I feel silly posting this question, but I have tried many times and
failed to step off the ladder on to the roof. The roof is only 8-ft
off the ground, and is dry and stable. However, taking that last step
off the ladder seems like an impossible task. Even worse, I am worried
about getting down. Searching for the step blindly by dangling one
foot off the roof seems like a sure recipe for disaster. I know it is
done all the time, but I can't figure out the logical sequence for
doing this. I am in good physical condition so that is not a factor.
What would make a huge difference is a ladder with hand rails at the
top, like a swimming pool ladder. I have searched high and low, and
cannot find something like this. .
I have tried step ladders and extension ladder to no avail. None of
them make that last step easy.
On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 14:10:04 -0700, Andrew Sarangan
Fear is good in small doses. Butterfly's in the stomach are notice to
be careful. Hold the ladder at the top, on both sides, look forward
and step to the side upon the roof. Know where you step.
Same on the down step. Hold the ladder, only that first step..jeepers!
Many folks here hate that last step. As a fellow said to me. " I don't
go up, over or under"!
"I didnt say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you."
What you need is a Ladder-Max. I have one and love it. It attaches at any point
on the ladder, so you can use it with 3 or 4 rungs sticking up over edge of the
roof. You just step right on and off the ladder onto the roof while holding the
upper part of the ladder. It is one of the few stabilizers designed to rest on
the roof, not on the sidewall, and that is all the difference. Plus, the ladder
absolutely cannot slide out with it resting on the roof. Their website is gone,
so they may be out of business, but there are many places still listing them on
the web, here is one, although it does not show it in use:
Now, what you are describing is a 'walk-through', there is one on the same page
as the link I provided, or go directly here:
It's much more expensive at $185, but if you want one, you got it.
Oh dear, do I know what you are talking about! I had to have a friend go up
on the roof for me whenever it was necessary. When he moved I figured I
would have to master it.
I threw a rope over the house and tied it to a tree, and went up anchored to
the rope so if I fell I wouldn't go far. (not sure how much good it would
do to the roof...) Anyhow, I found that getting on the roof wasn't all that
hard. Getting down was a bit harder, but not all that bad; if I had someone
to hold the ladder it would have been easy.
Biggest problem is fear itself. See if you can try the rope trick; I never
actually used the rope, but just the knowledge it was there made all the
Thanks for all the great advice. It is not the stability of the ladder
I am worried about. It is walking backwards and balancing at the same
time. It is like riding a bicycle backwards. The Safe-T walk-through
attachment that DT posted is exactly what I was looking for. But it
seems pricey for a simple device. However, on that site, it says 80%
of the falls occur when stepping off the ladder at the top. I know
that a ladder is probably as old as man itself, so I am puzzled why no
body else is selling this stuff. I looked at Lowes and Home Depot and
they have never heard of a walk-through attachment. I am going to try
the walk-though attachment in combination with a rope over the roof
tied to the other side of the house. Sounds like it just might work.
The most basic thing to do for stepping back onto the ladder is to make sure the
ladder extends several feet above the edge, so you can grab if to stabilize it
and position your feet before you step.
My house has a nice inside corner I set the ladder at. Stepping sideways into a
valley feels much safer than stepping onto an edge "past" the ladder.
Andrew, that is why I recommended the Ladder-Max (for only $60). It can be
attached so that the ladder sticks way up over the roof, just like the
walk-through. You simply walk over to the ladder and step onto it while holding
the ladder rails that are at waist height (or even chest height if you want). I
couldn't find a photo of it being setup that way.
Stand nest to the ladder. Put the near hand on the ladder, turn around, and step
onto the ladder with one foot as you put the other hand on the other side of the
ladder. Holding the ladder makes finding the step with your foot much easier.
and you already have your hands on the ladder when you step. You do have to be
careful not to move the ladder with your hands - they are just there to guide
On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 14:10:04 -0700, Andrew Sarangan
Not a silly question. You sound like you have a major fear of
heights. If you have tried all those things and still can not get on
the roof, why not just hire someone else to do the job. It's just
like some people are deadly afraid to ride a horse, while someone like
myself does it all the time. But you'd never get me on a rodeo bull.
Just admit to yourself you can not do it, and find someone that can.
I dont know why you want to go on the roof, but there are both
professionals and handymen that wont think twice about it.
I am telling you this, because there is a certain level of fear that
will make a person "freeze up" when they get to the height. Then you
might need to have the fire department remove you from the roof, or
have another problem. I know all about this because I too have a fear
of heights, just not as severe. To me, and 8 ft roof is nothing. A
100 ft. solid surface dont bother me either (like a bridge). But get
me above 25 ft on a flexing ladder and I start to panic. When I was
in my 20's, I got a job working for a painting company. They wanted
me to paint the eaves on a very old mansion. The ladder had to be 60
feet. I refused, but the boss told me my job was at risk if I did not
do what he wanted. Well, he should have listened to me. I did get to
the top with a gallon of paint and a brush. My knees began to get
weak and shake. I dropped the brush, then that gallon of paint, which
made a huge mess. Then I froze up. I could not move at all, no
matter how hard I tried. He was at the bottom and told me to come
down and I would not have to go up there again. I could not move. He
placed my lunch at the bottom and told me to come down and eat. He
even put a can of beer at the bottom for me. No matter what, I could
not move. He finally decided to call the fire dept. Somehow, I was
able to convince myself to go down one step, a few minutes later,
another step, etc, When I got down to about 30 ft. I was ok and got
to the bottom, just as the F.D. arrived. Not only did I drink that
beer, I drank an entire 6 pack before I was calm enough to go back to
work. The F.D. wanted me to go to the hospital, but I said I'd be ok.
I spent the rest of the day painting basement windows. I found
another job the following week.
I'm not telling you to "quit". 8 ft. is not that high, and it would
be good to prove to yourself you CAN do it. But if you cant, you
cant, just accept that, and find someone else to do the job.
If you do try it again, see if you can toss a rope over the house and
tie it to a tree, car bumper, post, or whatever. Then you have a
And for the record, when you get to the top of ladder, a knee on the
roof often helps. This all depends on the steepness of the roof too.
On Oct 1, 1:25 am, email@example.com wrote:
I think you are right, that it is a fear of heights. But it is not the
height per se, but the lack of a solid support to hold on for balance.
Ironically, I am also a pilot, but heights never bothered me in an
airplane. Quite the opposite, I enjoy low level flying in airplanes
and helicopters. But there I am strapped in my seat safe and secure,
and I am fully in control of my motion and the outcome never in
But the act of stepping off the ladder on to the roof seems like a
delicate balancing act. Given that thousands of people do it, and
several hundred fall every year and sustain serious injuries, I am
surprised why a better system has not been designed yet. When
climbing into an attic I can use many things to hold on to while I
step off the ladder. I have no problem with that. In my old house, I
was on the roof many times but not via a ladder. I used an upstairs
window that was conveniently located just above the roof line. I could
open the window and step right on to the roof. But stepping off a
ladder on to the EDGE of a roof with nothing to hold on to just
doesn't seem logical to me. Everyone says hold on to the top part of
the ladder, but I don't see the point of holding on something that is
not attached to anything. I don't see how it is going to provide any
stability, especially once your weight is off the ladder and it
doesn't have a downward force to keep it planted firm into the ground.
One option might be to attach the ladder to the eaves or the roof
surface with some brackets. I have not found any product that will do
this. A really good option would be a mobile staircase system they use
for accessing the stop shelves at places like Home Depot and Lowes.
Sort of like the stairs they use for getting on and off airlines. I
don't think the Safe-T walk-through attachment will work either. What
I need is an attachment that will curve outwards towards the roof
provinding a step and a handrail for at least two feet on the roof so
I don't have to step on the very edge of the roof.
I agree that this is a dangerous moment. I struggled with my 9-foot
roof for years before I tried climbing up into an inside corner, where
the roof turns 90 degrees. You put the ladder into the corner of the V
and climb onto the roof at your side.
It's only 8 ft so just make one. That's what I did. Get two 10 or 12 ft
2x4s. Put rungs (out of 2x3's if you can get them) up to maybe 7 ft. You
end up with a couple of feet of "swimming pool ladder" above the
roofline. Walk on and off roof between the "arms". Obviously this will
not work for big boys unless you make wide rungs.
Use PT if you are gonna store it outside. Probably should use PT anyway.
|----| <--2x3 rungs
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