Sure, climbing ladders is hazardous, and you could end up with injuries if you don’t take the necessary precautions. So what should you do?
The Consumer Products Safety Commission in 2012 revealed that up to 250,000 American citizens got injuries and were required to seek medical attention as a result of climbing ladders.
And according to a sixteen-year study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine indicated that ninety-seven percent of accidents resulting from ladders occurred at home. So the advice I’m going to give in a short while should keep you from being part of the next statistic.
Now, let’s face it: setting up a ladder can be challenging, especially when you have to reach the second or third floor. You’ll be probably wondering how you will use your ladder on the roof.
It could be that the roof you want to climb has a steep incline and you are not sure how you can safely level it, and perhaps, how you can prevent the shingles from damaging.
You are thinking of fixing something on your roof. It could be that you are just looking forward to cleaning all the dirt and debris on your roof – whatever it could be, don’t fret.
Because in this post, I’m going to walk you through how you can stabilize your ladder. Let’s dive in.
Quick Safety Tips
- When using a ladder to climb up your roof, it would help if you made sure that all the locks on your ladder are correctly engaged.
- You should use a ladder to climb the roof only on a level or stable surface. If not, make sure that the ladder you are using is secured at the top or bottom to avoid displacement.
- Make sure that you have checked in case there are any electric hazards before you begin working on your ladder.
- Be sure to use a harness whenever necessary.
- It would help if you have a friend spot and even support the ladder.
That said, you should make sure that you have set up your ladder correctly so that you don’t end up damaging your roof.
Additionally, be sure to use your ladder pivots or ladder pads because protecting your roof will save you the time of continually repairing your shingles.
What You Need to Do Before Using Your Ladder
Sure, you want to get on your ladder and carry out your task as fast as possible, but before you do that, there are a couple of things you need to consider.
One of the critical things is to secure your safety while working on your ladder. So below are some of the considerations to guide you before climbing your ladder:
- You need to make sure that you are appropriately dressed before climbing the ladder. Put on a slip-proof shoe that will prevent you from slipping and falling off your ladder. If you like, put on gloves to help you hold the grip more firmly. And because you don’t want to slip and fall off your ladder, these precautions are a must.
- The weather also matters a lot. Make sure that you climb a ladder on a dry and serene day. Don’t climb a ladder on a rainy day or when the wind is harsh because the chances are that you will slip and fall off.
- You may also want to check your ladder steps and see if they have debris or any dirt. If your ladder steps have dirt or debris, it will help if you cleaned them before climbing your ladder to prevent unnecessary accidents.
- Also, make sure that you have set up your ladder on level ground to prevent it from wobbling the moment you start working on your roof. Finally, make sure that the three feet of the ladder extends above its edge.
- You would also want to measure the length of the ladder from the ground to the roof using a tape measure. Make sure that the edge of your ladder is placed one foot from the edge. Once you have measured the length, divide your total ladder length by four, then position the base of your ladder at the right distance from the story. If you want additional support, be sure to place a wooden block at the bottom of your ladder. In case you don’t have a tape measure, you can count the rungs.
- Once you have done that, you need to stand at the bottom step of your ladder using your both feet. Press down to set the ladder into the ground. Once you are sure that the ladder is firm, climb the ladder until you reach the edge of the roof. For your safety, you shouldn’t go above the three ladder rungs.
- When done with whatever project you were doing on the roof, you need to climb down safely when facing the ladder. You need to use both hands to hold firmly and place your feet at the center of the rings as you climb down.
Things You Will Need
- Tape measure
- Bungee cords
- You should never set up your ladder near or beneath electric wiring.
- Make sure that you are not using a damaged ladder.
- Make sure that you are using the right ladder for the right job.
1. Climbing the Roof Using Your Ladder
You have covered most of the safety precautions you need to consider when using a ladder. But please don’t let your guard down just yet.
Climbing the roof using a ladder is a tricky activity, and there are several cases of people getting injured as a result of poor ladder climbing in the United States alone.
So to ensure that you are safe, below is how you can set up your ladder before you begin doing anything.
Step 1: Setting Up the Ladder
- To ensure that your ladder is stable, you need to look for level ground. Additionally, it would help if you check your ladder’s firmness and make sure the spot is dry. Working on a dry surface will ensure that your ladder doesn’t sink or slip when working on the roof. If you are working on a wet surface, you can place non-slip plywood to increase the stability of your ladder.
- You should place your ladder on the ground against the house base. To keep your ladder away from your house, you should lift your ladder to one rung if you are using an extension ladder. Repeat this until you are sure that the ladder is against the house, then raise it to reach your roof. It is also important to note that your ladder should go three feet higher than the roofline.
- Next, you need to make sure that your ladder is in a stable position by shifting your ladder’s base using a simple formula. Move the ladder base one foot away from the house for every four feet of your ladder’s height. In other words, if you are working on a twenty feet ladder, then you should move five feet away from the house to ensure that it is stable and safe.
Step 2: Climb to the Roof
Once you have set up your ladder correctly, it’s time to climb the roof. If you have someone around, ask him to help you hold the ladder as you climb to the ceiling.
Also, it is essential to note that you should face the ladder when climbing your roof. Don’t lean down or on the sides of the ladder, especially when you are at the top of the roof to prevent slipping and falling.
Additionally, you should make sure that you ensure a three-point contact with your ladder. In other words, make sure that you firmly hold the ladder with your both hands and that your legs are at the center of the steps.
2. Stabilize Your Ladder on the Roof
You have climbed the ladder, and you need to secure it with the roof to ensure that you are stable enough when working. But how will you do that?
When you reach the roof, you need to anchor your ladder on a secure place to make sure that it doesn’t slip and fall.
Because you don’t want your ladder to wobble while you are on top working, that is why you need to hook your ladder on a secure place like the gutter.
Hook one end of a bungee cord to your gutter’s lips, then thoroughly fold the bungee cord around your ladder. Next, you want to fix the other end with the other side of your gutter.
Doing this will make your ladder stable and prevent it from slipping when you are working on the roof.
However, you also need to make sure that your ladder is stable even before you start climbing, and that’s why you need to use a ladder hook.
And the good news is that it’s quite straightforward. All you need to do is to set up the ladder hook and place the ladder against your roof to get the maximum stability before you can climb the ladder.
And because it’s not easy finding the best ladder hook or other tools, below are a few ladder stabilization tools that you can use.
Best Tools to Stabilize Your Ladder
If security and stability are your top priorities, then this ladder hook will be your best bet. This Tie and Down Ladder Hook will help you anchor the ladder to your roof. Additionally, it will make the ladder stay connected with your roof, making it safe for you when climbing.
Additionally, this ladder hook comes with a T-shaped rubber bar grips to prevent your roof from damaging. The good thing about it is that it is made from steel coated with yellow zinc that makes this ladder hook durable.
The best of all is that you can easily fix the two rungs of the ladder with your roof to make sure that your ladder doesn’t slip when you are working.
That said, you need to get this ladder hook if you are serious about climbing the ladder safely without getting injured while operating from your ladder.
It doesn’t matter whether you are finding it hard finding an even surface or you are finding it hard to level your ladder on the ground generally, the PiViT ladder tool will help you get over this in the best possible way.
And because this ladder tool comes with a universal fit, rest assured that this ladder tool will help you stabilize any ladder you have. Also, this ladder is made from polypropylene, which means that it can accommodate up to 500 pounds.
Finally, this ladder is portable, which means that you can carry it and move with it from place to place depending on where you will be carrying out your outdoor projects. The best of all is that this ladder ensures your stability while working on the ladder.
Sometimes you may find it a hassle finding a place to hold your ladder. If this is one of your problems, then count yourself lucky because you can stabilize your ladder by topping up its reach to the support. And the good news is that the standoff stabilizer will help you accomplish that without a hassle.
Additionally, you can set up this tool within a short time. And because it is a nineteen-inch standoff, you can use this ladder tool to easily stabilize your ladder and prevent your gutters from getting damaged. Also, this tool meets all the requirements put in place by the ANSI as well as other safety bodies.
Lastly, this tool is made from steel with a coating of zinc to make it more durable. So you can rest assured that you are buying a product that will last long.
Transitioning to Your Roof
You are now at the top of your ladder. It’s now time to move to the roof from your ladder. During this transition, be sure not to climb to the very top step of the ladder you are using.
Additionally, you need to make sure that the ladder you are using is extended to three feet above the roof.
Hold your ladder firmly using your hands to ensure maximum grip on the ladder, then move aside from the ladder while placing one of your legs on the roof.
Move the other leg on the roof, such that both your legs are on the roof. This is precisely the same procedure you should take when you are moving back to the ladder from the ceiling.
Safe Working on the Roof
Once you are on the roof, there are some precautions you should keep in mind for your safety. And below are some of the things you should keep in mind when you are on the roof to make sure you are safe while working.
First, you need to mind the edge of the roof carefully. Under what circumstances, be sure never to lean forward from the edge. Otherwise, doing so may cause you to slip and fall, thus incurring several serious injuries.
Another precaution is that you should watch where you step while on the roof. Take care not to step on sharp or broken branches that may have fallen on the roof. Stepping on such places may make you slip and fall, and that’s the last thing you want.
Also, make sure that your working tools are not spread all over the roof because the chances are that you may step on them, slip and fall by accidentally stepping on such.
And because you don’t want to make any mistakes while on top of the roof, make sure that items like tape measures, ropes, extension codes, among other things are in their right places to minimize your chances of stepping on them.
Even while on the roof, you still need to make sure that your ladder is stable. Otherwise, it will slip and fall, which means that you’ll have no means getting down unless someone comes to your rescue. That is why you need to ensure that your ladder is firm and that it can’t slip away while you are on the roof.
Up to this far, I’m confident that you now know how to stabilize a ladder on the roof.
And now that you know what you need to do, setting up your ladder should be the least of your worries. Just make sure that you are keeping the precautions in mind to make sure that you are safe while working on the ladder.
It is also essential that you use an even surface when setting up your ladder. If you are working on an uneven surface, be sure to use a ladder leveler to help with the stability of your ladder.
Additionally, you should make sure that you are working during calm and dry weather and if not, take the necessary precautions discussed above. Also, make sure that you set up the ladder in the right angle. To guarantee your safety, always use a standoff stabilizer.