Ladder Advice Sought


40 years ago I acquired a used 6 foot wooden ladder. It has served me well, but, like me, is beginning to show its age. It is a bit wobbly, has rusty hardware, and is probably not as strong as when new - just like me.
So, as I walk around Home Depot, Lowe's, and OSH, I see aluminum ladders, fiberglass ladders, and others that appear to be a combination of wood and metal. Various prices. I only need a 6 foot ladder, and I only use it a few times a year. I don't need to transport it in my car. Maximum weight of me and all the tools and supplies I can carry with both hands and arms would be under 200 pounds.
What are the pros and cons of the various ladders commonly available, and what do you guys recommend?
Thanks.
--
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CWLee
Former slayer of dragons; practice now limited to sacred
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CWLee wrote:

4 1x4x6' bits of lumber, some nails, a hammer, and a saw.
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I have a nice selection of ladders. Wood, aluminum and fiberglass are the three basic materials used in the construction of portable ladders, and each has certain advantages and disadvantages:
Wood: Wood ladders are the least expensive, and as long as they're dry, they are safe for use around electricity. They also tend to be less stable in larger sizes, heavier then aluminum or fiberglass, and more prone to damage from impact and from the elements. NEVER paint a wood ladder in order to increase its weather resistance - the paint hides cracks and flaws in the wood that can result in complete failure of the ladder.
Aluminum: These ladders are sturdy, relatively lightweight, resistant to corrosion and weathering, and moderately priced. However, aluminum conducts electricity and can be very dangerous around electrical wiring.
Fiberglass: Fiberglass is the sturdiest and most weather resistant material, and is safe for use around electrical wiring. This is the most common choice for professional use, but is typically also the most expensive.
Ladder Ratings There are four industry-standard load-capacity ratings for ladders, no matter what material they are made out of. The higher the rating is, the sturdier the ladder will be in use, and also, typically, the more expensive it will be.
Type III, Light Duty / Household Use (200 pound load capacity): The lightest rating, intended for short ladders that will be used very infrequently and for very light-duty work.
Type II, Medium Duty, Commercial Use (225 pound load capacity): For light duty use around the house, such as painting, cleaning and light repairs.
Type I, Heavy Duty, Industrial Use (250 pound load capacity): Good all around rating for household or commercial use. Sturdy enough for just about any use.
Type IA, Extra Heavy Duty/Professional Use (300 pound load capacity): The highest rating. Very sturdy, and designed for rugged use in any capacity on commercial or industrial sites.
The traditional ladders are divided into step ladders and extension ladders. Non-traditional ladders are now available and are called various things. Werner calls theirs the Telescoping Multi-Ladders. There are many of this style of ladder out there.
My ladders are are traditional Werner Ladders. They seem to be the standard brand everwhere you shop. If you only need one ladder then I might reccomend a 6 foot step fiberglass step ladder. For myself, I buy the most expensive, sturdiest ladder in the line, type 1A , and I go to the extra trouble to find one. Not everone will want to spend the extra money but I will tell you that my heavy duty ladders are a pleasure to use and I feel a lot safer on my ladders than on the cheaper ones I occasionally use. 6 foot is a rather small ladder so fiberglass may be good since it won't weigh a ton. My six foot heavy duty fiberglass step ladders has rungs on both sides which I really like. It is rated to have a 300 lb man on each side simultaneously!! I use two in a tandem with a plank like a small scaffold. So like any other tool, save your dough. Buy the best and you won't regret it.
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Lawrence wrote:

crumbled under me.
I've had good luck with a 4-segment foldable ladder. It seems to be strong and I've carried it into the woods to get a geocache hidden up in a tree. It can be used as a workbench, also.
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Try Here:
http://www.wfrfire.com/website/articles/ladsafe.htm
Jimi
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Lawrence gave excellent advice.
The only 6' ladder that I own is a sturdy AL one.
Colbyt
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On Sun, 3 Dec 2006 15:26:53 -0800, "CWLee"

Fix the old ladder.
A couple of cross peices will probably stiffen it right up. (this is a stepladder, right?)
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On Sun, 3 Dec 2006 15:26:53 -0800, "CWLee"

fiberglass ladders are much heavier than the equivalent in aluminum.
It's incredible how light aluminum is, and you can get it to hold 200 pounds.
It also surprised me enormously to see how heavy fiberglass was. I guess I thought it would weigh what the furnace filters weigh (fiberglass?), or the insulation in the attic.
A place I work for has a 20 or 24 foot extension ladder in fiberglass, and I can barely pick it up, let alone erect it. Aluminum of the same size is easy. My 6' foot aluminum folding ladder at home is also easy to carry around

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CWLee wrote:

Buy a type III fiberglass ladder. It is rated to 200 pounds, will not conduct electricity or heat, and it won't decay.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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I recently replaced my old, rickety 6-ft wooden step ladder. I chose a fiberglass ladder rated 300-lbs (Type III?) by Wagner. I am very pleased with it.
The comparative added weight, when compared to a lesser-rated and/or aluminum ladder is both a benefit and liability. It is heavier to carry around, but feels more solid when in use.
--
:)
JR

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40 years ago I acquired a used 6 foot wooden ladder. It has served me well, but, like me, is beginning to show its age. It is a bit wobbly, has rusty hardware, and is probably not as strong as when new - just like me.
So, as I walk around Home Depot, Lowe's, and OSH, I see aluminum ladders, fiberglass ladders, and others that appear to be a combination of wood and metal. Various prices. I only need a 6 foot ladder, and I only use it a few times a year. I don't need to transport it in my car. Maximum weight of me and all the tools and supplies I can carry with both hands and arms would be under 200 pounds.
What are the pros and cons of the various ladders commonly available, and what do you guys recommend?
Thanks.
__________________________________________________________ Having used ladders for years, it was a giant step forward when the fiberglass ladders hit the market to replace wood & metal ladders.
I currently have six ladders, step ladders to 10 feet & extension ladders to 24 feet, and all of them at Werner brand, which I found to be the best. They make at least three grades and the weight limit changes with each grade. Check the labels and choose the one suited to your needs.
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