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I am going to retire some old HEAVY wooden ladders I have been using for a long time.  I think I want to buy four new ones.  Two 16 footers and two 24 footers.  I do general home repair including roofing and siding.  Thus I work from a plank quite often.  What do you folks suggest as to brand and supplier for my replacements?  I want to go with fiberglass.  I have had some alum. ladders in the past and just did not like them for many reasons.  Sooooo.........what do you think?  Thanks for your time.      Mike L.

(post #123910, reply #23 of 99)

My latest issue of a roofing publication had a good article on ladder innovations,some new ideas for more function from the age old units.

two items made by  one a pass thru attachment to the top of the ladder that gives you something to hold on to as you get off the top-instead of having to step around it.Another is a clever dolly to use to carry ladders while on site.

One other excellent looking item by is a new and improved leg leveling device which doesn't require bolting to the leg but looks really rugged and strong.

Has anyone used any of these items?

I'm ordering the pass thru unit-looks perfect for exiting a ladder onto a tower of scaffolding.

(post #123910, reply #24 of 99)

Regarding the walk through, OSHA regulations require 3 rungs above the wall, right?

(post #123910, reply #25 of 99)

This item takes the place of three rungs and gives you open space to pass thru ,making it actually safer than stepping around the ladder in a conventional set up.

The three rungs above is to provide a hand hold which this device does nicely.

Check it out.

I'll report back after I've used it.

(post #123910, reply #29 of 99)


 I was not aware that there was a better grade of ladder than the type IA

Next ladder I buy will be a type IAA-----probably a 28 footer

 thanks for the tip


(post #123910, reply #35 of 99)

I know Little Giant has 1AA ladders- and I have a Louisville 6' stepladder that is a 1AA.

Don't know about regular extension ladders with a 1AA rating- maybe at a contractor supply house.



(post #123910, reply #36 of 99)

I dunno ...I have both Werner 28 in FG and alum. I like them both. We use nuthing but alum on every job since I started w/ Grant over a yr ago.

Advantage is we recycle them as chicken ladders and often on a new roof we have to screw through the rails into the sheathing just so we can lay pans to clamp saw the Gainsway pics this summer?

I agree with almost every other reason you wrote about, but ...I think both deserve merit.

I'd hate to have to be stuck with a fly section from a 40' fg as achickenladder. Alum is MUCH better IMO.  

(post #123910, reply #37 of 99)

Ok, so I get it that I was completely excluded from this conversation save for a passing remark about "chinese" junk gorilla ladders. I don't care to defend the gorilla ladder. I wasn't in the mood to contemplate ladder purchases that day.

As for wooden ladders, which originated the above purchase. I mentioned how I don't like them as they seem to need adjustment -- they swell and shrink with the weather and time.

I am curious about the old wooden extension ladders. My oldtimer partner says he owned a 40' wooden ladder and loved it.

What are they like and how long did they generally last? how long did it take for them to rot? Did they tend to break easily? Are they cumbersome to move around? Did you find them to get rickety and loose often?

Just idle curiosity because I've only seen a few wooden ladders in all my short career at this.

As for myself, I will always buy fiberglass and high rated as well. When I carry the fiberglass ext. ladder and feel its weight and how smoothly it pushes up in place instead of the clackety-stop-clackety-stop of the aluminum ladder I think, "Thank god." and climb with more confidence.

(post #123910, reply #38 of 99)

Yeah, feel more confident on the high FG ext. ladders for sure. Glad to have them when setting up for something labor or time extensive.

But I've got to get an aluminum too 'cause those fg can wear you out pretty quick when you have to continually move them around.


be planning for the long haul


'Nemo me impune lacesset'
No one will provoke me with impunity



'Nemo me impune lacesset'
No one will provoke me with impunity

(post #123910, reply #39 of 99)

I have had experience with only one 40' wooden extension ladder. It was stored indoors, so rot was not an issue. I did not like it.

It was heavy as heck and there was plenty of give in it- not that it is bad, but I suppose wood would give more than aluminum or fiberglass. Given the quality of wood available, I suppose that a good quality tall wooden extension ladder is going to be pricey.

Another shop had plenty of wooden stepladders. Those were heavier than fiberglass versions. Yes, the steel rods under the rungs needed tightening once and a while. No rot issues there, either.

When I asked about the wood ladders, bosses at both shops told me that the wood ladders lasted longer than the fiberglass ones. Not from normal wear and tear, but from employee abuse.  

(post #123910, reply #40 of 99)

Interesting...thanks for your information.

(post #123910, reply #41 of 99)


I can see you are fervent about your beliefs so I won't be bothered to try to sway your thinking-just a couple points to ponder.

1  How many manufacturers produce a triple stage type 1 ladder with 3 20' sections   a 60 ex.ladder?  I own 2 that are made of alum.

2   How many Fire Depts in the country use fiberglass ladders as there means of accessing burning buildings?

Best regards,


(post #123910, reply #42 of 99)

 Excellent points walter---well played indeed ! LOL

of course------ I would counter with

A)--- how many utility linemen do you see with aluminum ladders?

I think that trumps your points #1 & #2   LOL

 BTW------- regaurding the  3 stage ladder---------- I would say that is an ALMOST irrelevant consideration as a 3 stage ladder is a considerable rareity-------------- pretty much entirely un-needed for just about anybody on this forum

In fact---in 18-20 years I have only had to access one roof I couldn't work from a 32 ft. ladder ( A press box on top of a high school football stadium)

Of course---if you are doing a lot of church work---things might be different. ( I have only done 2 churches---and they required nothing more than the 32 ft. either.

 also keep in mind that the original poster was considering 2@16ft. and 2@24ft.

He doesn't seem to need my 28ft or my 32 ft.-----which I can't quite picture----- but maybe he operates in an area  dominated by ranches and capes????

 Best wishes, Stephen

(post #123910, reply #43 of 99)

I've used a few ladders in my days. Still do, but we are eliminating a lot of that usage with the Skytrak.

My favorite ladder is the 20' staightlegged wood 1A extension ladder. It's very versatile, light, fast and gets you up high enough for most single family work. I'd always carry one longer 28' aluminum ladder for the higher stuff. I normally kept a 32' alumimnum ladder at home and used it once or twice a year.

I hate fiberglass ladders or stepladders. They never feel quite as stable as the wood ladders. Perhaps the uneven terrain and weird places that we have to lean to might be a reason why I've formed my opinions. The glass ladders are just too twisty for my tastes.

Glass step ladders are horrible even on flat decks.




keep looking for customers who want to hire  YOU.. all the rest are looking for commodities.. are you  a commodity ?... if you get sucked into "free estimates" and  "soliciting bids"... then you are a commodity... if your operation is set up to compete as a commodity, then have at it..... but be prepared to keep your margins low and your overhead  high...."

From the best of TauntonU.

(post #123910, reply #45 of 99)

 now to be fair blue-------- most of the houses you are framing aren't wired yet --are they?

 and here--- I would say only maybe 1/3 of the 2 story houses we work could be accessed from a 24 ft ladder----none from a 20 ft. ladder

(post #123910, reply #48 of 99)


Yes if you're working only 20' in the air around power lines all day then fiberglass is far superior to alum.

My point was that alum is more rugged and safer from purely a structural standpoint.Apparently you don't use them with a pick up 32' or so.When you look down and see the belly that develops in a 40' fiberglass type 1A at that level of service you just migh S--t yourself.It's really scary and I'd never use them for that again.

I have 2- 40',2-32' ,4-24' in fiberglass which I use for access lots of times,but I rarely use them with a 24' pick unless the ladders are only up a few rungs.

I know most people will never require a 60' ladder-I only use them occaisionally-but I'll never be able to use one of fiberglass because those who produce them want no part in making a ladder like that.It would be unsafe structurally-as someone said -chance of catastrofic failure.

So in summation,yes if all your work is close to the ground and possibly near power lines,then yes fiberglass is tremendous.But please don't lecture the rest of us who work up high on safety issues cause you're not qualified to speak on such matters.

Best regards,


(post #123910, reply #50 of 99)

 walter--------- if you read the original poster

 he is describing use very different from YOURS

 in fact-- he is describing use almost identical to MINE

so---if anything your 40ft high pick story is bordering on the irrelevant for me---and possibly the original poster.

 Be that as it may-------- I will cease "preaching"

 but I remain safe on a pick run between a 28 ft and a 32 ft. fiberglass ladders

 truly best wishes to you,


BTW walter--------- the ladders under discussion by the original poster were 16 ft and 24 ft.-------- in addition to those I reported on my experiences with 28 ft and 32 ft.

I will confess it miffs me a bit  when you start talking irrelevant smack about  60 ft extensions ladders and how I am not qualified to comment.  WTF?

the discusion---PRIMARILY was 16,24,28 and 32 ft.----who in their right mind is gonna NOT use a 24 ft.--- because YOU don't think the same material is safe over a 40 fter-------- so what---completely irrelevant---and in point of fact---not even under consideration.

there are about 4 topics here I AM qualified to talk about--- and in fact I confine my  conversation here to pretty much those 4 topics.

 If ya don't like it ,Walter----go pound sand at the top of your 60 ft ladder LOL.

 I tried to play nice  Walter---but ya just had to push me  LOL

 Now---lemme buy ya a beer or the beverage of your choice

 Best wishes, Stephen

Edited 1/3/2006 4:39 pm ET by Hazlett

(post #123910, reply #51 of 99)


The pick you use is Aluminum I suppose for your roof work,resting on two fiberglass ladders with alum . ladder jacks.

After all your talk of esposing safety-you STRADDLE A POORLY INSULATED  electric line ,trying to wrestle an alum. pick onto this situation.

And you think some of us are working unsafely!

I just hope your comp carrier doesn't appear on site unannounced to witness that debaucle.

Now I see why your entire reason for choosing glass over alum. is based on fear of getting hurt.

You ought to consider having the power co. wrap your jobs before starting.

Edited 1/3/2006 4:35 pm ET by theslateman

(post #123910, reply #52 of 99)

 Sorry slateman-------- but no where did I say I was putting a pick on THAT ladder--------- I am climbing it though

 Again---- you are reading things in---that just aren't there

Best wishes, Stephen

(post #123910, reply #54 of 99)


Thanks for the offer of the O'Douls my drink of choice.I'm having one now as I cook supper.

Sorry if I ruffled your feathers,but you and Nikkiwood started discussing strength and other topics way back in this thread-and my interjections were related to those topics not whatever kind of smack you called it.

I notice a lot of posts evolve from the OP's question-I don't think mine are off the mark in that respect.

We have legitamit differences in what we prefer and our work is different.I was pointing out that Alum . is just as safe or safer than glass in certain situations.

The 60' ladder was just an illustration of that point as was the reason Firefighters use alum-for strength concerns primarily.

You kept espousing glass as superior to alum. at all times which is just your opinion ,not fact.

So if you must, call me whatever-but I haven't resorted to name calling with you-just calling them as I see them.

I think I have more glass ladders than you do so don't just summarily reject my postings because I'm relatively new here.

Best regards,and thanks for the drink.

Have a prosperous and safe 06


(post #123910, reply #55 of 99)

I think "FG vs Alum" is the new "wormdrive vs sidewinder"  .

Looks to me like it's coming down to the same conculsion of many of those other hot topics....... the best choice is whatever you're most comfortable with.

(post #123910, reply #58 of 99)

Lemme throw some gas on this fire..LOL

Today, Dale ( 220 lbs)  me, (175 lbs) 24' 500 lb rated 16" pic, were hanging gutter...pic is maybe 100lbs? I dunno, I can carry it solo purty well...any way..I had my Stanley 20' alum from wallworld ( really light and quick to scoot around) and DAle had his 16' Louisville on grade above mine, witha broken rung and shovel handle drove thru it..

Not an OSHA type scene, so speaking of this thread with him, we TRIED to see if anything could "Give", we even BOTH got on one end ..low to ground of course...

NAda, zilch, both ladders are still fine, and so are we. ALL the ratings are VASTLY under sized, even the 200lb rating on that crappy 70 dollar Stanley...

As far as power lines? Common sense MY house, that is why y'all saw one of each when I first tore out the west wall..I put the orange nearest the wires..geeze.

I don't think anyone should duplicate our "test" cuz we know how to land, if something should give way.

Just adding fuel , just adding fuel..(G)  

(post #123910, reply #64 of 99)

  sphere----- you and dale are lightweights

 I got at least 20 pounds on dale alone. LOL

It's coming off an hour at a time on this freaking exercise bike though.


(post #123910, reply #67 of 99)

"we even BOTH got on one end ..low to ground of course..."

But that is not worse case.

If you want to try it them have them at full extension and then try this in the middle of the ladder.

And of course there is some safety margin built in.

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #123910, reply #68 of 99)

I am the original poster on this topic.  Whow.................I never thought there would be so much lively discussion.  I did a great deal of roofing and siding work in the Akron, Ohio area some years back.  I always used wooden ladders of which I still have.  My best two are 24 footers with laminated side rails.  Those are two tuff ladders.  Many times I had my Werner 24' HD pick on them, alum ladder jacks, two guys and a square or square and a half of three tab shingles.  But I most always felt safe.  I hate looking down and seeing that "bellying ladder thing'.


I plan on starting back doing a little of that type of work again thus my questions.  You folks all make good points.  Espec. the one about alum ladders just taking off on you and skating along the wall or gutter.  BTW, we tried to never lean againt the gutter for anything if at all possible.  If we had to we would place the ladder very vertical.  I had some alum ladders in my arsonal but I did not like them much except at set-up or tear down time.  They also slide nice up onto the truck racks!!  I still have a 40 foot alum that takes two men and a boy to extend because it got tweaked a little some years back.


The main thing coming out of all of this is to use equipment that is safe and you feel comfortable with.  A two man crew has different considerations than a big crew.  In my judgement the larger the crew the more idiot proof things have to be.  If you are using people out of the hall you best have what they are used to on hand. 


I have some time before I have to buy these so I guess I might be checking out eBay and the local bargain hunter.  THANKS for all the input.


Mike L.

(post #123910, reply #70 of 99)


 I work almost entirely in Akron------ actually --almost entirely in Firestone Park

 do we know  each other ????

 give me an email sometime if ya want---- If we are compatible -------maybe we can pair up for a few things this spring .

 Ladders Unlimmited up in cleveland will set ya up right with those ladders-------and might cut ya a deal if ya buy 'em all at once.

 I have bought ladder racks for 2 different trucks there and any number of ladders, pic's, jacks etc.

 good luck to ya,


(post #123910, reply #72 of 99)

Actually, we did. I just didn't want scare everybody thinking we do that all the time. 

New job today a 40' ladder won't reach, so we build scaffold in the AM.

ougtta call us "Gutters Galore" lately.  

(post #123910, reply #73 of 99)

When a 40'er won't reach.... it's time for me to go home and watch Sportscenter.

God bless ya up there dude.  Yer a better man than me.

(post #123910, reply #74 of 99)

You can borrow one of my aluminum 60's if you promise to return it in the same condition.

(post #123910, reply #75 of 99)

I've only even seen a 60' ladder once in my life.  I still have nightmares about it.

(post #123910, reply #76 of 99)


Once it's up it's a treat to climb.

There are spots where a boom truck can't access so it can come in handy.

Best  Walter