All About Ladders and Access Equipment

Most modern ladders and platforms are made from lightweight metals such as aluminum, although it is still possible to buy more traditional wooden designs. Purchase ladders that meet current safety standards, and store them horizontally.
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©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited


A sturdy stepladder is an essential piece of household equipment because of its versatility and portability. Open it to its full extent for safest use and never stand on the top two steps.

Combination Ladder

This can be used as a stepladder or as a conventional ladder, depending on how it is set up. Designs vary considerably: follow the manufacturer's guidelines carefully when setting up a ladder.

Extension Ladder

These can have two or three sections. Brackets attached to each ladder section allow sections to slide over each other up into an extended position (right). Cleats at the lower level of the upper section secure the ladder in an extended position. For storage and moving, the sections are retractable.

Folding Ladder

The stiles of the "telescopic" ladder collapse for easy storage and portability. There are a variety of designs like this one that fold down into small, compact sizes.

Combination Ladder With Platform

A work platform provides a stable and level raised surface. This can be a big advantage because your arms don't have to hold a ladder and are free to work. Some combination ladders are multifunctional. For example, they may support a raised working platform that clips onto its rails and/or rungs.


These can be used as the base for a working platform by laying planks across the top of them. Most trestles are height-adjustable.

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