Would just like to get some opinions on this -
How "safe" and stable do you think using an extension ladder on a gravel
surface would be ?
If it appears to be stable, think it actually would be ?
If not a good idea, what might you suggest ?
Well, you could always find out the hard way...or you could put a 2x4,
or even 4x4, in front of it and drive some long metal stakes in the
ground to secure that. Once up there you could tie the top to
something with a rope.
The truth is, it probably would be fine if it seems secure. It is
also true, however, that a lot of wives have collected life insurance,
or are feeding their husbands with a spoon, due to ladder related
Many extension ladders have articulating feet. They sit flat on stable
ground and are rotated vertically so that they dig into less secure
ground. Yours is the latter ladder configuration. If you don't have
the articulating feet, tie off the ladder to stakes or to the building
My ladders have feet on the bottom that swivel out to provide a surface
with teeth. These feet with teeth are designed for your purpose, to
dig in and hold on loose or soft surfaces. Check your ladder to see if
it has this type of feet. If not then you have an excuse to buy a new
You can also give it the "acid test". Climb up a few feet and then
jump up and down on the ladder. If it will slip this activity will
cause it and you will only fall a few feet. If it does not slip then
yu should be OK.
It's probably fine. But:
I have a 4' plank with a bunch of mouse-pads stapled
to the bottom of it, and a 1x2 nailed along one edge.
On my porch roof, that goes loose under the ladder.
On dirt, it gets tent-stakes outboard of it, so it
can't slide. In both cases, the first thing I do
when I go up the ladder is drive a big-ass screw
eye in under the eve, to which I tie the ladder.
In questionable situations I've uses stakes or 4x4's or pulled the
pickup against the ladder. Not practical when you have to move the
ladder a lot.
This was after a ladder kicked out on me. Landed perfectly verticle on
ankle on blacktop. Ankle joint drove up my leg like a wood splitter.
x-ray summary read 9 major fractures with numerous minor fractures. Got
9 pins and a plate on that. They could not put cast on for 2 weeks when
all the swelling went down.
My statement now over a decade later it only hurts half the time - every
Sorry but "gravel surface" is not specficic enough to give a flat
safe/unsafe answer. You'll have to use your best judjment on that.
However, if it seems possible that the ladder feet _will_ slip, there
are several precautions that you can choose from. If the gravel is
just a layer spread upon normal ground, you could brush aside enough
for the ladder feet to rest on a more secure surface. Sometimes I will
drive a stake behind ladder feet.
For every complicated, difficult problem, there is a simple, easy
solution that does not work.
When Dee ran over the family cat while backing out the driveway, my reponse was
"The more you run over a cat the flatter it gets."
What does this have to do with use of an extension ladder on a gravel surface?
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