What to Look for When Buying a Stepladder and How To Use It Properly

step ladder safety tips What to Look for When Buying a Stepladder and How To Use It Properly
A tool left off many lists that every household should have is a 6-foot stepladder. That height is useful for most interior jobs and working on the lower portion of the exterior of the home such as the roof line.
Don’t skimp on quality. A good ladder should last a long time. Metal, wood, or fiberglass are all great choices but a quality ladder will have the following features:
+ Wider spread between the legs
+ Rustproof hardware
+ Heavy side rails
+ Sturdy rungs and steps
+ Firm stance when open


When using a stepladder follow these important safety tips and never compromise. If you find yourself needing to cheat a bit to arrange the ladder a certain way or you need more height, just get a different ladder or alter the situation to fit the ladders capabilities.
1. Lock it down – Before climbing make certain the metal braces are firmly locked in place and all the way down.
2. Don’t climb to high – Never go higher than the 2nd step from the top and never step on the top platform or paint tray.
3. Face the ladder – Arrange your ladder so you are doing work facing the ladder and not away from it.
4. Watch the doors – If the ladder must be placed near a door make sure it can’t swing open and knock over the ladder and also make anyone inside or at the job site aware that you are just outside the door.
6. Careful of slick floors – If a ladder is to be used indoors on a slick floor, nail old pieces of rubber to the legs or cover them with ballons.
7. Keep Shoes Clean – Check that the soles of your shoes are clear of mud, water and grease for ascending a ladder.
8. Ladder maintenance – Maintain a wood ladder by periodically sealing it with a varnish and always use clear so you can spot cracks.

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timothy dahl profile What to Look for When Buying a Stepladder and How To Use It Properly

Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.