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ladder techniques


John Dirks Jr
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Lets talk about getting up on roofs. I am looking for advice and certain techniques to get up on multiple level roofs. How does one person safely get a second ladder up onto the first level? How does that person safely position the second ladder to get up to the next level and not damage any materials?

I want to know stuff like that plus whatever else anyone wants to add.

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Originally posted by AHI

Lets talk about getting up on roofs. I am looking for advice and certain techniques to get up on multiple level roofs. How does one person safely get a second ladder up onto the first level? How does that person safely position the second ladder to get up to the next level and not damage any materials?

I want to know stuff like that plus whatever else anyone wants to add.

Bad Idea. It is very dangerous becuse the feet of the ladder sitting on a pitched roof can easily kick out. When they do, the lack of bearing is multiplied greatly causing you to fall. This will more likely happen when coming off the higher roof. If you do decide to use this technique, make sure your in the middle field of the first roof to set the ladder, then secure the top of the rails to the gutter, make sure not to have too much extension so to properly be able to round the ladder on your desent. Too short of an extension is bad too. Aproximatly 2' is good. Your first step when desending is most important. Adjust the ladder so the first run is about 10" from roof line for good footing. Always have your cell phone with you when on a roof and secured well to your body. Best if you use two ladders so that a helper can hold the ladder for you if situation is available. Avoid this situation with one ladder if possible.[:-thumbd
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Personally, I carry a 27' aluminum extension ladder. I only put the ladder on the ground (grass, sidewalk, patio) or on a wood deck (assuming there is a staircase to get it up there). I do not put my ladder on roofs to get up higher. I've seen inspectors puncture rubber and rolled roofs, so I don't put my extension ladder on these types of roofs.

If I can't reach a flat roof safely from the ground (or a window), I note that it is not safely accessible in the report. I don't want to be a statistic.

For pitched roofs, I see what I can from the ground using visual aid. I get up on just about every single level (ranch) and split level, unless weather conditions prevent safe access. My ladder reaches most 2 stories houses as well, although if the ladder barely reaches the gutter, I don't chance it. I see some old 2 and 3 story row homes with roofs that I can't reach, although many of the 3 story units have a rear addition that I can get out the rear 2nd level window and see the 3rd level flat roof using a step ladder.

For flat roofs that I can't see at all or get to with the extension ladder, I simply note that is it past the safe access of a 27' ladder and recommend consulting a qualified roofer to certify the remaining life. Most roofers around here carry ladders much longer than my 27' extension ladder and if they do put a ladder onto a roof to get higher, it is up to them to repair it.

Also, if the ground, ladder, or roof is wet, I do not go on the ladder. I do a visual inspection from the ground and note such in the report.

Many inspectors in my area either carry no ladder or use one of those Little Giants... no idea how they get to 2nd level flat roofs. I assume they do it from the ground with visual aid.

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I use two ladders to get to the tops of roofs all the time. I haul up my Telesteps to the top of the front porch--or whatever--roof, set it up, and climb to the higher portion of the roof. It seems safer to me--I'd rather fall eight or nine feet than twenty. I don't do it if the lower roof is too steeply pitched, but normally it's just fine. Too, The telesteps can straddle a ridge--of say, a garage roof--and allow one to make it up to the ridge of a higher roof.

Sure, I could fall, but it hasn't happened yet. I'm no cowboy, but I figure if I were paying some schmuck to check out a house for me, I'd want him to take a look at the roof if at all possible.

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The only roof that I will get on is one that is no more than a 6/12 pitch. If the home has a second floor or a third floor roof I will do what I can by going across the street and looking with my binoculars, looking from an adjacent window if possible and a very good look from the attic. I'm not paid enough to climb a roof like a monkey. If I can't see a section of the roof, I will tell my client that I could not safely access that area. I have found that my LG 17 will get to just about anything I want to take a look at.

I'm also fairly lucky that most of my inspection have roofs that are 10/12 or better!

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Cool, I started this thread a month and a half ago. I considered it dead and then all the sudden its active.

How many times when you are on a roof do you find yourself needing just a slight boost up in order to be able to look closely at a chimney crown or down a flue? Do you prop a small ladder to the chimney and step up to have a better look?

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Originally posted by AHI

Cool, I started this thread a month and a half ago. I considered it dead and then all the sudden its active.

How many times when you are on a roof do you find yourself needing just a slight boost up in order to be able to look closely at a chimney crown or down a flue? Do you prop a small ladder to the chimney and step up to have a better look?

I do whatever it take to do the best inspection possible, but also try not to hurt myself.

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If you don't go up on walkable roofs around these parts, you'll be writing checks to many past clients. If they don't discover a problem during their ownership, they'll find out about it when the next buyer's inspector does a mediocre inspection. There is an established standard of care that needs to be met, no matter what the published standards don't require.

I gently suggest that HIs who aren't chimney sweeps, and aren't prepared to do Level II inspections, not go climbing on roofs or up chimneys to do a lesser job than the chimney sweep would do.

Send some of those ordained-by-heaven sweeps up here. I've only met 2 that are thorough and don't use every sweep and inspection to swindle homeowners out of thousands.

There are several municipalities here that require chimney certs for resale. I've been involved in hundreds where the sweeps have blatantly prescribed unnecessary work. I also have at least a hundred pics, on my current hard drive, showing obvious issues that were missed by previous, recent inspections.

I ladder-leap-frog at least a couple times each week. I carry up either a 12.5 Tele-steps or a 20' extension. I used to pull up a 32', when needed, but now I can only hoist a 28'.

I've never had a ladder kick out, or even slide a centimeter. I've never damaged a shingle, punctured a membrane or scratched a metal roof. I've never heard of an inspector injury from this practice, but several have occurred from ladders set on decks and slippery patios.

How many times when you are on a roof do you find yourself needing just a slight boost up in order to be able to look closely at a chimney crown or down a flue? Do you prop a small ladder to the chimney and step up to have a better look?

I have a really cool collapsible stepladder and I attached a shoulder strap. When folded it's 6' by 4".

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Originally posted by inspecthistoric

I used to pull up a 32', when needed, but now I can only hoist a 28'.

Bill, that is impressive. A 32' ladder is difficult to balance and position while standing on terra firma, not to mention while straddling another ladder and working on a roof surrounded by windows.

I'm not being contentious about the roof thing, but I'm with Bill. Many problems will be missed if you're standing on the ground staring at a roof with a pair of binoculars.

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I plan on getting up on any roof that is walkable. I will drag up a 6' aluminum if it will help me get a better look at something. I will look down the flue and then still recommend the Level II inspection be done.

I do appreciate the suggestion of mentioning the NFPA recommendation. I may just find some documents and print them them up for hand out on the subject.

I have been planning on compiling a folder full of various handouts to be peeled out where applicable.

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I have a nephew who was working on a 2nd story roof, he does not remember how he fell, but he shattered both his ankles, back, pelvis, and some other stuff. After numerous surgeries and months in the hospital, etc… they finally had to amputee one leg below the knee. His wife had their second child the same week as the accident. No medical insurance, could not pay the rent, the problems are endless, and only 25 years old. You can’t be too careful, one small mistake can ruin many lives.

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Walter ain't saying he's never missed a problem by not walking roofs; he knows the odds. He's just proud of his perfect ("no complaint") record.

A great many of us take pride in the fact that we've saved our clients thousands and thousands of dollars by finding defects only visible from up on the roof.

Binoculars can't see blind sides of deteriorating chimneys, down into chimneys with missing chunks of flues, down into clogged or rusted-through plumbing vent stacks, clogged/leaking dead-end valleys, etc. But we all know that.

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Like I said above,

We've been here before. I bet there are at least 40 roof-walking debates in the archive and every one of them starts out and ends the same way. There's no need to kick the horse repeatedly when someone asks a question that's been oft-asked and oft-answered, just refer them to the archive for this kind of stuff.

OT - OF!!!

M.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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