Ladder - what's best?

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Old 05-28-11, 07:55 AM
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Ladder - what's best?

Did not see a forum that this topic fits in so I figured will post it here since roof and gutter work always involve ladder use.

I have an A frame ladder already and need an extension ladder to get up to work on soffits, roof and gutters. I could get an extension ladder BUT I also occasionally need an additional A frame ladder, and having a ladder that can be folded into a scaffold configuration is attractive so I am considering a multi-position ladder.

Any thoughts of those ladder, I did notice they are typically heavier, but not heavier than an extension ladder.

One option is the $167 Werner from Home Depot:

Werner 17 ft. Aluminum Twin Step Ladder 300 Lb. Load Capacity ( Type IA Duty Rating) - MT-17 at The Home Depot
Werner 17 ft. Aluminum Twin Step Ladder 300 Lb. Load Capacity ( Type IA Duty Rating)


The other is a $129 Harbor Freight no name brand:
17 Ft. Type 1A Multi-Task Ladder
17 Ft. Type 1A Multi-Task Ladder


They look very similar. The Harbor Freight one is $129 and I have a 25% off coupon. I read a review of the Harbor Freight one and someone says it is made by the same OEM company in China.

Any thoughts? I saw a Little Giant one but that one is over $200.
 
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Old 05-28-11, 11:31 AM
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Those ladders cannot be folded into "scaffold configuration." They can be changed from step ladder into extension ladder. And you can raise and lower each side of the step ladder independently, to make one pair or legs longer than the other, as you might want to do if you are setting the stepladder on a flight of stairs.
 
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Old 05-28-11, 11:51 AM
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One big factor to consider....
Some of the cheaper folders and extension ladders have round rungs. Those will kill your feet if you have to stand on them for any length of time. I seem to remember the folders at HD (may have been Gorilla brand) being heavy as all get out for the size...and the release mechanisms were knobs you had to slap or pull...not easy to use. I'd never get one sight unseen unless you were at least able to verify some of those issues.
 
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Old 05-28-11, 12:09 PM
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I have two of the Gorilla orange fiberglas ladders. We use them a lot in stairwells and with walk boards for low applications. I love them, but then again, I don't have to move them. My guys hate them, until they get them to final site. They are heavy as Vic said, but stable as a rock. You can approach from either side, which makes it good for walking "over" to the other side.
 
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Old 05-28-11, 12:46 PM
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Ahh Larry...and I was talking about the metal ones they used to sell. If the FG are heavy..imagine the aluminum multi position.
 
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Old 05-28-11, 02:03 PM
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These are fg multi position. The aluminum ones are much lighter.
 
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Old 05-28-11, 02:09 PM
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Hmmm...I thought the Al were heavier...but I never saw a FG one...so what do I know? lol
 
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Old 05-28-11, 02:31 PM
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I have had better service from a multi-way ladder that I did with an articulating one.
A multi-way ladder is much simpler in that it only swings open to make a step ladder or the swing away section opposite the step slides upward like an extension ladder.
They are cheaper than an articulating and lasted me much longer because there are no moving parts to wear out.

Click image:

Image courtesy of homedepot.ca
 
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Old 05-28-11, 07:10 PM
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I've owned and worked off of ladders all my life but I've never owned and seldom used any of those multi purpose ladders. IMO Werner ladders are some of the best if not thee best ladders on the market. Whatever ladder you wind up buying - pay attention to the duty grade. I would NEVER own a type III ladder, they're considered homeowner duty but the thing is they are lightweight and become wobbly in no time

I haven't seen a round rung ladder in years - do they still make them?
You could also rent a ladder if you don't have enough use to justify buying one. If I remember correctly, the last time I rented a 40' ladder [about 10 yrs ago] it was $10-$12 a day.
 
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Old 10-29-12, 12:37 PM
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i just found this thread...i need to get up to the 2nd floor outside the house to do some caulking and other things

i see a 16 ft extension is about 130 and the multi purpose one is only 30 bucks more. i figured it's better to spend the 30 and have more versatility

just wondering who has long term use with a ladder like in post 1 and if any other warnings other than what is already posted. i know to stay away from 200lb ladders lol

but this wont be a heavy duty use thing but it will be used enough to justify the purchase..especially initially
 
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Old 10-30-12, 05:04 AM
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I know a lot about regular extension ladders but very little about the multi purpose ones
I assume the multi ladder only has a few positions it can be used in. My question would be will the multi ladder comfortably reach what you need it for? It might be a good idea to borrow or rent one for a day to make sure it will do what you need it to.
 
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Old 10-30-12, 05:43 AM
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.i need to get up to the 2nd floor
I personally have not seen a multi-way ladder that extends beyond 16 feet fully extended.
If you have a two story house you would need a ladder much longer than that.
For safety your ladder should be 4 feet longer that the edge of the roof so it extends above the roof edge to allow you to safely access the roof.
 
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Old 10-30-12, 07:37 PM
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i wont get up on roofs...but do need to measure how high i need
 
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Old 10-31-12, 05:18 AM
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Remember with a conventional extension ladder the highest point includes 3 rungs [3'] being overlapped and you'll also loose a little bit of height from kicking the bottom of the ladder out from the structure. A 16' ext ladder will feel real solid at the 9' level but when it's extended to 12' it will have more 'give' A 16' ladder is a good homeowner size for a single story house but with 2 stories, a longer ladder would make more sense.
 
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Old 10-31-12, 06:35 AM
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You also can't stand on the top 2 rungs or you will lose your balance. So I agree with the others- you probably will want a longer ladder... i.e. a standard extension ladder.
 
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Old 10-31-12, 07:12 AM
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I have owned two of the Little Giant 23ft ladders for over 10 years and my crews have put them through ladder hell. They weigh a lot, my employees hate to have to move them, they weigh more than when they were purchased because of all the overspray on them, but they still work as advertised. The Werner ladders in the first picture look identical to mine which leads me to conclude that Werner purchased a license for the design.

Would I recommend those ladders for a homeowner? Probably not. In order to use it like an extension ladder, it has to be raised into position after being fully extended. To move it while vertical means overcoming a substantial moment arm. On the other hand, an extension ladder to climb the same height will be much lighter and easier to maneuver. Let's not forget that the extension ladder will likely be less expensive, too. I have a 16' fiberglass extension ladder that suffices for 90% of what I need to do around the house. I can pick it up and move it easily with one hand. I also have a couple of step ladders to use when that kind of ladder is needed. I don't need and no longer want the hassle of struggling with one of the GOOD multiposition ladders because they aren't worth it to me personally. There are some cheap MP ladders out there that I wouldn't climb or recommend at all. And I have never seen one of the ladders that fold like an accordion that I would trust for anything.

My $0.02.
 

Last edited by tldoug; 10-31-12 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 11-01-12, 07:06 AM
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i also have to worry about storage in my breezeway and how high a ladder is when folded up..i'm assuming a 16 ft would be about 9 ft when compacted?
 
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Old 11-01-12, 11:34 AM
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You can slide a 16' extension ladder all the way down to 8' Basically any extension ladder can come down to the length of one of the sections. I prefer to leave the extra rung exposed [9' on a 16' ladder] It's easier that way as you don't have to make sure the feet are pointed just right for the 2nd section to slide all the way down. Generally it's best to hang an extension ladder horizontally instead of vertical.
 
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Old 11-01-12, 11:43 AM
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I really like my Telesteps ladder. Unfortunately they are only 12-1/2 feet long but if that length is okay they are really neat. I can't get into my attic with a six foot stepladder and the eight foot stepladder is too tall. I can adjust my Telesteps to just the right length to allow me to get through the scuttle and into the attic proper without problem. I also use it to get in and out of my crawlspace.

Telesteps - Products
 
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Old 11-01-12, 02:06 PM
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I agree with tidoug, I have had one of these multi purpose ladders for about 6 years. Use it when I have to for added height, I've used it to hang crown molding in a commercial stairway at 12' in the air. I rarely use it as an extension ladder unless it is all I happen to have at the time. The bugger is heavier than I think it should be, but it is what it is.

Mind was a Gorrilla ladder, which the company may have been bought out as previously mentioned. Also, it is tiresome to stand on for long periods of time. When you extend it to a large "A", the normal step becomes only half a step wide. Its like standing on a closet rod. Your weight is not distributed across the balls of your feet but you are supporting yourself with the arch of your feet. After an hour or so, your feet start to ache.

I usually travel with multiple step ladders 6' and 8' and rarely travel with this one alone. If you are young and fit this may be for you, if your female or elderly look elsewhere.
 
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Old 11-04-12, 07:01 AM
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I have a 17' World's Greatest Ladder and it's perfect for me. It's wider at the base, which makes it more stable, and it has replaced both my extension ladder and step ladder. The ability to adjust it so you can work on stairs is priceless.

I sold my truck and now have a car, so to transport either an extension ladder or step ladder I would have had to get roof racks, however, the multi-ladder fits in the trunk. That's a very big deal for me as I'm always helping family and friends with their projects.

It's a little heavy, but that doesn't bother me.
 
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Old 11-05-12, 07:29 AM
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I have a Werner ladder like in the first post, I think that mine is considered the 22' version when opened all of the way up into an extension-type configuration.

First, it's okay as an extension-type, but not great. The pivot joint has just enough play that it's awkward. Certainly not impossible, but if I were using it primarily as an extension ladder I would find it unacceptable.

Second, it's HEAVY. HEAVY HEAVY heavy. Like, I don't move it by myself, and it's rare that my wife helps as even with the two of us it's awful darned heavy. Generally it's Dad and I moving it. It's technically possible to move it by myself, but since I have four total ladders, unless I need specifically the capability of this ladder it stays in the shed.

Third, on a more positive note, it worked great when we took the popcorn ceiling down over the stairwell. We were able to position it on the stairs on different stairs to let us reach places that we couldn't have reached without leaning other ladders against the drywall, which we didn't want to do. It's also fairly quick to reconfigure when moving it on those stairs.

Fourth, it can be used as a scaffold base. They sell a "Dynamic Hinge" for the Werner that lets one take the two extensions off and make a fixed stepladder from them, and then one can set up the now-two A-frames with scaffold planks between them. I haven't used this feature yet, but I did pick up a Dynamic Hinge kit on craigslist a few months back in case I ever need it.

If I were to need to clean gutters on a second floor as my principal purpose for a ladder, I'd just buy a nice fiberglass Type IA extension ladder and figure out how to store it out of the sun.
 
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