help me with the ladder if I lend it to him!
Quote:
Or estimate 20 feet for the height of a 2-story house and use basic trigonometry to calculate the length of the ladder needed
Chris, you mean to tell me there's such thing as BASIC trigonometry???
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#9 of 13 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 15 2008 - 02:07 AM

a2+b2=c2

20 feet x 20 feet = 400

400+[approx. distance from ladder legs to the edge of your house]2=[length of ladder]2

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   MarkMel

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Posted July 15 2008 - 02:17 AM

I saw this the other day;

Brookstone: iRobot® Looj Robot Gutter Cleaning Robot

Not sure how well it works but it would help in not having to move the ladder around too much. The reviews look favorable.
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#11 of 13 OFFLINE   Steve_Tk

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Posted July 15 2008 - 02:33 AM

Easiest way to transport it home is just stick your arm out the window and hold on! Kind of like a mattress.

I use the ladder to get on the roof, then have someone throw the hose up to me which I catch with the steel rake, then use the hose to spray out the gutters. Not only is it fun, but sometimes you get to spray the guke from the gutters on the person below you looking up.

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted July 15 2008 - 02:33 AM

That iRobot thing looks pretty neat but your gutters better be in good shape. My gutter hangers aren't entirely perfectly level and I'd think the robot might hit them and or the overhanging shingles. However, as I have a ranch, it's easy for me to do my gutters as my extention ladder doesn't even have to be extended and if I really want a fast way, I use a garden hose and a long stick to extend the range a bit. I tried a air blower, but found a garden hose and some good outside water pressure is easier than the electric blower...

Takes me about 30 minutes to do the front and back gutters.. More if I want to really clean the dropouts and stuff..

jay
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#13 of 13 OFFLINE   Todd Hochard

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Posted July 16 2008 - 01:58 PM

Here's my preference-

1. Get a 300lb-rated ladder. The 225-250lb rated ones are flimsy. When you are 2/3 the way up to the 2nd story, a bouncy ladder isn't exactly a confidence builder.
2. I like fiberglass over aluminum. They will last forever (there is no durability issue I know of- we use/abuse them in an industrial setting at work), and they flex less. The fact that you have wiring also means this could be a life-saver.
3. Use a 25ft tape measure to figure out the distance to the gutter. Feeding the tape that far up in the air is a challenge, but it works.Posted Image For my home, it is 19ft straight up from the back yard.
4. Buy a ladder that you can extend at least 3ft beyond the gutter, in case you need to get on the roof. For me, the 24ft barely doesn't cut it in this regard- 28 or 30' is better.
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