Bob Vila Radio: Safe Setup for Extension Ladders

Extension ladders can be more dangerous than useful, if you're not careful, so remember these rules of thumb.

For committed do-it-yourselfers, extension ladders are a must-have. When you’re using them, though, it’s important to keep a few safety pointers in mind.

How to Use an Extension Ladder


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen to BOB VILA ON EXTENSION LADDER SAFETY or read the text below:

First, never try to set up an extension ladder when it’s extended. Instead, position the ladder where you want it, then raise the upper half at least three feet above the roof line. Make sure the bottom of the ladder is angled out about a quarter of its height.

Don’t try shifting the position of the ladder, even slightly, while you’re standing on it. Better to make an extra trip down to move the ladder properly. And be sure you stay well clear of any overhead electrical wires when you’re moving the ladder, especially if it’s a metal ladder. Forgetting that could cost you your life.

Finally, make sure you don’t position the bottom of the ladder in front of a door that opens outward. Sure, that may seem like a no-brainer, but such mishaps send people to the hospital every year.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.

  • Favorites Flipboard Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email AddThis
Tools & Workshop