Ladders: Your Questions Answered

It's no exaggeration to state that ladders are everywhere. From the roofs of skyscrapers to your garage, ladders are an everyday part of modern life.

Everyone from the mastercraftsman to the enthusiastic home DIYer will likely have a ladder tucked away somewhere. However, despite ladders being ubiquitous here at Valentine Ladders, we often answer the same questions about these standard tools. Whether it's enquiries about the materials ladders are made from or questions on safety, it's clear that when a person is in the market for a ladder, they want as much information as possible. That's why we've put together this article, which comprehensively answers some of the most frequently asked ladder questions.


What are ladders made of?

Ladders are typically made of wood, aluminium, or fibreglass.


Are fibreglass ladders stronger than aluminium ladders?

Fibreglass ladders are generally more robust and durable than aluminium ladders but tend to be heavier. Fibreglass ladders are resistant to electrical conductivity and are ideal for use near power lines or electrical equipment. They also do not corrode and can be used in wet or damp conditions. At the same time, aluminium ladders are lightweight and easier to move around but less durable and can't be used near electricity.


When were ladders invented?

The invention of ladders is challenging to pinpoint, as ladders in various forms have likely been used by humans for thousands of years. The earliest ladders were probably made of wood and were used by ancient civilizations for tasks such as climbing trees or reaching high places. The oldest known depictions of ladders are from ancient Egyptian tomb paintings dating back to around 2400 BC. However, ladders as we know them today, with rungs and two vertical supports, were likely developed in the Middle Ages.

How often should ladders be inspected for damage?

Ladders should be inspected before each use to ensure they are in good condition and safe to use. Any defects or damage should be noted, and the ladder should only be used once it has been repaired or replaced. Additionally, ladders should be inspected regularly for wear or damage, such as loose or missing rungs, bent or twisted side rails, and any other structural issues. We recommend that ladders be inspected by a competent person at least once a year or more frequently if they are subject to harsh conditions or heavy use.

How much do ladders cost?

The cost of a ladder can vary greatly depending on the type, size, material, and brand. For example, we sell the Tubesca 2410206 Platinium Single Section Ladder for a very affordable €125.00. While also stocking the Single Section Fibreglass GRP Ladder, retailing for €569.99. 

Your unique needs and available budget should dictate the price you pay for a ladder. If you need help determining what ladder is right for you, our customer service agents would be more than happy to help you decide. 

It's important to note that a ladder may cost more initially, but it will pay for itself in terms of safety and durability. Investing in a good-quality ladder that meets safety standards and can withstand regular use is recommended.

How do loft ladders work?

A loft ladder, also known as an attic ladder, is a type of ladder that allows access to the space above a ceiling. They are typically used to access storage spaces or attics in homes or buildings.

Loft ladders work by being folded up and stored in a compartment built into the ceiling when not in use. When needed, the ladder is pulled down and extended to the floor. The ladder is then locked in place and can be climbed to reach the attic space. Some loft ladders have springs or a counterbalance system that helps to make them easier to open and close. Others may be operated manually.

There are different types of loft ladders, including:

Drop-down ladders: These ladders are hinged at the top and drop down from the ceiling. 

Telescoping ladders: These ladders consist of multiple sections that can be extended and locked into place.

Electric loft ladders: These are operated with a switch or remote control, making them more convenient to use.

Loft ladders are an excellent solution for easy access to attic spaces and adding extra storage space in homes or buildings.

What are folding ladders typically used for?

Folding ladders, also known as step ladders or library ladders, are versatile and multi-purpose ladders that can be used for various tasks, including:

Household tasks: Folding ladders are commonly used for indoor tasks such as changing light bulbs, hanging curtains, or cleaning high places.

Professional use: Folding ladders are also used by painters, electricians, and carpenters for tasks that require reaching high places.

Libraries and bookstores: They are also known as library ladders, used in libraries and bookstores to reach high shelves.

Retail and display: Folding ladders are also used in stores and supermarkets to reach high shelves and change displays.

Step stool: They can also be used as a step stool for reaching items on high shelves or cupboards.

Folding ladders are convenient and easy to use; they can be folded up and stored in small spaces when not in use. They are available in different sizes, materials, and designs to suit various needs and services.

What angle should ladders be at?

The angle at which a ladder should be set up depends on the type of ladder and the task for which it is being used. It is recommended that ladders be set up at a 75.5-degree angle, with the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder being about 1/4 of the ladder's working length. This is the 4-to-1 ratio and is considered the safe angle for most ladders.


For example, if the ladder is 20 feet long when fully extended, the base should be placed 5 feet away from the wall or other vertical surface that the ladder is leaning against. This angle is considered the ideal angle to minimize the chances of the ladder slipping and to provide the best stability.


It's also important to note that different types of ladders have different recommended angles; for example, stepladders should be set up with the spreaders locked and fully open at a 75-degree angle, and extension ladders should be set up at a 75.5-degree angle with the base 1 foot out for every 4 feet of ladder height.


Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the specific ladder you are using and check for stability before climbing and during use.


There you have it, answers to some of the most common ladder questions. If you still have questions that weren't answered above, please get in touch with our offices today. If you have an enquiry about one of our ladder products, please see the buy now pages which include descriptions of individual products. 



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