Jump to content

Ladder Technique


Recommended Posts

Welcome to the profession and the forum, stay safe.

Thank you very much, Charlie.

One thing I've noticed over the years is how unfamiliar a ladder seems the first time I ascend it after placement. Over the course of a project, I get more at ease with each use.

With home inspections, I expect it will be a rare occasion to have more than a single ascent. I'll have to focus better on positive placement of the feet each and every time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ascending is rarely a problem. It's descending that's the bitch. That first step from the roof to the ladder is where it can all go wrong.

I've posted this before, but it's worth repeating. Get a small welding clamp and pin your ladder to the gutter. It makes the ladder rock solid and is way better than a bungee cord.

Click to Enlarge
tn_20161020154620_021115-007.jpg

73.34 KB

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ascending is rarely a problem. It's descending that's the bitch. That first step from the roof to the ladder is where it can all go wrong.

OK, short poll..... Who sets the ladder up well above the eave and steps off to the side (as the experts tell us) and who sets it up a little shy and steps over the top run onto the roof?

I've posted this before, but it's worth repeating. Get a small welding clamp and pin your ladder to the gutter. It makes the ladder rock solid and is way better than a bungee cord.

Maybe the single most useful and cheap safety tip going.....screw bungees...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Over the side on flat roofs with a couple/three feet above the gutter. Over the top on pitched roofs.

Going down, like any cat knows, is the dangerous part. Many cats wait for the fire dept.

The first step from roof to ladder is critical. I try to stay away from stupid macho roof climbing decisions. Falling is not a good thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like plenty of ladder above the gutter. That's your handhold coming down.

If you do that, then you must go around the side.

My Jaws folding ladder is narrow at the top unless I've added the top extension. The extra extension comes off easy, making the ladder very light and also easy to slide out of a vehicle.

The Little Giant is scary to use "properly" because of the flare at the top. I see why LG users step over, but that means you need to keep the top short.

This puts you facing downhill at the lip of the roof. Always take your time at that stage, plant each foot. One day one foot will land on a loose shingle, so always be ready for that.

I used to walk up and down a ladder with a bundle of cedar shakes or a roll of tar paper on my shoulder. For that, we would have the ladder on a low slope so that you could walk down facing out. Yikes when I think about that now. But for inspections, no, you want the ladder steep so it doesn't bend the gutter.

If you plant both toes at the foot of the ladder, your hands should just reach the ladder. That is the angle you want to get used to.

Welcome and BTW, search this forum for hours of archived discussions on every subject under the sun, except for maybe the Model Y Ford. Why not the Model Y? [:)]

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, Jim, I stated that backwards...descending is always the harder part. Thanks for posting the pics, by the way. I like your tie-down methods, both top and bottom.

Thanks for the invite, Les. We'll definitely have to get together sometime.

As for the ladder, over the top when I can. Maybe using a vice grip on a gutter will give me a better appreciation for the side approach.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Grant.

I go over the top of ladder. When descending my approach to getting back on ladder is to crouch low and lean with majority of body mass over roof supported by right hand planted on the roof. This way if I or the ladder slips, I'm falling onto the roof rather than down the ladder. I'll extend right foot onto a rung near the gutter, transfer some of the weight, place left foot on next rung down and transfer the remainder if weight to the ladder. The only thing I've learned to pay attention to and avoid is getting pants leg of shorts hung up on top of the ladder rail.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, John...and good catch mentioning the pants leg. I hate it when that has happened.

As these comments continue, I start wondering if we ought to begin a new poll to see how many inspectors have been stranded on a roof whether a ladder fell, was knocked down, was removed, etc.

I'm glad we all have a personal respect for safety in whatever method we use.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A photo of my ladder anti-slide for decks. It doubles for testing garage door anti-entrapment. Only time I fell was getting down and the ladder feet slipped back on the deck, dropped me one story to the deck and cracked a vertebra in my back. Not fun.

Click to Enlarge
tn_20161027215035_Ladderantislide.jpg

37.17 KB

Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, that's way more dangerous than a lot of ladder stuff....the slip on the deck thing. I've had it happen; I was lucky and just barked my shin on a rung. Same thing with freshly sealed asphalt drives...all that shiny new sealant is slick as grease when it's wet.

I always tie off on decks, although I might start running in some screws with my impact driver.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Charlie, that is a good design.

Plastic deck planks are the worst for having the ladder suddenly slip out from under you. I remember one deck had so much leaves, moss and debris on it, I didn't realize it wasn't wood. The ladder feet kicked out as I was starting the descent. I did a belly flop onto the low-pitch roof and caught the ladder with my feet. Pretty agile for an old timer. When I got down, I saw my fresh skid marks revealed slimy plastic planks.

Yes, I have had the 24' ladder fall sideways in a gust of wind while I was walking the roof. But I was lucky that time because it hung up on a scupper drain and I was able to wrestle it back up for the climb down. A buddy had to call the fire dept once when he lost his ladder. A bungee cord or clamp would have been good for all of those scenarios.

Re: sidestep, you don't push or pull sideways on the ladder. You come down to grip the ladder but keep weight on your feet, and then pivot to face the roof. You can shift some weight straight down on the ladder as you swing your leg out. Your foot goes down on the rung below the gutter. Facing the roof and bent forward, your body weight is naturally over the roof until you have that foot firmly placed on the rung. That anchors the ladder against the gutter. Your other foot can then come off the roof to land on the rung below. It becomes natural after a while and there is no snagging of pant legs ever.

This technique saved me from a bad fall several times when the ladder feet slipped on slippery decks. I was able to flop onto the lip of the roof, where facing out, I would have crashed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...