Tips for purchasing a ladder or stairs

Are you planning to buy a ladder or stairs? We advise you to take a moment to consider all the jobs you may need it for, not only now, but also in the future.

A new ladder is a one-time purchase. To be sure that you make the best choice, it is good to ask yourself several things beforehand.

How often do you need the ladder?

Professional ladders have different quality requirements than household ladders. If you are a fanatic DIYer who does not turn down jobs at dangerous heights, you are probably willing to invest a little more in quality and safety. Professional ladders can withstand daily use and meet strict safety regulations. The safety requirements for ladders and stairs are laid down in the NEN 2484 standards.

How high do you want to be able to work?

Household stairs are all you need to hang a lamp or wallpaper the walls. But if you want to clean the gutter, you’ll need a little more reach. The decisive factor is the standing height. That is the maximum height at which you can stand on the ladder. Add two meters to that, and you have the working height – the height your hands can reach. We must point out here that it is safer not to work from the top rung of the ladder. Avoid getting higher than the fourth step from the top. In professional environments, this is even one of the regulations.

Do you want to be able to work free-standing?

The problem with a simple ladder is that you need to prop it up against a wall. And that’s not always there, for example when you want to work in the middle of a room. Household stairs offer a solution for small indoor jobs. For higher work without support, you need a folding ladder or a multi-purpose ladder. You can put these against the wall like simple ladders, but you can also fold them into a position that enables you to work free-standing.

How easy should you be able to transport it?

You can face storage and portability problems with a large ladder. Of course, it is also possible to fold or collapse high ladders, but you always have the minimum length. That is a point to take into account, especially if you do odd jobs in other places than your own home or garden.

So, which ladder or stairs should you choose?

When you have a clear idea of your needs and requirements, it is time to make your choice. In addition to a simple, straight ladder made of wood or aluminium, there are several options:

Household safety ladder

aluminium household step ladders

A handy step ladder for all kinds of chores in and around the house. Can be used free-standing and easy to store, but the maximum working height is at best four meters.

Double-sided step ladder

aluminium double stairs

Double-sided ladders are the (semi) professional variant of household safety ladders. This type is available in many versions, from two steps to stairs with a working height of five meters.

Extension ladder

aluminum extension ladder

An extension ladder consists of several parts that you can slide up over each other. This way, you have enough height for jobs on the roof. Keep in mind that the risks increase with height. The legislation for professional working environments prescribes that the standing height on a ladder may not exceed 7.5 meters. Scaffolding should be used at higher altitudes. An extension ladder also takes up quite a bit of space when retracted and is, therefore, not that easy to transport.

Multi-purpose ladder

aluminum multi-purpose ladder

You can use a multi-purpose ladder as a simple ladder against the wall or as a double-sided ladder. The different positions and working heights make it suitable for a variety of jobs.

Folding ladder

folding ladder in three positions

A folding ladder is even more versatile. In addition to being both a simple ladder and double-sided ladder, it can also be placed in the scaffolding position.

Telescopic ladder

telescopic ladder retracted and extended

A telescopic ladder cannot be used free-standing, but there are other advantages. When folded, it takes up little space and, you can even take it with you on your bike. Telescopic ladders are lightweight and of professional quality. The working height varies and can go up to a maximum of 4.6 meters.

Working safely on a ladder

In 2019, Klium commissioned a study into accidents while doing odd jobs. The unfortunate, but not surprising, result was that no less than 40% of all DIYers, who were treated in the emergency room, had fallen off the ladder. Ladders are by far the most dangerous tools, and therefore, doing jobs on a ladder requires the necessary precautions in all circumstances. Read our 10 tips for working safely with a ladder.

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