No doubt I'll get seriously razed for this, but I've a two story house
with a hipped roof (gutters on all four sides). I've long since passed
the age where I spend a lot of time on the roof, but on the off chance I
need to get up there, how do I do it since clearly I cannot rest the
ladder against the gutters.
Gutters are not weak, they wont cry or bend. What is important is
saftey, extend ladder 2 ft higher and secure with bungy straps to the
gutter. have a good angle on the ladder, but not to much or to little.
Or don`t go up , get someone comfortable with it.
This is extremely bad advice. Most aluminum or PVC gutters are poorly
installed. And even when they are properly installed they most certainly
WILL be likely to bend. The amount of pressure applied by a person going up
that ladder is more than likely to cause the point where it contacts the
gutter to deform slightly. Combine that with even a slightly uneven footing
and DOWN goes the ladder. Someone that goes up ladders for a living might
have enough experience to gauge just how much movement is safe. But the
average homeowner does not have that sort of experience and should not be
taking that sort of risk. Especially when it's so inexpensive to get decent
SAFETY is certainly important. Just get a ladder extender like the one
mentioned in another post. Or like one of the other stablizers show on the
that website. Let the ladder rest securely against a surface that WILL NOT
move. Don't half-ass it.
You can buy aluminum "ladder stabilizers" that mouunt to the top
of the ladder, they look like they're meant to span windows,
but if you pull the base of the ladder out a bit, they act like
feet that can reach OVER the gutters, and lean against the roof
is kind of oddly shaped, but it shows what I mean.
That's what they make ladder standoffs for Kyle.
There's all different kinds, some hold the ladder out from the wall,
others contact the roof's surface.
Here's a sample:
I've got one like that and it works great.
Happy New Year,
You don't want to lean an aluminum/fiberglass ladder against aluminum
gutters, it can/will slide. You could buy what roofers (should) use.
Never step on the rungs above the contact area (where ladder contacts
Not razed, nor even razzed. A ladder stabilizer is the ticket. The
stabilizer legs sit on the roof. Having the ladder extend above the
roof makes it a lot easier and safer to get up and down, and it's
extremely unlikely that the ladder could ever slide and fall so you'd
have no way to get down. If that happened the neighbors would find it
the height of hilarity, but you'd probably have another opinion about
I like those stabilizers. However, getting on the roof itself is something
else. On one roof I installed a bracket lagged into the rafters giving me a
hand hold. Once on a two story with a roofer. He walked down the roof and
leaned over looking at the gutters. I didn't bother to check what he told
Been there. Done that. Shorter roof, but ladder fell in such a way to
making jumping down impossible.
Thanks to everyone who responded. I'll likely get a ladder stabilizer
(to go with the self leveling feet I got this year. What a difference!)
CBHVAC & others -- I didn't realize the gutters (steel) were strong
enough to support a ladder. That's good info also. I've always been told
that one never leans a ladder on gutters for fear of bending them.
People lean ladders against gutters all of the time and it's a bad idea
all of the time. The gutter attachment may be sketchy, the ladder will
probably scratch the gutter, the ladder is more likely to slide as
there's metal-to-metal or metal-to fiberglass contact and both of those
have lousy coefficients of friction, if the gutters are plastic they
may crack in cold weather, etc.
A ladder stabilizer is one of those things that protects someone's home
and the worker's butt. Not using one saves at most five minutes if the
guy dawdles. Using one prevents all sorts of problems. So, why
shouldn't he use a ladder stabilizer?
He can use what he wants, but a pair of ladder muffs if hes worried about
scratches, and if hes not, well, have at it.
If I have to hit a roof like hes got, the customers got two choices.....hire
a crane for lifting us at $300+ an hour, or we are using the gutter...
Done right, its got little pressure on them..
Done right? The only way to get little pressure on the gutter is to
stand the ladder up vertically - not a good idea.
How little is little in your opinion? Two pounds, five, ten? Post
your guess, tell me what you weigh and the height of the ladder and
I'll do the calculation for how much that little pressure actually is.
You'll probably be surprised.
Your typical K-section aluminum gutter is not designed to take a
lateral load. It can't take a lateral load as there is no crosspiece
at the top bearing point of a ladder. The hangers have to take the
lateral load. How much load the guttering can take is a function of the
type of hanger and their spacing. Professionals install .032 gutters
which is more robust than the ~.026 stuff the home centers sell. If
someone is careful about placing the ladder straddling a hanger, or in
between two if they're more closely spaced, than the gutter can take
the load with no immediate effects.
Unfortunately, there are popular routes onto a roof, just as there are
popular routes when driving. Compound that with some people not
worrying about the gutters and just placing/banging the gutters
anywhere and you can have damaged gutters. The gutter won't fall off
the fascia, but it will show scars. If spikes and ferrules were used,
the ferrule can push through the outside gutter face.
Physicians have a motto, First do no harm. I have the same viewpoint
about people's houses. Does it take me more time? Barely, as the
stabilizer is on all of the time. Does it mean I have to have extra
equipment to lug around? Yep, the extra five or seven pounds doesn't
strain me. It's what I'd want done on my house, and I figure that's
how I should treat other people's houses as well.
Sorry for the delayed response, but the OP just had a follow up post
and I somehow missed your reply. The OP mentioned that he had steel
gutters. They're definitely stronger than aluminum, and I wouldn't be
as concerned as if they were aluminum, but they still can get damaged.
As I mentioned, I keep the stabilizer on at least one ladder all of the
time - that way I don't have to determine whether I feel the gutters
can take the abuse or not. I just pop the ladder up and go.
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