Home And Housing

The Difference Between Extension, Combination, and Loft Ladders: A Guide to Ladder Varieties

Believe it or not, there is a huge difference between loft ladders, step ladders, and extension ladders. Sure, each of these ladder varieties serve a similar purpose, but it is important to consider the task at hand before landing on the right ladder for the job. For instance, you would never use a step ladder to reach the loft of your home, that would just be plain silly – not to mention unsafe.


So which ladder should be used for which task? You might think the answer to this question would be a simple one, but it’s not at all. Follow this guide on how to choose the right ladder to help clear up any confusion on the commonly-used ladder types.


Things to Consider Before Choosing a Ladder


The first thing to consider when deciding on a ladder is the task at hand. In other words, what are you trying to accomplish. Will this ladder be used regularly to access a space within the home, or is it for a specific task that needs to be completed – like changing a lightbulb or cleaning out the gutters. The first step is to always determine your purpose for needing the ladder.


Next, consider the space where the ladder will be used, like whether or not it will be resting on an even surface. Also think about the trends of the space, like if it is a high-traffic area (e.g. lots of construction workers) or a relatively quiet area (e.g. your home’s living room). Then, think about anything that could serve as an obstruction to the ladder (e.g. tree branches).


After thinking about the task at hand and the space, it is time to think about yourself. It is important to understand all of the safety procedures for using the ladder. Not only that, it is crucial to know that you are able to use the ladder safely. Always look into the ladder’s weight limitations and make sure that your weight does not exceed that number.


Ladder Varieties


One of the most commonly used ladder varieties is the combination ladder. Just as the name suggests, a combination ladder offers a combination of uses. According to the American Ladder Institute, “a Combination Ladder is a portable ladder capable of being used as Stepladder, or as a Single or Extension Ladder. It may also be capable of being used as a Trestle Ladder or as a Stairwell Ladder. Its components may be used as Single Ladders.”


A loft ladder is not actually meant for completing tasks around the home, but rather it is only meant to access a high-up space (AKA a loft). There are many different types of loft ladders to choose from, ranging in functionality (like folding, sliding, or fixed) to materials used (like aluminum or timber).


Another common type of ladder for home improvement projects is the extension ladder. This ladder is known to extend the furthest, making it ideal for high-up tasks (anywhere up to 17 feet). Follow safety protocols is extremely important with an extension ladder; most ladder-related accidents happen when using this variety.

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