I have two fairly short stories in a split level house. The highest
gutters are approximately 15' above ground level. I know the 4:1 rule
for putting up an extension ladder but I'm not sure how much of a 20'
extension ladder is lost to the overlap. Is a 20' ladder enough to
reach eaves or do I need a 22'?
You can figure 3 feet of overlap between sections for the lengths you're
considering, so a 24' ladder will be 21'. If you want to get on the
roof, you'll want a ladder that reaches a couple of feet higher than the
Your choices may be limited to 20' or 24' -- I don't recall seeing any
22' extension ladders in stores.
And be aware- a 24' will make you feel puny carrying it and placing it
by yourself. I have a 24' 1a fiberglas, and it is heavy. And for a
heavy-duty ladder, it is still pretty bouncy at close to full extension.
Don't even think about aluminum that long, unless you are under 150
pounds, with tools. A buddy at work, skinny guy, bought an aluminum
20-foot, a name brand, and returned it after one use because he found it
too bouncy to work from.
I wish a had a 20', since this 24' is really more than I need for this
one story house. But at the time, the 24' was 60-some bucks cheaper at
Sam's, than the 20' was at Lowes or Menards...
Nonsense. Aluminum is fine. What you don't want is a cheap aluminum ladder. The
heavier ones (Type 1A?) are plenty strong and stiff. My 32' Aluminum ladder is
getting kind of heavy for me to put up by myself these days, but it's plenty
secure when extended.
I have a light weight 20' ladder (Type III?) which is great for quick jobs when
not fully extended, but way floppy when near its limit.
I find my 24' one bounces a lot - but at the same time it feels strong; I
don't feel like it's about to snap in two or anything (and of course
when fully extended it's only significantly flexible in the middle - so
it's only an issue when going up or down, not when working at the top).
The pain in the butt isn't the weight, or carrying it, but getting it
from a horizontal to vertical position; I never have quite figured out
what the 'trick' is there (it likes to lift off the ground as I'm
hauling it upright, and the last thing I want is a ladder on top of my
Do like the fire department. Put the foot of the ladder
touching the building. Walk under the ladder, going "hand
over hand" towards the building, with hands above your head.
Pull the bottom out from the wall after the ladder is
One reason you might not want an aluminum ladder is if there is any
possibility that wires will be involved. This includes portable power tools
or whacking the ladder into the power companied feeder lines.
About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
Should work. Worst case scenario, the ladder goes to the
house, and you have to lean back a bit.
The old fire department trick is to stand at the base of the
ladder. Extend your arms straight out front. Your hands
should barely go to the ladder. That's about the right
Put stabilizers on it- and you can go to about the 10' height and your
body will make up the difference.
I bought one of these a few years ago because I needed the standoff
for a project. Now I love it -
And while you're at it- if your ground is uneven, these make ladder
setup a breeze-
What you need is a Little Giant. I have one and it is fantastic.
Although it is somewhat heavy, it has wheels to move it around which
make it easier. Most people turn pale at the price, but if you are
doing a lot of DIY home repair is is a very good investment. Being
lazy and a bit clumsy, I also have 3' x 6' rolling scaffolding and a
24' aluminum ladder, plus 6' and 8' Type III fiberglass. Bottom line,
the more good ladders and scaffolding you have the easier the job.
I tore off the siding on my house. The back was/is ~ 16' up to the
eves. I already had the little giant knockoff at Lowes for $160 on
sale. Folded in half, shaped like letter A, the top rung is at 9 feet.
I then bought 6 pcs of 2x4x12ft. Stood the 2x4x12's on end about 2'
apart (all 4 pieces form a square) then cut-up the 5th and 6th piece
into braces and screwed them all together. Now I have a "tower" with a
support at 9' high. Now I took my extension ladder, laid down
horizontally between the tower and little giant knockoff and I have a
scaffold that I don't rent. I used my 8' A frame ladder to climb up
and onto the scaffold. I used hand truck to move scaffold all around
yard. I don't feel comfortable with pump jacks so this is an excellent
and reliable/safe system. HTH, Tom
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