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Three section ladders


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This spring I'm buying a new minivan for work and had been planning on putting a roof rack on it to carry a 28' ladder. Browsing online, I discovered that Werner makes a three section Fiberglas 28' 1A, that stores at 11' instead of 14'. A (probably crazy) idea popped into my head. If I remove the passenger seat, I can carry the ladder inside the van, instead of on the roof.

I've never seen a three section ladder, let alone used one. It's 20 pounds heavier (75 lbs.) than the equivalent two section ladder, but I can deal with that. It also costs about $250 more, but that's not really a factor. I'm wondering if three section ladders are a lot more cumbersome to use than the same size two section. Anybody have any experience with them?

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I could probably do better than the $250 difference, which I got from Grainger's site. Their price for it is $680.

I'm not concerned about price so much as useability. I don't want to buy it to find it's a real pain in the neck to use. Even if it is a bear to use, I'm guessing it still has to be easier than my 55 pound Little Giant Model 26.

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I bought a 3 pc 16' that stows inside my 6.5' truck cap and it IS more cumbersome than the typical 16'er.

homedepot.com/buy/werner-16-ft-aluminum-3-section-compact-extension-ladder-225-lb-load-capacity-type-ii-duty-rating--d1216-3.html#.UOowj3ewWSp

So I would say it is likely that if all things being equal...........

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I can't tell you about the 3 piece but I can tell you that carrying ladders inside out of the wind and weather is a big benefit for me, especially when working in the city and driving on the expressways. The water when it rains is pretty easy to deal with but the slim from road spray makes roof mounted ladders a pain.

I can also identify with the model 26 Little Giant being a beast to set up; it stays at home on all but the tallest jobs.

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75 lbs is simply too heavy for a ladder, IMO.

I know fiberglass is safer for working near power lines, but you can also avoid setting up the ladder near power lines.

Here's an idea. Take out you normal 28 footer. Tie bricks to the rungs until it weighs 75 lbs. Tie 'em tight, eh?

Then stand ladder up against your house. Ouch. Then take it down without crushing any shrubs or stepping into a goldfish pond. Ouch again.

If you made your own 3 section ladder from two aluminum extension ladders, I guess you would be using it at your own risk. Just a thought.

If the feet of an aluminum ladder are super insulated, would you still get shocked if it hits a power line? Maybe just when your foot hits the ground.

Re: road slime and grunge, how about building a ladder case?

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I'm not specifically looking for a Fiberglas ladder, but the shortest Aluminum three piece one I can find is 36'. I've always used aluminum ladders during my inspection career, going back tho the extension ladder I used until I switched from a pickup to a mini van in 2003. You just have to not be stupid when you're around overhead power lines.

The weight isn't a huge factor. I'm close to 300 pounds myself. At least until I get older, I can deal with a 75 pound ladder. I wouldn't be using it every day.

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Re: road slime and grunge, how about building a ladder case?

That might help with wind noise, too. Maybe not an issue for some but wind playing a tune through the holes in the rungs drives me nuts. I also seem to remember someone using great stuff to quieten wind noise.

I did that. I did it the day after I drove my new ladder for a long road trip in the key of B flat. [:)]

You only need to muffle the rungs in the leading section to above the cab.

I use my Jaws 17' for everything up to 1 1/2 storeys, then I go to the 28' extension. The Jaws fits my 6' truck box. So, to gain access to the gutter of taller houses, I once tried a home made 6 foot extension clamped to the top section of my Jaws with U-bolts. It was a hassle and I only did it once.

If I didn't have the roof rack, I would consider adding a middle section to my Jaws ladder. The middle section would have knuckle joints on either end, and it would require some assembly work.

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That might help with wind noise, too. Maybe not an issue for some but wind playing a tune through the holes in the rungs drives me nuts. I also seem to remember someone using great stuff to quieten wind noise.

Kurt turned me onto that trick. It works amazingly well.

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That might help with wind noise, too. Maybe not an issue for some but wind playing a tune through the holes in the rungs drives me nuts. I also seem to remember someone using great stuff to quieten wind noise.

Kurt turned me onto that trick. It works amazingly well.

i did it too but though I was being original :/

and....if all things being equal, the bigger 3 pc would be more cumbersome as well!

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  • 5 months later...

I ordered the 3-section ladder in February from a local ladder company, Beth-Allen Ladder. I like to shop local when I can. I bought three Little Giant's from them over the years. I was told it would take 3-4 weeks. I was OK with that. To make a long story short, nearly three months later, after a half-dozen inquiries, I was told they were told by their distributor that it wasn't available. WTF?

I then ordered it from Industrial Ladder (thanks for the tip Tom) at a much better price than at Beth-Allen - $322.62. Shipping was $40 and there was no sales tax. Two days after I ordered it, a pickup truck with Florida plates backed into my driveway with my ladder. Sweet!

I used it for the first time today and I'm quite pleased with it. It is really heavy, having two fly sections, resulting in an extra section of overlap, but it's rock solid. I'm not going to miss the Little Giant oscillating and bending in the middle as I climb it.

I still haven?t bought a new van, so I'm temporarily transporting it on top of the mini van. Because one section is shorter than the other two, I can open the rear hatch nearly all the way. That was an unexpected surprise.

I give this ladder two thumbs up.

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