Step Ladders

The Types and

Uses for

Step Ladders


Job over your head? The answer is use Step Ladders
By: The Working Man

Step ladders are probably the most common ladder in the average
home shop or garage, but they also have many uses in the factory
or on the job site.

A step ladder is basically two ladders that are attached by
hinges at one end and by hinged braces in the center so that the
step ladder can be opened up to look like a capital letter A and
braced in that position. The rungs on at least one side are flat
and wide stairs with a non-slip surface. That plus the spread
apart feet make the step ladder more stable than other types of
ladders, and so is good for inexperienced ladder users and work
that requires a lot of movement by the climber, such as painting.

Step ladders are usually shorter than straight ladders and are
not length-adjustable. Step ladders are normally available in
heights from two to twelve feet (.6 to 3.6 meters). The two
ladder parts fold closed for storage or transport.

Most step ladders have a wider top platform and a fold out ledge
for holding your tools or other work supplies, and there are many
kinds of accessories that attach to your stepladder for holding
tools or paint or for other purposes. Many good quality step
ladders have molded non-slip footpads for even more resistance to

Some of the taller and/or higher end stepladders have additional
features such as adjustable length, removable wheels for easier
one-man transport of the ladder, fold down wider steps, and the

Step ladders are usually manufactured of wood, aluminum or
fiberglass, and sometimes of steel. Wood is the traditional
material and is usually lower cost. Wood is fairly non-
electrically conductive as long as it is dry, and if the wood is
not cracked or of poor quality the ladder will be sturdy and long

Aluminum step ladders are lighter than wood or fiberglass, won't rust
or be damaged by water and are strong, but aluminum is very
conductive of electricity and so an aluminum ladder must never be
used anywhere near electrical lines or when using electric tools.

Fiberglass is popular because it is not conductive of electricity
and is strong, but a fiberglass ladder costs more and will be
heavier to transport.

A steel step ladder will be strongest type. Steel won't bend with
weight that will crumple aluminum, it doesn't crack like wood,
and it is much sturdier than fiberglass. Steel does rust though,
so a steel ladder is not a good choice if it will be used or
stored in dampness.

Step ladders come in the usual ladder quality ratings of
consumer, commercial and industrial grades, so be sure that the
ladder you choose can support the weight it will need to carry,
both worker and tools. Also be sure to use your ladder safely,
never stand on the top step or the top of the ladder, be careful
to balance the weight on the ladder, and ask for help if you need

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