How to Install a Ladder

The right setup

“I know a lot of people–professionals, even–who have been hurt only because they tried to take a shortcut when setting up their ladders,” says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva.

A ladder must remain stationary in order to be safe. Period. Setting it up correctly is half the battle. This is how proper placement looks.

Footing: Keep it Level

You can level your feet by either digging the ground or using ladder levelers.

Solid Ground for Footing

Place your feet flat on hard, dry ground.

Soft Ground: Footing

Flip the feet upwards on grass or soft ground. Drive the spiked ends into ground.

Correct Angle for Footing

Place the ladder so that its distance from the base to the wall equals one-quarter of its height at its resting point. This creates a 75-degree angle.

To check the angle of your ladder, stand in front of it with your feet touching its feet. Your arms should be extended. Your palms should rest on a platform at shoulder height.

Ladder Tips For Setting Up The Ladder Correctly J
Ladder Tips For Setting Up The Ladder Correctly J

Exterior Wall

Before you lift or set up a ladder, always look at the overhead wires.

Exterior Wall: Avoid Edge

Be sure that the ladder is not too close to the edge.

Exterior Wall: Stabilize

For greater stability and to be able to stand at a safer distance from work, use a ladder standoff (or a stabilizer) around windows.

Jacks for Exterior Wall

Do not use ladder jacks that are higher than 20 feet. You must wear a harness if you are above 10 feet.

Place jacks either on the front or back end of your ladder. Access to another ladder is possible if the planks are in front.

Jacks for Exterior Wall

Only use ladder jacks with Type I or IA ladders

Hook ladder jacks onto 2 rungs of ladders

Planks for Exterior Wall

Only use aluminum scaffolding planks for ladder jacks, or 2×12 wood planks not more than 8 feet in length.

Exterior Wall: Fly

Place the fly section (the one that has the rung locks) at the front. Make sure it is at least 3 feet in length.

Roof: Proper Extension

To reach 3 feet above the surface you are climbing on, extend your ladder.

Roof: Gutter Support

To prevent it being crushed by the ladder, place a 2×4 in a gutter.

Roof: Use rope

To ensure that they are in good condition, inspect the rope and pulley.

Roof: Rung Locks

Securely attach both rung locks to the rungs, and tie the rope to a lower rung.

Roof: Stabilize

Do not rest your extension ladder against a pole or tree, as it could spin and fall.

Safety First: Stepladder

Make sure that all supports/braces under treads are in good condition.

Stepladder: Keep your feet clean

Make sure to keep your treads clean and free from paint, which can cause wood defects.

Stepladder: Steady Feet

Place your feet on stable, level ground.

Stepladder: Get It

Stepladder: Near Door

You should ensure that all doors located next to ladders are locked or blocked.

Stepladder: Get rid of Obstacles

When the ladder is not being used, take all tools and materials off it.

About the Author


Darius Matsumoto

Hi, i am Darius. Woodworking is my another hobby for the last five years. I love to write woodworking project and also ideas.

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